Advent Practices (2021)

Again this year, Owen Ash and Charlotte are collaborating to bring you Advent Practices for this season of Holy Waiting. Here, you will find a weekly reflection and meditation to listen to. Through the season, we will offer mini practices for you to explore in your own life.

May you know the Peace that come in the Stillness of Holy Waiting.

With Love & Hope, Charlotte and Owen

Mini Practice (December 21): Today is the Darkest Day of the year. This is a great night to tell stories. This is a great night to take a reflective walk under the stars or beneath the trees. This is a lovely night to honor the beautiful memories of those we have lost. There is this strange balance of hope and grief on the darkest night of the year, let the darkness cloak you in hope and love. Stay warm and cozy. Be gentle with yourself and everyone you meet.

Mini Practice: Turn off all of the lights in your house. Notice how many lights there are, even when all of the lights are turned off…

Mini Practice: Bring a sense of humor to this one. This could be a great family game. Eat a meal….blindfolded so that you can not see. How do you engage with your meal and drinks when you can not see? How did you plan your table setting to navigate a meal you could not see? How did the choice of meal change when you knew you would not be able to see it? What else did you learn in this experience?

Mini Practice (December 9): Go outside. Take a deep breath of fresh winter air. (If you have your comfortable Sit Spot, start there). Take you shoes off. And socks (yes, we’re aware what season it is*). Put your feet down onto the Earth. Into the snow (yes, a little squeal is ok). Into the Cold. Stay with it. What are the actual sensations…? What are your reactions…? Where is there uncomfortable…? Where is there strong sensation…? Where does sensation become pain…? Where is there Fear….? Why is there Fear…?

What comes up when you meet Uncomfortableness…? Can you be with the experience of sensation…? Where does the mind cross over and in…?

Come back to your Sit Spot and grab your socks and shoes. Warm your feet up gently and slowly and lovingly…

*This is not to torture nor is it to cause pain or harm!! Find your Edge of uncomfortable (maybe a teeny bit over) and explore from there. Do not go beyond uncomfortable into real pain or excessive numbing. Do not cause harm in any way. Know yourself. Remember, a bit of cold probably won’t do harm (especially with a nice, warm home to go back to), but you know yourself better than we do, so (again): Know yourself and keep yourself safe.

Mini Practice (December 7): The next time you are in the dark, whether intentional or walking from the car to the house, pause. If you have a light, turn it off. Reflect on what you are afraid of in the dark, real or imagined. Reflect on what is extra ‘specially beautiful in the dark.

First Mini Practice (for December 1): As we head into the first day of December, we recommend that you find a place outdoors to spend a few minutes just sitting. We often call this mindful outdoor practice a “Sit Spot”. Find yourself a spot that you can come to daily. Maybe a nice chair on your deck or a seat beneath a favorite tree.

Maybe it’s a spot on your front steps…choose a spot that feels right for you. Maybe it’s right out in the elements. Maybe it’s a little bit more sheltered and protected. Feel free to bring along a thick blanket or sleeping bag to cozy up in.

Choose a spot and commit to sitting in your spot at the same time each day for at least five minutes until Christmas or until the end of December or until January 6th. See what happens as you settle into the experiences that come. Just Sit. Be. And let Be.

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