by Karen Kramer, Dubuque Yoga & Oneness Festival Blogger
The longest night of the year approaches with the Winter Solstice on December 21st. This is the time of stillness as the sun comes to its lowest point in the sky and appears to stop. The Latin word solstice is derived from the words sol, meaning ‘sun’, and sistere, meaning ‘to stand’, ‘to stop’. This longer period of darkness provides the perfect time for reflection on the previous year and to lay the groundwork for what we hope to achieve or manifest in the year ahead as we anticipate the returning light.
Let’s each reflect on what our yoga practice means to us and the gifts we have been given this year by our mentors, teachers, students, and fellow class members. Let us be grateful for the connections we’ve made with others and ourselves in mind, body and spirit. Many of us have been led in vastly new areas as doors of awareness open and our practice expands to be a part of our life on and off the mat.
The festival committee is currently laying the groundwork for 2017 as we anticipate the announcements of our fabulously diverse and knowledgeable presenters. We anticipate the gradual lengthening of light and the light that will come in the form of learning from these various teachers, the energy and awakening that occurs when like-minded souls come together for greater good, and we reflect on the gifts of oneness that will be ours.
In this time of stillness and reflection, let’s hold this common intention for the festival gathering: That all of us will benefit from the gifts of oneness –these gifts we offer each other, that we create together. And, equally important, reflect on the contrast of what we will see versus what we won’t.
*Community and Connection vs. Isolation
*Acceptance of Self vs. Self-Doubt
*Understanding and Acceptance of Others vs. Exclusion
*Cooperation vs. Competition
*Love vs. Fear
We all belong! Let’s embrace who we are. Celebrate the freedom to be uniquely ourselves, and the freedom to explore and expand your practice, to discover and grow. The natural by-product of self- acceptance is acceptance of others…love and inclusion!
There is a style for everyone and great opportunity for growth by trying something new at this yoga and oneness celebration. Here is a chance to broaden our base of knowledge with confidence because we can’t get it wrong. We all learn from each other as we share this great energy of cooperation and collaboration.
“Only through our connectedness to others can we really know and enhance the self. And only through working on the self can we begin to enhance our connectedness to others.” – Harriet Goldhor Lerner
Join the conversation by sharing your reflections in the comments. What are you grateful for in the past year and what do you anticipate in 2017? What are other gifts of oneness that we can celebrate together?
Karen Kramer is a yoga instructor and festival blogger.