Thursday, January 07, 2010

Winter Feast for the Soul

The Winter Feast for the Soul starts this year on January 15th, a new moon. It's a commitment to 40 days of daily spiritual practice. Winter, especially after the craziness of the Yuletide season, is a perfect time for this. For me winter is a time for drawing inward, introspection, and energetic preparation. The best way for many of us to do this is regular and consistent spiritual practice.

I love the quote from Rumi on the Winter Feast for the Soul Website:
What nine months in the womb does for the soul,
Forty early mornings will do for your growing awareness.
I'm not so sure about early mornings--that I think is a personal predisposition--but 40 days of consistent, mindful spiritual practice will certainly grow awareness, whether we want it our not!

I think that one of the reasons that many people find daily practice so difficult is partly because of that growing awareness. It's scary. It can challenge our preconceptions. It can open us up to new ideas. It can shine a light on those dark places of our selves or our environment that we'd rather keep hidden. It's often easier to subconsciously find an excuse not to continue the practice, or to do it so inconsistently that we are effectively starting over each time, than it is to face our demons or our grandeur.

I have a daily spiritual practice. There are simple 'things' I do every day regardless of where I am or how I feel; and they form the foundation of my spiritual being, in a similar way to washing my face, brushing my hair and saying hello to my loved ones in the morning. On specific days, or if I'm working on a particular exercise or goal, I may add to this litany; but the foundation is essentially the same. In a similar way that a painter prepares her canvas, my foundational daily practice is the primer coat for deeper spiritual work.

I haven't decided yet how I'm going to approach the Winter Feast this year, Usually the winter months have me yearning to deepen my work with the Iron Pentacle; just as the emergence of spring calls forth the Pearl for me. What I do know is that I'm going to use these 40 days to stretch my edges and open to possibility.

Will you join me?

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