The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.

Sunday Circle Reflections, December 20, 2020

The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Today I felt something stuck in my throat. I could barely breathe and found it very difficult to swallow. The image that I saw was that of a large cardinal.

Cardinals are symbolic of one's uniqueness. They remind us that when we embrace those aspects of ourselves that make us stand out, the world is more colourful and beautiful. They encourage us to find our unique voice, purpose, or our Wyrd and to bring it boldly into our community.

Despite their fiercely independent and usually territorial ways, cardinals are also known to band together to share resources and cooperate in the harsh winter months to help each other survive (cardinals are non-migratory birds). Personally, I love that when cardinals flock together, they are called a radiance.

This cardinal, stuck in my throat, seemed connected to, or even the cause of, two other issues, severe discomfort in my diaphragm and a dizzying difficulty grounding.

Tomorrow's winter solstice will be the longest, darkest night of the year. It signifies death while also ushering a new life cycle since, after the sun's return at dawn, days will get incrementally longer leading up to the summer solstice. The winter solstice is a beautiful time to reflect and let go of that which needs to (metaphorically) die to make room for the new aspects of ourselves waiting to be born (the cardinal).

This week, I suggest that you pay attention to your diaphragm and develop a practice of belly breathing, ensuring that each breath you draw in begins at your pelvis and fills your belly, instead of staying constricted in your chest.

Also, practice making sounds from your belly. Growl, scream, moan, whatever it is you feel you need to do the most, paying particular attention to drawing the sound from beneath your belly button.

Be sure to take a moment to ground yourself at the beginning or end of each day. A daily practice of taking deep breaths can quickly center you, as can stomping, stretching and hanging in a waterfall position (stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and let the upper part of your body hang down in front of your legs).

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