Winter in the Northern Hemisphere can be a time to concentrate on activities inside. I find time in the long hours of dark to catch up on my reading and earlier in the evening than summer I light a candle, enjoy the cozy feelings it invokes and settle down to reflect on issues.
This can be issues of the day or the big questions on life and its meaning. Just sitting still and looking at the candle flame takes my vision inward to the land where there are no boundaries, but rather, many pathways to walk and explore.
Reflection is such an important part of our life, the time when we work out pressing concerns and decide on a plan of action.
Following reflection I pick up my journal and write out new ideas that have come to mind, a plan of action, or insights into my existence that I want to remember.
Occasionally I go back and reread the pages from the past. I am checking to see if I followed through on my ideas, whether I'm still on a certain path or have diverged so much that a branch has become longer than the trunk. And that is certainly all right, after all, it is my life and my choices that I'm living.
With everyone, it is the choices we make today that determine later outcomes on all levels, right from the basics of what we eat and consume in our body, to the trails we dwell upon in our mind. And on top of all that the outcomes of the feelings in our heart, our purest aspect of mind and emotion, that has the best outcomes we could imagine.
All of this activity starts in reflection. So, it is worth it to make time in daily life to settle down, settle in for a quiet time just to think about personal life and ongoing situations, and to finish with thoughts on life in general.
For me it is so much easier and peaceful feeling to slip into sleep from the quietude of meditation and reflection because my body is already resting, my breathing has settled into a regular rhythm and I'm almost feeling groggy.
A nice touch at the close of reflection is time for thinking with appreciation on all that is good in life: enough food and shelter from the elements, and that I can send loving thoughts to family and friends near and far by my stream of thoughts and intentions.
For offline reading
Meditation Lessons for Teens and Adults
More than 70 offerings, from guided meditation techniques to on-the-go stress relief and relationship meditations interspersed with verse, and a section of special occasion prayers. 114 pages.
Meditation for all Kids
Sitting, walking, dance and group circle meditations, along with positive affirmations, verses and benefits of meditation for kids of all ages and abilities in a 100 page book with illustrations.
Photo of snow and article by Susan Helene Kramer