Happy solstice to you, friends. Ah, the longest night and the return of the light. And a full moon a coming…

How many of you in our northern hemisphere find this time of year, winter, the darker nights, the shorter, colder days, and often grayer days, hard? Hard to wake up, to get motivated, to sit at your desk with all the lights on? Ready to go to bed at 8 pm because it’s been dark for hours? And find it hard to find the motivation to move your body, to go to the gym, or dance class, do some yoga and stretching at home, or even take a walk around the block?

I know I do, here in Portland, Oregon. I’m more of a sun worshipper myself, although I do love it in the Pacific Northwest, despite the gray. Now, around the holiday season, it is delightful, and helpful, to be seduced by the twinkling of the holiday lights flickering around town or even around your home, inside and out. The roaring fireplace always keeps me warm and cozy, the lit candles on the mantle, both in the early morning during my meditation and yoga, journaling practice, and at night while cooking, eating, and reading, is always calming and beautiful. The roasting veggies and delicious soups are heart and body warming. A form of in-the-moment magic.

This is a great time to spend quiet time with yourself and your journal. As we near the end of the year, it’s time for that inner reflection, you know, those end-of-year questions, and setting your new year’s intentions. Not resolutions, but focusing on what you have loved this year, and what you truly desire to have or change for the coming year. Dreaming envisioning, and diving deep into your heart and soul. Body, mind, and spirit.

I love the word Illumination, and the visuals that come with it. Candles, sunshine, white auras and haloes, roaring fires or smoldering pieces of wood. To live lit up every day is my core desire. And to live with everyday magic. To find the twinkle, the sparkle, the awe in everything I do, what and who I surround myself with. It's how I choose to start each day.

So, what lights you up, friend?

Can you grab your journal or a piece of paper and a pen and write down the things you’ve done this year that have lit you up, made you so happy, in your soul and heart, and in your body?

What and who feeds you? Who are you spending time with that brings you great joy and lifts you up? What do you do that inspires you and opens you up to receive more?

What can you do more of for next year to feel lit up?

Keeping that beautiful feeling of magic, still, and always, has to first come from within! Outside inspiration is eternally desired, but staying connected to oneself is where the magic lays, starts, and expands.

What are you grateful for?

Gratitude practice is delicious. Take a few minutes to jot down your thoughts. Taking stock, noticing, being uber present, conscious, of what and why you do what you do, for whom you do it for, how you move, where you are in life, and what is life-giving to you. How you choose to dance through life. There is so much magic out there. And if you do this everyday, change is a coming my friend.

What is magical in your life?

Magic is present in so many forms. Magic of nature–the leaf unfurling, and the leaves changing colors, and the food growing in the garden, but also the magic of our connection with self–the rising energy we can create while moving our bodies, making what we love manifest, opening our eyes, and listening to what is on the inside, what we are truly desiring to give to the world. Staying connected, to self, is first and foremost, and then to others, even on those gray, rainy, dark days.

I know for a fact that moving the body is a major factor in feeling great and alive, too. I see lots of folks who get very comfortable on the couch (know anyone like that?). Perhaps for fear of being seen, or fear of injury, or just being too damn comfy and lazy. When is the last time you took a long walk outside, or danced around your kitchen? Or went out to a club to bust a move? Or took a tai chi or bellydance class?

What excuses do you find to not move, to not shake your groove thing, to not luxuriate in the deliciousness of stretching your body? Make some time, people, to add movement to your daily self care. Think of that beautiful energy you change within, when you move your body. The adrenaline rush, the joints getting limber, the heart pumping, the feel-good factors! The energy you have for getting more things happening in your entire life. Plus the magic you can create by raising your physical energy as well as your emotional and spiritual energy, and getting connected to your whole being!

Here is a quote from one of my heroes:

“An excuse is simply a challenge that you’ve decided has power over you. If you’re serious about changing your life, you’ll find a way past all your obstacles: if you’re kinda sorta serious about changing your life, you’ll find an excuse. In other words, excuses are fake news. “ Jen Sincero

I invite you to change your story and find that movement that rocks your spirit, that lights you up. Try a little something different and find your rhythm to get you unstuck and keep your momentum and your connection moving into magic! Your magic, your shine! Raise your energy, and it will expand your whole, and into the new year!

Keeping that everyday morning ritual of meditation, journaling, moving the body, helps me to set my day up for success. Those are my methods and magic making tools, and boy howdy, when I don’t stick to them, it’s easy to fall into distraction and despair and depression. And then regret for not doing what keeps me alive. Following me? But disciplining oneself to do what feels really good instead of falling on the couch in fear or stagnation, well, that won’t get you feeling good, right? It takes envisioning the outcome, what you are desiring to change, to step up into. To free your spirit and your body with movement. Movement, momentum, and magic. I'll have more of that, please!

I’ve got one more quote for you:

“One demands engagement with our true self and ambitions, and inevitably leads to independence, growth, happiness, and transcendence. The other causes us to skirt around challenges, avoiding struggle as much as possible-despite struggle being the very thing required for growth. This path leads to weakness, conformity, and frequently, regret.” Brendon Burchard

What side of that quote would you like to be on? Weakness and regret, or independence and happiness? You have the choice, you can envision what you want, and get it! Yes, you can.

However you celebrate the Solstice, and the holidays, and the new year to come, I wish you great freedom and success and joy–to express yourself, to be connected, to live lit up with everyday magic, and expand into all that you can be, all that you desire, mind, body, spirit. To shine your light, even on the darkest of days. Bring it on!

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