Welcome to Living Your Intention!
As the countdown to Christmas begins and the holiday rush to complete preparations is at its peak
, I am grateful for an event that is perhaps overlooked by many, or at best, given a slight nod: the Winter Solstice.
December 21 marks the Winter Solstice, occuring exactly when the Earth's axial tilt is farthest away from the sun, bringing the shortest day and the longest night of the year.
In ancient times, dark and dreary December was thought of as the most dreaded time of year because the lack of heat and limited food supply could be disastrous. Thus, to many people the promise of lighter days after the Winter Solstice was cause to celebrate
and acknowledge that nature's cycle was continuing.
The Winter Solstice has influenced the lives of many people over the centuries, particularly through art, literature, mythology and religion. While interpretation of the event has varied, most cultures have held a recognition of rebirth
, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time. Cultural winter therapies have evolved as traditions
which include decorating with evergreens, adding lights to outdoor trees, using fire pits or fireplaces, feasting and gathering with friends and family. These activities create a festive mood that may help to counter complaints
of increased moodiness, tiredness, malaise and inactivity due to the lack of sunlight, (officially recognized as SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder) and the stresses of the holidays.
I love the idea of participating in a midwinter festival that has been celebrated for centuries. It provides an opportunity to pause
during this sometimes frenzied time to reflect on the beauty of the season
and reconsider what is truly meaningful. Hinda
'Tis the Season of Yin and Yang
I love Minnesota in December! It is the personification of Yin and Yang. The short, dark winter days and the quiet beauty of a blanket of snow are perfect examples of Yin energy. Add glowing holiday lights that brighten and twinkle and you have the perfect example of Yang energy. This balance is what creates the beauty of the season in Minnesota.
Where I grew up, in West Texas, this contrast was essentially non-existent. December temperatures could easily be in the 70s or 80s. Brown was the color rather than white; brown grass and naked brown trees. I recall only one heavy snowfall, which happened when I was in high school. Everything came to a stop as the entire city shut down. There was no way, of course, to clear the roads, although by Minnesota standards cars could have driven on them.
School was closed so several neighborhood friends came over to my house to collaborate on what innovative idea we could come up with for this new and unfamiliar opportunity. I don't recall our ever thinking about building a snowman. I believe the junior high and grade school kids had that covered! As highschoolers, we had something much more exciting in mind! We took a ladder, tied it to the back of my parent's car and covered it with blankets. I don't know how my parents ever let us do it, but my friends and I took turns sitting on that blanket-covered ladder while one of us slowly drove the car through the neighborhood streets, pulling along the make-shift sled. This was my first and definitely most memorable "sledding" experience!
Now I have lived in Minnesota longer than I lived in Texas, and I have never stopped appreciating the changing seasons. And while I enjoy our beautiful crisp, fall days that give birth to the resplendent colors of autumn, I admit I absolutely dread the days getting shorter! That is, until the third week in December. While others are bemoaning the dark and cold of this month, I happily anticipate celebrating an ancient ritual, the Winter Solstice. Granted, it marks the beginning of winter, but it also means the days are now starting to get longer! It is a fact!
My friends laugh and shake their heads at my gleefulness about the "longer" days. But I rejoice in this gradual, subtle but certain, shift from the Yin of winter to the gentle Yang of spring. Yes, I know this is Minnesota and it's a really long time until spring, but I begin to "feel" it coming the day after the Solstice. Really, I do!
Some friends have created a particularly unique way to celebrate the Winter Solstice. Their celebration is held in South Minneapolis, and arriving at their home is a treat in itself! It is completely outlined with old-fashioned Christmas lights, glowing and twinkling in the dark night. Ice luminaries, strategically placed in the snow, serve as welcoming beacons.
While the festivities begin in the kitchen where platters of food beckon, the piece de resistance is the huge teepee sitting in the snow covered back yard. It is about 12 feet in diameter, off white in color, blending with the snow. Inside bales of hay covered with 2 x 8s are arranged stadium style for seating around a large fire pit. It is festive and cozy and primitive. Guests arrive in typical Minnesota outdoor winter party gear, boots, gloves, heavy jackets, scarves and hats. They greet one another, and carrying plates laden with goodies, slowly migrate to the teepee. The conversation is lively, fueled by the chill of the night air and the warmth of the fire. This perfect balance of Yin and Yang is invigorating and celebratory!
I am grateful to friends who afford us an opportunity, in the midst of the holiday rush, to take time to pause and acknowledge the transition to a new season and to appreciate nature's celestial beauty and wisdom.
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.
We are nearer to spring
Than we were in September,
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.
- Oliver Herford
May your Holiday be wrapped in warmth, touched with wonder, and filled with love.
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Thank you so much for your interest in Living Your Intention!
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"A mind that is stretched to a new idea never returns to its original dimensions."- Oliver Wendell Holmes
The purpose of this newsletter is two-fold: to share ways to incorporate the art of Feng Shui in daily life and to share travel experiences. Each of these, in its own way, can support mindfulness and intentionality as we navigate our life's journey.
I hope that you might encounter a new idea, a new resource or a new viewpoint. Perhaps some small insight will answer an unspoken question, provide a helpful tip, motivate or inspire you or simply give you a moment to escape from the demands of your day.
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Consider a unique and personal gift for someone special!
Perhaps they would welcome a
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| Remembering a Friend |
|In memory of my dear friend, Joyce Graham, who died peacefully on November 23, 2010|
Never shall you leave the places that you loved.
Never shall they go from your heart
Even though your eyes are
|Hinda Abrahamson is passionate about Feng Shui and travel. A certified Feng Shui Consultant, Hinda is a founding member of and has just been named President of the Feng Shui Institute.
Intentional Spaces provides clients with consulting advice on how to apply the ancient principles of Feng Shui to office, home and landscape. Hinda assists in creating balanced and harmonious environments that reflect individual personality and life style.
This powerful art of placement provides valuable guidance and insight.
Whether you are selling, purchasing or building a home or an office, planning a major remodeling, redecorating or simply re-organizing, Feng Shui brings a deeper perspective.As a Fashion Feng Shui Facilitator, Hinda assists with wardrobe choices for you to better reflect your authentic self, eliminate closet clutter, and support your personal energies.For consultations, speaking engagements, or customizing a workshop for your group, contact Hinda at (952) 938-0894 or email:Hinda AbrahamsonIntentional
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Feng Shui Holiday Essentials!
|Incorporating these few simple Feng Shui suggestions can help to make your holiday more intentional, peaceful and meaningful.|
Your front door is your calling card; it represents opportunity and over-all good health and well-being for all who live there. The holidays are a perfect time to highlight it with lights or the color red to attract all that positive energy.
Cleaning is considered space clearing - a cleansing for your home. As you clean, know you are honoring your space and allowing energy to move more freely, both yours and your home's.
Avoid clutter when adding decorations to your rooms by removing everyday objects and packing them away for the season.
Adding red decorations (Fire Element) can spark energy and add excitement. Too much red, however, can promote stress and burnout. Moderate the Fire energy with Metal energy by placing silver or gold balls in a beautiful glass bowl in the middle of your coffee or sofa table.
Bring scents to your holiday. Add a bowl of clove-studded oranges interspersed with fresh greenery, or use an orange-scented candle. This fragrance lifts your chi.
Avoid last minute stress. Set a goal of completing one task (shopping, decorating or wrapping) before December 24th to make the final hours before the holiday more relaxing. Take that time to sit with a cup of tea, treat yourself to a hot bath incorporating your favorite essential oils, or cozy in and take a nap.