[Teri Harman, Yoga Instructor]
Hey, everybody. Welcome. We're gonna take a few minutes and let people jump on, but feel free to take a second, pop in the comments where you're joining from tonight. I'd love to know where you are in the world tonight. And we'll let people get on and get started. Okay, awesome. More people are jumping on, so feel free, again, pop in the comments where you're joining from tonight. And if you did anything else to celebrate the solstice today, I'd love to hear what you've been doing, and so glad you're here. We'll get started in just a minute. We're letting everybody jump on, and we'll get going. Yay, happy, Theresa. I'm so happy you could make it too. Welcome. Welcome. Ah, someone from Detroit. Very cool. I love this. Good. Okay, we'll go ahead and get things going. 'Cause you guys are here on time. Let's get it going. So, really welcome. Welcome. We're so glad you're here for solstice tonight. I'm Teri Harman, yoga instructor and author, and I'm so excited to be paired with the Spirituality Project and Skylight Meditation App to come together tonight to celebrate the winter solstice. The winter solstice is such a cool celestial event. It's one of my favorite times of year. So, in fall, we move into more and more darkness. So every night gets a little bit darker and a little bit longer. And tonight is the longest night of the year, shortest day, longest night. And so now is the subtle shift back to more and more sunlight. So the days slowly start to get longer, a little bit more sunlight. And today's also the official start of winter. So we're gonna talk a lot about the light and the darkness. And humans have been celebrating the solstice basically forever. There's evidence that goes all the way back to the Neolithic period, so the last part of the Stone Age. It's like 10,200 BCE, there's evidence of marking the solstices. So, even Stonehenge, which we all know really well, it's oriented to the winter solstice sunset. So it's a really cool event, and there's so many different ways to celebrate. And we wanted to do our own type of ritual tonight in line with all of these traditions. And so we're actually calling this Soulstice. So little play on words, so like your soul. And it's just in reference to the very soulful, loving intent we have tonight to come together as a community and look at the darkness and look forward to the night, to the light that's coming. It's been kind of a big year, lots going on in the world, in our communities, and for ourselves, so we're gonna take time with that tonight. So let me just check in with everybody. Looks like we've got people from Nevada and Houston. This is so great. Thank you for joining us tonight. So couple of housekeeping things, practical things. We're gonna go through a meditation. And so this meditation tonight, we're going to visualize things and breathe a bunch, and then we're gonna engage with your higher power. So whatever your loving, chosen higher power is, however you define that in your life, that's what you're going to engage with tonight. Whatever you name it, whatever you claim it, God, Goddess, universe, that's what you will work with tonight. So we'll be in there with the meditation, and then, at the end of the meditation, we're gonna do some journaling. We're gonna write a letter to your higher power to help us use what we learned in the meditation. And then, just some reflection time, 'cause winter solstice is really about reflection, turning inward, and getting ready for renewal of the new year. All right, so I'm gonna transfer my computer over, and we will get started. So you just need a comfortable seated position. So anywhere that feels comfortable to you. Comfort is the only goal. It doesn't matter if you're on the floor or in a chair or seated on your bed. Wherever feels good to you, just get comfortable. If you've got a candle, go ahead and light it. No big deal if you don't. And we'll just work with breathing and visualizations. One second. Let me get my computer right. Okay, all right. Now, we're good. All right, so getting nice and comfortable somewhere. Candles lit. Hopefully, your room is nice and cozy. Maybe you've dimmed the lights. There'll be times in the meditation where I go quiet, where I stop talking, and that's on purpose so you can be fully immersed in the experience. So don't worry. The video hasn't dropped. That's on purpose. So, now that everybody's here, and we're settled in, hopefully nice and comfortable. Make sure you have your journal or whatever you're gonna write your letter on right nearby 'cause we'll go right into it at the end. And get all ready to go. All right, so seated in your comfortable position. I want you to focus your eyes on your candle if you have it. If not, just focus on the light of the screen of your device and just let your eyes soften. Get comfortable, relaxed here in your position. Relax your jaw. Soften your face. Release your shoulders. Let your arms go slack. Release in your chest and belly. Hips go heavy and legs relaxed. Supported and calm. Relax your whole body. Eyes focused on your candle or the screen. Now, close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. Let's start to breathe on purpose. So, with your lips gently closed, jaw relaxed, start a slow, easy rhythm with your breath. Inhaling and exhaling through the nose. No rush. Just breathe. Now, notice the way your body moves with your breath. Inhale. Feel your body expand. Exhale. Feel it settle and relax. Now, let's lengthen the breath. Draw it out. Slow it down even more. As you inhale, slowly count to six, then the same as you exhale. An even count of six to lengthen your breath. Body relaxed, eyes closed. Stay with the count and focused on your breath. Inhale for six and exhale for six. Keep these slow breaths going as you now focus on your heart space. Bring your awareness to your heart, the beat of your heart, the blood in your heart, the love in your heart. As you breathe, be with your heart and your love. Allow it to expand and feel your whole body. Inhale love. Exhale love. Imagine yourself standing in a field of snow, a wide-open field covered in fresh, beautiful snow. The sky is clear, the air crisp, the sun low in the sky. See the gorgeous colors painted on the sky as the sun sets. See the way the golden light makes everything rich and lush as the sun descends. What thoughts, images, and sensations come to you, standing here in the soft sunset light? The light leaves the sky, and now it's night. The darkness of deep winter settles on the field. There's no moon, no city lights, only soft starlight. Stand here in your imagination, now alone in darkness. What thoughts, images, and sensations come to you, standing alone in the dark? Now, feel the energy and presence of your higher power join you in the dark, snowy field. Your chosen God standing beside you and taking your hand. Feel this loving presence sink deep into your heart and then spread through your whole body. Your loving God has a message for you here in the dark. Listen, hear, and feel this message from your God specifically for you. Your God is still with you as dawn breaks in the eastern sky. At first, the light is subtle and weak, but then it grows. See the light getting brighter and brighter as the sun returns. All the darkness is gone now. The sun is back in the sky, powerful and bright. Your God is still here beside you in the light. Stand now fully enveloped in light and love. What thoughts, images, and sensations come to you now, standing in full love and light? Stay just as you are, comfortable and still. With your eyes closed, become aware of your breath again. Bring your focus back to your breath, the breath moving in and out of your body. Take a slow inhale and let it go. Now, bring your awareness to the sensation and sound of your breath. Listen to your breathing, slow and even, in and out through your nose. Now, become aware of your body. You are seated and comfortable in your space, breathing. Become aware of your body, seated and breathing. Keeping your eyes closed still, visualize the room you're in. Connect to the space around you. Take another nice, long inhale and let it go. Now, gently open your eyes. Come back. Really nice work. Go ahead and go right to your journal. Grab your paper, pen, whatever you're gonna use for this next part of our ritual. Get that in hand, and let's start writing our letter to your God. So, at the very top of the page, address it directly to your chosen higher power. So maybe it says dear God, dear Goddess, dear universe. However you claim God, address that directly. Write it at the top of the paper to start this conversation. Good. Now, write down what you felt, thought, or saw during the sunset portion of the meditation. Anything that came to you. It doesn't have to be complete sentences. Just write. Good. Now, next thing, write down what you felt, thought, or saw when you were alone in the darkness. Be honest. Don't edit. Just write it down. Next, write down what message came to you while you were standing with your God in the darkness. Maybe it was just a feeling or a sensation. Maybe it was a word or a phrase or an image. It doesn't matter. Just record what message came to you while you were sitting there in the love and presence of your higher power. Remember that tomorrow isn't instantly the brightest day of the year. A solstice is a turning point. It's not a complete 180. Change takes time. It's subtle. It builds. And so the light grows more and more each day. Write down anything that you would like to let go of, anything you want to release and leave behind in the darkness as we move into the light of the new year. Don't edit. Don't hold back. Write down what is true for you. When we acknowledge what's in the darkness, it's easier to embrace the light. I'll give you just a little bit longer on this one to write down what you wanna let go of. Good. Next. And I'm gonna take you through a list of prompts. So this is the part where we're gonna embrace the light by telling your loving God what changes, what love, what hope you'd really like to see in the coming year. So just go with the quick responses to these prompts. Whatever comes to your mind first, write it down. So the first one. I want you to write down one hope you have for the world in 2022. Now, write down one hope you have for your local community. Next, write down one hope you have for your family. Now, write down one hope you have for yourself in 2022. Who else could you send love to in the new year? Write down that person's name and write down one thing you hope for them in the new year. Good. Now, we're gonna write this list again, but this time we're gonna write it as a thank-you note, a thank you to your God and yourself for making each one of these things happen in the next year. So we're gonna acknowledge each hope and desire as if it has already happened. So, for example, that first line will be thank you for, insert your hope for the world. Next, thank you for, insert for your community. Down the list. So I'll give you a little bit longer again on this one. Rewrite your list of hopes as a thank-you note. Nice. Now, take a moment. Look back over that thank-you note and just feel the love behind each hope. Reread it. Feel the love there. Good. Now, the last part of your letter here, I want you to write down what you appreciate about your relationship with your God, with your higher power, and then write down how you'd like to strengthen this relationship, this connection over the coming year. Breathe slowly as you write this, record the words with genuine intention, and really feel the love in your heart and the light in your soul about your relationship with your higher power. Take a second. Write down what you appreciate and how you'd like to deepen that connection. Now, to finish, write down anything else you'd like to record in this letter, in this journal session. Anything else that comes to mind or that comes to your heart, write it down now and then sign your name to finish the letter. Now, what you do with this letter is totally up to you. It can be powerful to review it from time to time, maybe on the full moons, maybe all the way out into the next solstice, which comes in June, the summer solstice. You decide how it best serves you. It's totally yours, and you decide how it can help you going into the new year. So, as we finish up a little bit here with the live stream, I wanna offer just a couple of invitations. First, we would love to see a picture of your experience tonight, maybe of you and your candle, maybe just your candle. Whatever represents this for you, we'd love to see that posted on social media here on Instagram or TikTok. Use the hashtag Soulstice. Remember that's soul, S-O-U-L, instead of the normal spelling. Second, to help you stay on this path, to really connect deeper to your spirit, to your higher power, and to your meditation practice, go to the App Store and download Skylight Meditation App, Skylight. It's a purple icon. And there's so much cool, cool content here. There's short meditations, long meditations. I have several other meditations from me that are on there, and I would love you to join me there on Skylight Meditation App. So I think we have, do we have any comments we wanna go over? I've loved all the hearts, seeing everybody's hearts and likes during the meditation as everyone was breathing and as I was talking. That was really, really cool. Anything else, crew? All good? Okay. Well, thank you so much for being here tonight. I felt your souls. You're beautiful, beautiful people. Thank you for joining us on this beautiful solstice. May the darkness teach you what you need to know. May the light spread through your whole heart. Happy winter solstice. Happy New Year. Thank you so much. See you later.