Dearest friends,

As we approach the holiday season in lockdown after months of separation and isolation for many people (at least here in Toronto), it feels important to reflect on how we can deepen connection to ourselves, each other, and life in general over the holiday season.

What I normally love about this season is the rare opportunity to spend relaxed time with family, the festive decorating and sparkling lights, singing in community, creating cards and other items for people with love, eating latkas and chocolate and all nature of yummy goodies and so many other little rituals and traditions. While some of these activities will not be possible this year amidst the pandemic, and there is a sense of loss that arises as a result, I have also been trying to focus on the ways we can still connect. In this spirit here are a few ideas of how to stay connected during the lockdown:

  • Donate food, money, or time to a local food bank or shelter and take time regularly to think about the ways you are supporting and enriching the lives of others (it is step two that will bring about the sense of connection!)
  • For those who are able, deliver a home-cooked meal to a neighbour or friend who is alone just to let them know you are thinking about them.
  • Connect with loved ones and with life itself on the innernet (rather than the internet). This is a practice I engage in regularly during meditation and prayer and, quite honestly, feels like the most profound way of connecting.
  • Go for a walk in nature and feel the incredible connection we have with the natural world and all of life. Notice the ways in which the earth is nurturing and supporting you every day and the ways in which you are taking care of the earth. Allow yourself to touch the earth, trees, water or snow and engage your senses fully.
  • Have a crafternoon and make cards with your own hands thinking about each person for whom you are making the card (this is another favourite of mine).  Send it in the mail so the recipient can feel your care and presence over and over again.
  • Write a letter by hand expressing how much someone means to you and make your way to the nearest mailbox!
  • Have a crafternoon or bake-a-thon with family or friends via zoom and enjoy activities that you love together virtually.
  • Print photos of people you love and put them up in the room around you.
  • Sing and dance your heart out just because!
  • Take time to call someone you love or go for a socially-distanced walk with a loved one rather than texting and emailing.
  • Create a daily gratitude ritual – gratitude connects us profoundly to all the ways in which life is supporting us in every moment.

I would sincerely love to hear about all the creative ways that you are building connection into your life this holiday season. Please email me and I will include your ideas in the next newsletter!

In addition to the these ideas, Heart Space has a few new offerings for you. First the weekly Wise Heart Wednesday night meditations continue! This is a drop-in style, simple, one hour practice in silence together. I guide a meditation which includes a period of sitting and walking meditation followed by a compassion-based practice. To join, email myim@heartspace.ca.

On December 21st, The Winter Solstice, connect to community around the globe for a Virtual Yoga Nidra + Soothing Sound Fundraiser. Organized and led by the lovely Allison Rietta, this is will be an amazing way to rest, restore, and return to yourself. All the proceeds from the fundraiser will be going directly to support Father Charles and his food program in Nigeria. Faced with massive inflation due to border closures and poor food production in the country this year, Joy Village and the surrounding communities are struggling with food insecurity. Even the most basic food items are exorbitantly expensive. If you can’t make it to this fabulous fundraiser, please consider supporting Joy Village here.

If you’d like to meet Father Charles virtually and learn from his teachings and/or learn more about his work in Joy Village, please join us on the first Sunday of each month for a “Global Joy Village” Gathering.

Looking very much forward to seeing and hearing from you!
Much love,
Shira

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