In the midst of the busiest of all seasons, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the tragedy in Connecticut, can we take the time to honor our feelings?

Every year at this time, I find it easy to stuff my feelings and sensations into the background so that I can plow through the mile-long to-do list of holiday shopping, baking, and decorating, not to mention the normal day-to-day work that doesn’t disappear just because it is the holidays. And this year, on top of the normal stresses, we are also faced with the fear and pain that comes from witnessing the tragedy and heartbreak of our neighbors up north.

It is in these moments that our practice guides us to listen. To trust the instincts of our bodies. To give ourselves permission to feel.

This is permission to feel anything. No matter how appropriate or inappropriate you might think it is. No matter how serious or silly. With sense or without. Feel.

How can we take care of ourselves in these moments? The ways are as endless as the needs. Some of my personal efforts this week will include –

– soup: to me, nothing is as nourishing and soothing as a warm bowl of soup. I lean toward the homemade variety but if a can is all I have time for, I’ll savor that can as if it came from scratch.

– candlelight: there is something so satisfying about the light of a candle. Warm, pure. I will light a candle and actually look at it each day this week.

– sleep: can I get a holla on this one? we can all use more sleep, can’t we? This week I have written 9 p.m. “bedtime” on my calendar for Monday – Wednesday. It will happen and I will be better for it.

– practice: often, I struggle with the shoulda, woulda, coulda syndrom in my practice. I should practice more intense postures. I could have done 10 more minutes of pranayama. I would be better if… This week I give myself permission to let my practice take whatever shape it needs to take. I will let it soothe my soul and help my heartbreak. I will let it help my find the spirit of this season again.

This week, as we practice together, I invite you to feel and to take care of yourself in whatever ways feel right to you.

“Or, the light within which is free from all suffering and sorrow.” ~Yoga Sutra 1.36