I must admit that as much as I love bright sunlight and the long summer days, there is something sacred about a dark winter’s night.
During summer there’s something decadent about stretching out naked in the cool sheets and napping in a patch of sunlight or going to sleep when the moon is only just lighting the night sky.
However, during winter there’s something delicious about slipping into cozy flannel pajamas, turning on the heated blanket, holding a hot mug of tea and reading a good book. There’s the contrast of the two seasons with the delights of spring and autumn cozied up in-between.
I’d like to focus on those sacred winter nights when the cold wind is rattling at the door, and the leaves are shivering on the almost-bare branches of trees or rustling against sidewalks.
On these nights, we can enjoy solitude for how precious it is, rather than feeling lonely—and even if we are coupled, we can indulge in private moments of meditation and a daily gratitude practice for the lives that we are leading.
Mini Meditation 1:
Brew a cup of hot tea. I prefer full leaf, and either a white or green tea, but the choice is yours. I love to use a kettle to brew mine and hear it whistling in the night. Make the act of making tea part of the meditation: pouring the water into the receptacle, waiting for it to heat, selecting the mug we’d like to use, allowing the right amount of time for the tea to steep and watching the color spread as it does. Removing the tea bag or ball that we’re using and taking the first sip. Each step in the process is an opportunity to be 100% mindful and in the moment. With each sip, we can focus on gratitude.
Sip 1. I am thankful for this life.
Sip 2. I am thankful for my children (or family/friends).
Sip 3. I am grateful for each breath that I take and for the health that I’ve been given.
Sip 4. I am deeply grateful to the Universe (To God, the Divine Feminine, Allah, insert your faith practice here)
Choose the order and the number of sips of tea, but be mindful of the experience and practice gratitude. Focus on the feel of the cup in your hand and the heat rising from it. Be aware of the taste of the tea on your tongue and the sound it makes when you sit the mug down. Not a tea fan? Replace coffee or hot chocolate in your practice instead.
Mini Meditation 2:
Take a mindful walk. Bundle up and walk in the cold. Whether it’s in the early morning or in the dark of night, take a walk and focus on the beauty of the season around you. There’s beauty even in the bare trees of winter, the bright flash of a cardinal’s wings, the sounds of leaves on the sidewalk or the wind in the trees. Even a short walk can help restore us when we need to recharge. Focus only on the walk and your surroundings. Let all other thoughts rise and drift away. Be thankful for each moment of beauty experienced.
Mini Meditation 3:
My personal favorite, the chocolate meditation. Take a bite of your favorite chocolate. As it melts into your mouth, be present and aware—and deeply grateful for the moment. Each small bite is a moment to enjoy bliss and to clear one’s mind.
Mini Meditation 4:
Sit comfortably, but with good posture. Allow your breaths to deepen and to soften. Focus on a positive affirmation or phrase. Choose a quote, or a fragment of a poem, or simply an idea. Allow 5-10 minutes to focus on nothing but your breath and the affirmation chosen. At the end of your practice, take a moment to express gratitude for all of the many blessings we have and even for the struggle we endure to learn and grow.
Meditation and gratitude practice don’t have to be difficult. They don’t have to take up too much of our time when we’re busy working and caring for our families. They are important parts of our lives and help us stay healthy and centered. We can work them in for five minutes, here and there, and take the time to clear our thoughts and just be present in our lovely lives.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina