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The Winter of Listening

Posted on 12/18/2015 by SuperUser Account in play therapy adoption mindful parenting somatic therapy family counseling child counseling

Communities of the past often celebrated the Winter Solstice with rituals and festivities honoring the shortest days and darkest nights. For many cultures, this time was an opportunity to slow down, do less and tend inward to themselves, their family and their community.

The Winter of Listening

Communities of the past often celebrated the Winter Solstice with rituals and festivities honoring the shortest days and darkest nights.  For many cultures, this time was an opportunity to slow down, do less and tend inward to themselves, their family and their community.

“Solstice” comes from two Latin words: sol meaning, "sun" and sistere meaning “to stand still.”

Today however, the winter holiday time often feels anything but, “standing still.” In fact, for many of us, it is a time when the pace quickens and the list of  “to do’s” becomes ever longer. The focus on the external is heightened, causing us to loose touch with our own inner compass ~ it’s unique rhythms and deeper knowing. 

What if stillness was your compass this holiday season?

Through stillness we are naturally drawn inward and a deeper listening becomes possible.  As the mind and body settle, we can begin to witness ourselves~ the ever flowing currents and streams of feelings, memories, images and longings that wish to be known. We begin to tap into a rich reservoir of wisdom, percolating right under the surface of our daily being.

As we slow down and listen to what wants to be known, we uncover powerfully potent resources of strength and resiliency.

So, how do we find a space, which supports deeper listening and contemplation, especially when the pace is quickening all around us? And, how do we nurture the same in our children?

Some ideas to support listening inward:

-    Carve out specific times of the day where you can be alone ~ before the kids get up for school or after they go to bed.

-    If carving out time not possible, this practice can be modified.  Experiment with finding time to quiet and listen while alone in the car, at the grocery store, as you get ready for the day, while you cook a meal. Even 5 min can be incredibly impactful.

-    Create a simple practice which quiets the mind and supports listening to your deeper self ~ a daily exercise routine, writing in your journal, prayer/meditation, movement/dance, music, art-making, etc.

-     Set an intention. For example, you might ask, “What wants to be known now?” Allow your deeper self to guide you in finding the answer~ pause the mind and open to the stream of consciousness that awaits right under the surface.

-    Gently and compassionately acknowledge the thoughts and feelings that emerge. Resist the urge to “problem solve” ~ simply bringing awareness to your thoughts and feelings is what’s most important.

-    If you have any “Ah Ha’s,” take note and write them down. Powerful phrases, images and ideas often emerge that you may want to remember.

-   Find a way to intentionally close your practice. Thank yourself for the time spent listening inward.

For children:

-       Practice together! Carve out intentional space with your child where you both engage in something that supports deeper listening ~ art-making, cooking, playing music, being physical together etc. Share your thoughts/feelings together afterwards.

-       Take intentional moments together to pause and practice some fun and playful breath work games from, Mindful Parenting” by Kristen Race.

-       Create a special ritual or routine before bedtime that slows the pace, quiets the house and invites a calmer environment~ turning off all electronics after dinner, diming the lights an hour before bedtime, taking a warm bath or shower, diffusing a gentle scent such as lavender into the child’s room, avoiding sugar or any other stimulants before bedtime.

This practice can take time and patience so be gentle ~ start small and see what unfolds from there. Each family is uniquely different ~ the key is to find what works best for you.

Brie Anderson-Feldman, MA, LPC, BC-DMT is a Child and Family Therapist specializing in early trauma, attachment and adoption/foster care.  Prior to her work in private practice, she was the Lead Adoption Specialist and Clinical Supervisor of the Adoption Team of Mental Health Partners in Boulder, CO. Additionally, she teaches in the Somatic Counseling Psychology Program at Naropa University and leads educational workshops for clinicians as well as empowerment programs for young woman. To learn more about Brie Anderson-Feldman’s work both locally and internationally, please visit Her young women’s empowerment programs can be found here:!threshold-journeys/c230d


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