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medititation

Gentle ‘Cocooning’ tips for Winter Solstice

‘Cocoon yourself’ for Inner-peace this Festive Season

 

As the festive season approaches we, as humans of the world, of many denominations and faiths, ‘come together’ with our family and friends to celebrate, to re-connect and to spend time amongst our nearest and dearest.

While for many this can be a deeply enriching time of joyful reunions and comforting relaxation, into an environment of easy relationships, amongst those who know us best – and accept all of our faults and our foibles, sadly for others, it can be a more stressful time, where old ‘family wounds’ rear their heads and stress levels rise exponentially.

Wherever you sit in these scenarios of social gatherings in the festive period, it is important to still make time for some precious and private introspection – this will help you preserve your inner-peace and to maintain positive and centered energy, so that you can relate, in the ways that you WISH to respond as a conscious, compassionate adult – rather than to react, as you may have done as a teenager, to old painful or embarrassing “triggers”.

 

So this year – as you step forward, mindfully, into a higher, better state of “being” – here are 5 easy steps to ‘Cocoon’ yourself, to connect to your OWN self-care processes and inner-peace connection.

 

(1)  Begin each day with 5 minutes of quiet meditation or introspection: Watch your breathing move in and out of your body. Guide your breath to go deeper with each inhale, and to move more slowly out with each exhale.

 

**If you have children, before you arise, even 5 rounds of conscious belly breathing will ‘drop’ you from your head, to your heart, and by placing your hands below the navel you will direct the breath to your parasympathetic (rest/digest/create/eliminate) side of the autonomic nervous system.

 

(2)  Move your body! Shake off the energy charges that arise from emotional triggers by doing some indoor yoga, physically “shaking it out” or going for a walk in mother nature, who transmutes and transforms energy constantly.

 

(3)  Practice heart-to-heart connections and give yourself a ‘digital detox.’ Ration your phone and screen usage to instead honestly and openly ask people how they are.  In a time where “face-to-screen” time is so prevalent, feel how different this eye to eye contact feels, and how, with your heart-felt intention, it opens new pathways for more positive relationships and intra-familial relating.

 

(4)   Upload those photos later! Make “being” your practice – as a human BEING within your family or social space. You don’t need to be available to anyone other than who is with you right now. Pre-arrange a time for phone calls or video chats with other friends or family members who are not with you – determine to stick to it.

 

(5)  Choose or compose a mantra to maintain your Cocoon inner-peace state – enabling you at a cellular level, to constantly be in a place of regeneration and new possibilities. Now, lighting a candle, take 5 deep breaths and fill your heart with GRATITUDE. Then, repeat this mantra, or choose one of your own.

  • I am not alone….
  • I am grateful for this connection with the people around me… / the abundance all around me / for the delicious meal I am being served (or am serving!)
  • I am blessed….

Repeat this mantra five times, with a fuller breath each time…

 

And whenever you can – whenever you feel a moment of quietness, or MOST challenged by your surrounds,  think of those less fortunate than yourself; for those who are alone, for our elderly citizens who go through this festive period without seeing another living soul, for parents who can not provide their children with the wishes and dreams so many children hope for at this time of year.

 

Know that you are a unique and special human being, and that your compassion and understanding of the difficulties other people face mean that you are working towards your Life Purpose – being a conscious, compassionate and understanding human being who feels and empathises with those in less fortunate positions.

 

Without compassion, we are nothing. By practicing your “inner-peace Cocoon” amongst the ones you most love – yet who may also trigger you most emotionally – you have the perfect opportunity to put your compassion into action…

 

So lets spread the inner-peace through compassion…. And may your hearts glow bright!

 

festive hearty stew

Nourishing Festive Butternut Squash Stew

As the festive season approaches, most of us will over-indulge with food & drinks that can leave us feeling miserable & sluggish. So here’s a nourishing easy quick and affordable recipe that will fill you and the family up in all the right ways.

Butternut Squash Stew.

Ingredients :
1 Butternut Squash
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of cayenne
small jar of organic tomatoes (or 3 finely chopped tomatoes)
1 jar of Organic chick peas (or 1 cup dried and soaked overnight)
2 large handfuls of kale.
1 gluten free vegetable stock cube
1 lime
1 tablespoon Nutritional Yeast (optional)

Quinoa or brown rice to serve alongside.

Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil and fry the garlic for just 1 minute so it doesn’t burn and add all the spices. Chop the butternut squash into cubes and add. Once you smell the spices, add the stock which you have added to 750ml boiling water, and then the organic tomatoes (if using fresh add them at the beginning before the stock) Bring to the boil and then simmer for around 20 minutes (until the butternut squash is tender) Next, add the chick peas, kale, lime & nutritional yeast and leave to simmer for another 10 minutes)
In the photo, mine is served with mixed red & white quinoa which adds even more to the wonderful colours of the dish.

This recipe is a perfectly balanced dish, providing plenty of protein from the chickpeas & quinoa, carbohydrates from the butternut squash. It’s also a good source of of B6 which is essential for our nervous system & immune system,  and the kale – which I refer to as the ‘King of Greens’ as it is a nutritional powerhouse; super-high in nutrients, such as Iron. vitamin k and vitamin C.

This is a great meal for all the family – warming, filling and packed full of nutrients – and so simple to make!

Made with love, by Lisa Strong of Strong 4 Life Nutrition