joyful holy days

#poems insight practice Dec 20, 2022
Jayme Sweere
joyful holy days

In this post, I will share the essential elements of creating a joyful holy day ritual and ceremonial celebration. The practices I share here can combine to facilitate a time of focused inward attention to reconnect with who you are at your core, release the past, and become more open with life.

I'll share the essential elements of meaningful ritual below and in the above audio, we do them together in practice with prompts for journaling or facilitating intimate sharing among friends and family. I recommend looking over this once and then over the next few days making time to engage more deeply with creating a personal and meaningful tradition for yourself. 

Listed below are what I understand to be the essential elements of meaningful ritual and the invitation here is to consider them as your personal practice takes shape. I share more about my personal experience with them in the audio accompaniment above. Keep in mind that ritual can take place over several days or weeks even and is more of a disposition that we open ourselves to than something to get strict or obsessive about. Any family traditions or religious rituals you have can be included in this broad and mostly internal way of participating in a solstice ritual. 

  1. Open to your senses as an invocation - Create an environment for yourself or an altar that feels beautiful and connects you with things you love about life. You can incorporate the elements by lighting a candle, burning incense, or intentionally making a cup of tea. Whatever you decide to do, do it with all your senses and your full attention as though you could act and listen with your whole body. Simply because you are alive now, when you connect to your senses in the moment you are invoking the presence of your ancestors, with this open full-body listening remember them in some way that is meaningful to you. 
  2. Ask yourself what needs to be grieved - What have you lost? Acknowledge it in your own way: say it aloud to the river or write it and offer it into a fire or hold it in silence and imagine it dripping down through your feet into the earth.
  3. Who or what do you need to forgive? -  Write the names, speak to the pain it caused you, and release it. I like to grip my fists, arms, and back then release them as a way to actually embody letting go in action. To the best of your ability accept everything that has happened up until now.
  4. Bring back the light by imagining what’s possible - Set intentions and show your gratitude by doing what it is you intend for the next season of your life. Simply engage with what feels like the first playful and open step towards that which you most deeply hope for. I like to think of the few precious daytime hours around the winter solstice as the time when all my productivity happens. In addition to my daily responsibilities, what I choose to do with my time is like a full-body prayer and a way of setting intentions for the future. The nights are a time to move inward and process the activity of the past year and envision what is possible for the future. 

I recommend you just let these ideas simmer and then reserve about 40 minutes to listen to the audio above, journal the prompts, and try the practice below. Let whatever you do with all this information be as easy as breathing.

A way of embodying the feminine force is by flowing with creativity and doing...whatever. By whatever I do not mean nothing. I mean whatever you really desire in and for your life but don't normally make time for. Do things that feel fun, playful, joyful, and like you are in grateful celebration of your own life.

One of the deepest ways yoga and Ayurveda have touched my life and changed my self-perception is by teaching me how to nurture, protect, and even cherish my own soft needy body & wild tyrant mind. These deceptively simple practices of wintering are an essential part of that. These days of lunar-focused practices are a way to modulate and widen attention to take a long-term, process-oriented view that will allow for more clarity and focus in our actions later in the year as natural heat builds with the seasons.

I want to invite you into one more practice of integration for this time of laying low and digesting. Below is a tutorial of a feel-good practice that can make a huge difference in your life quickly. I teach it to nearly all my students right away because it is such a lifelong support in getting and staying out of pain. It is called the infant roll and it helps redevelop motor patterns of the softcore that get restricted from long hours in a seated posture. 

This short tutorial breaks down the movement and gives you two ways to start practicing it. This isn't about six-pack abs but rather is focused on facilitating deep and structural shifts that lead to a greater sense of inner stability and physical ease. 


To start benefitting from it today watch the video one time through and then watch it again while practicing along with me until you get it down. Then once you have the movement pattern down, play and experiment with moving in this interesting way for 15-20 minutes each day. You may notice your neck gets sore or feels restricted, be super gentle and stay with it and your mobility and strength will increase over time. If you love it like my YouTube channel @yogatherapywithjayme by clicking the video below and sharing it with friends or family over the holiday! 

If you'd like more guidance on this or would like to start working in a systematic way with yoga that is tailored to you, you can easily schedule a session with me here.

Ok, just one more thing I want to share with you this year in hopes it will inspire you to explore areas of creative curiosity as a part of your own holy day tradition. 

Last night in our community winter solstice ritual we all set intentions and my intention for next year is to play more. So this has me asking myself: what would you do if you didn't have to be 'pro' at anything but you could play with everything? It's fun, give it a try if you can!

One of the many ways I like to play is with words so below is a poem that I have been writing over the last few days of my own solstice celebration. Cheers to your freedom my friends, I wish you many deeply joyful holy days! Gratitude to my teachers and to each one of you reading this. 🙏 💚🤟


eat life

Honor your process because
it’s all you can do

for yourself and for us all.
Warm those cold feet by the fire of your own making

                   declutter your space

let air touch the judge-full tongue that got you here and know bitterness.

Yes, taste the flavor of your gaping & ignorant ass-mouth.
Let your soft belly laugh
in a way
that reveals you.

Sure, there is a reason for your rage.
You can’t help but think yourself away.
It's mad making.
Feel instead.

Ram Dass said: 'Allow yourself to be Beautiful.'

I love the idea of it so hard though 

I can only pray to Ram that That feels doable for me someday but oh no, not now, never now. What about now? Honestly, still no. Maybe someday soon. Anyhow I’m very busy doing but also trying not to try or move into doubt and



I can only stay here in faith & prayer otherwise it’s just too terrifying

to even speak at all

I have to pray
for the possibility of 
honest renditions

of what’s already been said

on the off-chance
that no one else has said it
with a
soft tone
like mine.

I own nothing but want to make something new by listening to

Her names & repeating

aloud the wonderfully sensible rumors that brought my once-puckered face back to life like 

earth and fire make sour & bumble bees can taste with their legs.

I am so willing
to say weird beautiful shit like that
again & again
in hopes we can
remember to
pick up our cross
just like He did and
eat life for ourselves. 


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