The shortest day of the year is today and in many cultures there begins a time honored tradition of slowing down and engaging in a process of introspection. It is said that in ancient China at this time of year the emperor would order the gates to the empire to be closed for a ten day period. The people would be encourage to review the past year to look at what served and what did not and to make changes as the new year dawned. Though a large scale process like this seems far fetched from our busy cultural perspective perhaps we can apply this on a personal level. We can ask ourselves if we have been living life as an expression of our deepest intention or hearts desire. Are we doing what we came here to do or are we just too busy and distracted?
On a personal note it feels like this process started some time ago for me. My last blog was a couple of months ago and all of my social media posts have been less frequent. I recently completed a 7 day silent meditation retreat at Great Vow Zen Monastery in Oregon and realized how much I truly needed this break. I am very thankful for all that has unfolded in my life this past couple of years and at the same time something inside me was calling for a time out.
The meditation retreat was beautiful and difficult as my body was not used to sitting so many hours a day. I came away filled with a sense that I was on the right track and then felt dismayed at how quickly my reactive mind reengaged. The cool part was the lack of shame I felt about this! Nice to be human after all. I also saw how little attention need be paid to this fabricated sound track. Stop feeding it and it slowly withers.
Back to my point about the time of year. I am still engaged in this process of introspection and yes I am also allowing action to unfold. This action is not forced as it feels as if my heart and gut are speaking to me. I am making some small changes in my business and paying a lot more attention to my relationships and the effect I have on others. So perhaps there is an action piece to introspection. I'll let you know how it goes.
About the Author
Behavior Change Coach and Author James Barfoot CHt holds certifications as a Master Practitioner of NLP and is a Clinical Hypnotherapist who is registered to practice in Washington State. He developed The Primal Toolbox a behavior change and coaching strategy based on a tribal models. James lives in Spokane WA.