Life is being drawn into the earth, painlessly descending down into the very heart of herself.
And we, as natural human animals, are being called to do the same -- the pull to descend into our bodies, into sleep, darkness, and the depths of our own inner caves continually tugging at our marrow.
But many find the descent into their own body a scary thing indeed; fearing the unmet emotions and past events that they have stored in the dark caves inside themselves, not wanting to face what they have so carefully and unkindly avoided.
This winter solstice time is no longer celebrated as it once was, with the understanding that this period of descent into our own darkness was so necessary in order to find our light. That true freedom comes from accepting with forgiveness and love what we have been through, and vanquishing the hold it has on us, bringing the golden treasure back from the cave of our darker depths.
This is a time of rest and deep reflection, a time to wipe the slate clean as it were and clear out the old so you can walk into spring feeling ready to grow and skip without a dusty mountain on your back and chains around your ankles tied to the caves in your soul.
A time for the medicine of story, of fire, of nourishment and love.
A period of reconnecting, relearning and reclaiming of what this time means brings winter back to a time of kindness, love, rebirth, peace and unburdening instead of a time of dread, fear, depression and avoidance.
This modern culture teaches avoidance at a max at this time; alcohol, lights, shopping, overworking, over spending, bad food, and consumerism.
And yet the natural tug to go inward, as nearly all creatures are doing, is strong, and people are left feeling as if there is something wrong with them -- that winter is cruel and leaves them feeling abandoned and afraid.
Whereas in actual fact winter is so kind. Yes, she points us in her quiet soft way toward our inner self, toward the darkness and potential death of what we were, but this journey, if held with care, is essential.
She is like a strong teacher that asks you to awaken your inner loving elder or therapist, holding yourself with awareness of forgiveness, and allowing yourself to grieve, to cry, rage, laugh, and face what we need to face in order to be freed from the jagged bonds we wrapped around our hearts, in order to reach a place of healing and light without going into overwhelm.
Winter takes away the distractions, the noise, and presents us with the perfect time to rest and withdraw into a womb-like love, bringing fire and light to our hearth.
Couple rewrites 'Baby It's Cold Outside' to emphasize importance of consent As shared at CNN by Alexandra King | Read more from King
A couple from Minnesota has re-imagined the classic Christmas song "Baby It's Cold Outside" for a 21st-century audience, changing the song's lyrics to emphasize the importance of consent.
Singer-songwriters Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski, both from Minneapolis, said they were inspired to rework the song after bonding over a mutual dislike of the original's lyrics, which were penned in 1944 by Frank Loesser.
The duet features a man trying to dissuade a woman from leaving a party despite her repeated protestations that she has to go home. "What's in this drink?" is one of the female lines. "What's the sense in hurtin' my pride?" implores the male voice.
The song's seeming disregard for the woman's desire to leave never sat well with Lemanski or Liza.
"I've always had a big problem with the song. It's so aggressive and inappropriate," said Lemanski, 25.
Liza, 22, said she felt the same way as her boyfriend.
"We started thinking of the open-ended questions that song has," she said. "You never figure out if she gets to go home. You never figure out if there was something in her drink. It just leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth."
So Wednesday night, the couple decided to write a complete set of new lyrics.
"We wrote the whole thing in an hour and then we went back and used my little demo-recording microphone and did that in 15 minutes," Liza recalled.
And though the melody is still the same, the lyrics strike an entirely new chord.
"I really can't stay/Baby I'm fine with that" opens the song, as the lyrics recall the original's format of a woman leaving a party. Except in Liza and Lemanski's version, she does so without protest, the man helps her get home safely and the fictional couple makes a date the next day at The Cheesecake Factory.
"I ought to say no, no, no," sings Liza.
"You reserve the right to say no," croons Lemanski.
And as for that dubious "What's in this drink?" line. It's still there. Except, in the new version, the question is actually answered -- by Lemanski, who responds with the oh-so-now ""Pomegranate La Croix" (obviously).
"I thought we were just doing like a really good, cool, funny thing and it just felt right," Liza said.
"And emphasizing consent is one of the causes that I've always really been behind because I don't think I can think of one friend of mine who's a woman who hasn't been in dangerous situations with men. I've always cared about this so much," she added.
After the duo uploaded the song to SoundCloud, the couple found that what started out as a shared gripe between a boyfriend and girlfriend also resonated with the public at large.
"We've heard a lot of people say, 'Wow, we never actually paid attention to the lyrics before -- this is awful!'" said Liza.
The couple also said they hoped the song would raise awareness of the need for consent, given the problem of sexual assault on college campuses.
"It's not just a rare thing -- it happens all the time, everywhere. Every day. And I'm afraid for my sister. And I'm afraid for my friends. And I hope that this song gets people thinking about it," Lemanski said.
Liza added that she hoped that the song would inspire others to take action to help prevent violence against women.
"I hope it will be on people's minds and that people will donate to charity or do some volunteer work at shelters or sexual assault centers. Like, if you think about this and you think it's a problem, definitely step out of your comfort zone and do something and help someone," she said.
And having successfully designated their re-imagined "Baby It's Cold Outside" as an unofficial anthem for the importance of consent, the couple joked that there were some other candidates for the Liza and Lemanski treatment.
"A lot of people have suggested a bunch of songs, like Ella Fitzgerald's 'She Didn't Say Yes, She Didn't Say No' and Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines,'" said Liza.
"We'll just do a whole album," she laughed.
Lydia and Josiah perform 'Baby It's Cold Outside' - with updated lyrics:
Baby It's Cold Outside - New Lyrics
I really can't stay/Baby I'm fine with that
I've got to go away/Baby I'm cool with that
This evening has been/Been hoping you get home safe
So very nice/I'm glad you had a real good time
My mother will start to worry/Call her so she knows that you're coming
Father will be pacing the floor/Better get your car a-humming
So really I'd better scurry/Take your time
Should I use the front or back door?/Which one are you pulling towards more?
The neighbors might think/That you're a real nice girl
Say, what is this drink?/Pomegranate La Croix
I wish I knew how/Maybe I'll help you out
To break this spell/I don't know what you're talking about
I ought to say no, no, no/you reserve the right to say no
At least I'm gonna say that I tried/you reserve the right to say no
I really can't stay/...Well you don't have to
Ah, but it's cold outside...
I've got to get home/Do you know how to get there from here?
Say, where is my coat/I'll go and grab it my dear.
You've really been grand/We'll have to do this again
Yes, I agree/How 'bout the Cheesecake Factory?
We're bound to be talking tomorrow/Text me at your earliest convenience
At least I have been getting that vibe/Unless I catch pneumonia and die
I'll be on my way/Thanks for the great night!
Bye/Bye--Drive Safe Please. Don't watch that episode of 'Breaking Bad' without me/I won't, I'll save that for you!
Lydia and Josiah discuss their rendition of "Baby It's Cold Outside" further:
Baby born from transplanted uterus, from deceased donor
Brazilian doctors are reporting the world’s first baby born to a woman with a uterus transplanted from a deceased donor.
Eleven previous births have used a transplanted uterus, but from a living donor, usually a relative or friend.
Experts said using a uterus from women who have died could make more transplants possible.
Ten previous attempts using deceased donors in the Czech Republic, Turkey, and the United States have failed.
This baby girl was delivered last December by a woman born without a uterus because of a rare syndrome. The woman — a 32-year-old psychologist — was initially apprehensive about the transplant, said Dr. Dani Ejzenberg, the transplant team’s lead doctor at the University of Sao Paulo School of Medicine. "This was the most important thing in her life," he said. "Now she comes in to show us the baby and she is so happy!"
The woman became pregnant through in vitro fertilization seven months after the transplant. The donor was a 45-year-old woman who had three children and died of a stroke.
The recipient, who was not identified, gave birth by cesarean section. Doctors also removed the uterus, partly so the woman would no longer need to take anti-rejection medications. Nearly a year later, mother and baby are both healthy.
Two more transplants are planned as part of the Brazilian study. Details of the first case were published Tuesday in the medical journal Lancet.
Uterus transplantation was pioneered by Swedish doctor, Mats Brannstrom, who has delivered eight children from women who each received a donor uterus from family members or friends. Two babies have been born at Baylor University Medical Center in Texas, and one in Serbia, also from transplants from living donors.
In 2016, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic transplanted a uterus from a deceased donor, but it failed after an infection developed.
"The Brazilian group has proven that using deceased donors is a viable option," said the clinic’s Dr. Tommaso Falcone, who was involved in the Ohio case. "It may give us a bigger supply of organs than we thought were possible."
The Cleveland program is continuing to use deceased donors. Falcone said the fact that the transplant was successful after the uterus was preserved in ice for nearly eight hours demonstrated how resilient the uterus is. Doctors try to keep the time an organ is without blood flow to a minimum.
Other experts said the knowledge gained from such procedures might also solve some lingering mysteries about pregnancies. "There are still lots of things we don’t understand about pregnancies, like how embryos implant," said Dr. Cesar Diaz, who co-authored an accompanying commentary in the journal. "These transplants will help us understand implantation and every stage of pregnancy."
If there is one thing you can do RIGHT NOW to ensure your best birth experience, it is this: choose a care provider who is an EXPERT in the type of birth you are planning.
If you are planning a safe, skilled cesarean birth, you should hire someone who is an expert at cesarean sections. You wouldn’t hire a doctor to perform that procedure who said, "Well, actually, I’m not really comfortable with that type of birth, but I’ll let you do it if you want, I suppose..."
If you’re planning a safe, natural, unmedicated birth, you should hire someone who is an EXPERT at supporting natural birth. A doctor with a 30% c-section rate is not a natural birth expert. Neither is a doctor who does routine episiotomies, or doesn’t understand how to catch a baby unless mom is [lying] on her back. A doctor who says, "Well, most of my patients do end up getting an epidural, but if you want to go natural you can do that, I suppose..." is NOT an expert in unmedicated birth.
When you find the right care provider, they will understand your birth plan before you even show it to them -- because it is what they already do every day!
The impact of severe trauma is possible to last a lifetime, and it can come and go.
The symptoms vary in each person. Sometimes trauma symptoms are not as apparent -- they can present though a down mood, or even physical symptoms. A person can often find themselves in a bad mood, or feeling physically sick, without a conscious understanding that there was a trigger or associated experience (time of year, smell, or anything that is associated with the trauma).
People can end up blaming themselves for the way they feel or call themselves 'selfish' and many other negative things, when in reality they are only experiencing the results of trauma. This can become a form of self abuse, or even a means to control the abuse that is coming. Again, the coping with past trauma is not always a conscious process.
What helps? What can a person who has been through trauma do? What can their loved ones do?
When a person who has been through trauma can talk about how they feel it helps. When the person is in a safe environment that doesn't tell them to 'get over it' directly or indirectly with statements like 'Why are you in such a bad mood?' it helps. When your loved ones understand this it helps.
Friends and family can even help an individual see what is happening before this person makes the connection that it is that time of year, or the physical symptoms, are trauma related. Loved ones can be attentive and aware.
Telling someone who has survived trauma (even when that trauma was in infancy) that it is okay to speak and share as they feel like doing; that it is safe to talk any time, or share the negative emotion they are feeling, tends to allow the processing of trauma to go more quickly.
It is when someone holds things in, or tries to fight through the memories, associations, or emotions, that the impact of trauma is prolonged and continues to present itself time and time again through various means: anxiety, mood fluctuations, physical symptoms.
We are sending our love and support to trauma survivors. Reach out when you need to.