A Solstice Commitment

“The winter solstice has always been special to me as a barren darkness that gives birth to a verdant future beyond imagination, a time of pain and withdrawal that produces something joyfully inconceivable, like a monarch butterfly masterfully extracting itself from the confines of its cocoon, bursting forth into unexpected glory.” ~Gary Zukav

During our chakra series last week, the topic of commitment bracelets came up.

We see many stunning assortments of gemstone bracelets; some with accompanying charms touting peace or courage or om shanti om.

Yogis and yoginis sport wrist-fuls of earthy ornaments.

But not all bobbles are ornamental.

When I journeyed through my year of yoga nearly 10 years ago now, we spent 40 days immersed in practices of each chakra. As we travelled through the energy centres of the body, we took time in each one to string a commitment bracelet.

We selected a stone that accompanied the energy centre (garnet or hematite for root chakra, carnelian for sacral…) and sat in silence stringing our gems.

I held each stone in my hand while I thought about what my particular issues around that energy centre were, and felt deeply into how I wanted that area of my life to feel. I then placed the stone on the string.

One by one, with great intention, I created my commitment bracelet. Then, I turned to a friend to have her tie it onto my wrist, both witnessing and honouring my commitments.

Every day my bracelet reminded me of what was important and where and why I needed to show up in my life.

Winter Solstice.

The longest night of the year.

This season can show us our shadows. We can experience Seasonal Affective Disorder and struggle to find the light within. We can feel deeply saddened by losses experienced this year, heightened by the holidays.

And we forget what brings us joy, what lifts us and helps us to lift others.

We remember, when on our yoga mat, how good it feels to practice. We make a mental note.

Then the shadow holds us and we forget our practice. We forget how to rise.

THIS is the reason for the bracelet.

To remind us every moment, every day, that we know what to do; that we have support; that we have resources.

For me, my therapy is an hour in nature.

Whether I shovel the drive

or mow the lawn

walk the coulee

or circle the pond

An hour outside lightens my mood and boosts my energy and spirits.

But on the darkest of days it is easy to forget.

And then…

the rattle of stones on my wrist reminds me that therapy is at hand.

And I slip on my boots and out of the shadow’s grip.



“While I relish our warm months, winter forms our character and brings out our best.” ~Tom Allen

*photo: Kananaskis Country, Alberta

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