Hello everyone,

I hope this finds you healthy and warm. December 21st marks the darkest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and it comes on the heels of our first major snowstorm.

People around the world celebrate Winter Solstice and the beginning of winter by bringing the light inside. We gather around the fire, decorate with fairy lights and candles, and participate in various rituals and ceremonies which remind us that, after a long journey through darkness, the light always returns.

2020 has been a year of immense change, widespread suffering, and, frankly, madness. We’re all being tested as we’re trying to navigate the turbulent waters of the pandemic and its consequences.

As 2020 approaches its conclusion, there are no guarantees that all will be restored overnight. What is coming to an end is not over yet and we have no idea what’s coming our way. The in-between place we find ourselves at during this time of the year is filled with uncertainty but also hope.

In the words of John O’Donohue,

You are in this time of the interim
Where everything seems withheld.

The path you took to get here has washed out;
The way forward is still concealed from you.

The old is not old enough to have died away;
The new is still too young to be born.

The exuberance of summer has given way to the quiet, reflective, and melancholic rhythm of winter.

Winter is the time when we are drawn inwards. Although the rhythm of modern life tends to display its flagrant disregard for the ways of nature, we can feel the pull inside. Right after the holidays, our social activities dwindle and the journey into ourselves begins. We crave time alone, maybe by the fire with a good book, a hot cup of tea, and a blanket.

The dark time of the year provides the space and inspiration for reviewing, rethinking, and re-imagining. As we stand at the threshold of endings, new beginnings, and possibilities, we have the chance to reflect on the changes that have taken hold and evaluate our course.

What do you feel drawn to these days? What questions or memories are keeping you up at night? Are you surprised at some of the thoughts that keep popping up? Pay close attention to the little voice inside. Below I included some questions that you can use as prompts.

I invite you to take time to be with yourself today. Find a quiet corner, light a candle, and pick up your journal. Take a few deep breaths, relax, and ground yourself. When you’re ready, put pen to paper and begin with the first question from the list below that pops up for you. See what comes up and continue from there.

  • What happened this year? Which chapters came to an end?
  • What are you grateful for?
  • What did you learn about yourself?
  • What surprised you?
  • What is weighing you down?
  • What needs to be released?
  • What do you need to make room for? What is begging for your attention?
  • What inspires you and what makes you come alive?
  • What’s next? Where do you begin?

Notice that which you didn’t expect, the surprises that invite you to investigate further. Look out for the unexpected gifts brought about by a seemingly challenging situation. What is your life telling you? Are you ready to listen?

As you work with these prompts, be kind and patient with yourself. Be deliberate and follow the thread of your contemplation until you feel solid ground beneath your feet. There’s no need to act upon anything. For now, and during the days ahead, all you need to do is listen and pay attention. Soon, the light will peek through the darkness and you’ll know what to do next.

You’re invited to comment below or email me at to share your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.

I wish you all a light-filled season. May your days be filled with joy, good health, and warmth.

As a life coach and retreat leader, Yota works with women seeking clarity, inspiration, and purpose in the midst of life changes. Her approach is intuitive and deeply influenced by her cultural roots, work and life experience, and her long-term practice of mindfulness meditation.


    • Yota Schneider

      Good morning Kathy,

      Thank you. Wishing you freedom, relief, and wide open road ahead. Here’s to a new era my friend. Who needs that bowl of worries to carry around? Time to let it go.

      Enjoy the warm fire tonight.

      Big hugs.


  • Linda Samuels

    Such wisdom. I love the way you pose such deep questions. But with the questions, you encourage us to be still. See what arises, what the heart says. I’ve been feeling this need to cozy-up. Be inside with warm beverages and blankets. My desire to be outside isn’t as strong as it had been in the warmer weather and longer days. I force myself to get out and walk, watch the wind blow, feel the cold whip around my body. Move. I bundle up. I don’t like bundling up. I feel restricted. But I go anyway. I love this time of year that encourages reflection. And I appreciate how you have given us some ideas to play with. Thank you for your gifts.

    • Yota Schneider

      Dear Linda,

      Thank you for being here and taking whatever it is I share and make it yours. I admire that about you. I learn so much by watching you interact with questions, ideas, prompts.

      You don’t shy away from whatever it is that comes up. You have the sense to know what is too much but you don’t shy away. That’s a strength of yours. It’s the kind of wisdom and inner strength one develops by being willing to walk against the wind although she’d rather be home with a hot cup of tea by the fire.

      Stay warm and enjoy the season. 💜

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