Summer Solstice time is here! This longest, brightest day of the year charges up our magical power and shines bolstering, purifying light into our hearts.
As I discuss in this video, this point on the Wheel of the Year is a time to appreciate who we are, where we are, the people around us, and all the many, many blessings we already have.
After all, manifesting is excellent, but if we never stop to enjoy the loads of awesomeness we’ve already manifested, what’s the point?
Not to mention, what we focus on expands, so the more we feel grateful for all the stuff we love, the more lovable stuff we attract. (Isn’t it cool how that works?)
So here are 5 little gratitude practices that are perfect for the nurturing, expansive energies of this ancient, pagan holiday.
1. Light Incense to the Sun
As fragrant incense smoke wafts upward toward the heavens, send your gratitude for the world-illuminating, life-giving sun right along with it. It’s a pagan tradition to watch the sun rise on the longest day of the year, so this would be an excellent time to (safely) light incense to the sun, but any time during daylight hours will do. Cinnamon, ginger, clove, frankincense, sandalwood, and cedar would all be good choices. (Of course, be careful! So many landscapes are precariously flammable at this time of year.)
2. Gift Your Loved Ones with “Stuff I Love About You” Cards
As we look back on our lives, we invariably realize that our most precious treasures are our loved ones. So isn’t it strange that we aren’t constantly broadcasting all the many things we adore about them? It’s not too late, though: there couldn’t be a more perfect time to do so than now. Find some note cards you love – or just use any paper you have lying around – and write out some of the many things you love about those closest to you. For example, maybe you love their laugh, their generosity, and that thing they said to you that changed the course of your life.
3. Chant Om Shanti Om
The sound Om attunes you to the universe and the primordial roots of everything. The word Shanti means peace. Tune into the peace that is at the heart of everything by chanting Om Shanti Om. Maybe even get yourself a mala (prayer beads traditionally created with 108 beads), bless it in the Summer Solstice sun, and then speak the chant 108 times, using the beads to keep count.
4. Don’t Criticize Anyone (Including Yourself) for Anything
Recently, my dad recommended the self-help classic How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It makes a very convincing case that if you want to change someone’s behavior, praising them is always a much more effective tactic. Not to mention, when you find ways to praise instead of criticize, it’s such a weight off! It puts you in harmony with what is. And that’s such a powerful, pleasant place to be. So for the entire day of the Solstice, try this experiment: let everyone off the hook, including yourself. Instead of criticizing (even in your own mind!) remember that everyone is doing the very best they can with what they have and what they know. Then see what other ways you can find to communicate what you need to say.
5. Feed the Birds
Scattering bird seed or hanging a bird feeder is a wonderful way to express your gratitude to the spirits of nature. The birds, specifically, bring so many blessings by their very presence: from their music, to their beauty, to their vital interconnection with their habitat’s entire ecosystem.