Winter Feast For The Soul Newsletter
Winter Feast For The Soul


In this Issue:

-Commitment to Your Inner Life
-If Not Now, When?
-2015 Winter Feast – A Change
-Preparing for the Feast – links
-New World Peace Library
-Prison In-Reach Program
What nine months does for the embryo
Forty early mornings
Will do for your growing awareness
Jelaluddin Rumi

Making You and Your Inner Life Your Priority
The importance of commitment in making it happen

By now most of us have feasted, fed family and friends, honored established traditions, collapsed under the weight of our busy schedules, and perhaps done a bit of overspending to make it all happen. All this has been done in the name of Love, and still there seems to be something missing. From what I can tell, it happens everywhere.

Knowing that this happens everywhere and every year, was one of the reasons for creating the Winter Feast for the Soul at this time of year. This is the perfect time to shift your attention to a deeper part of yourself. Whether you call that your Soul, your True Self, your Higher Self, or your connection with your wise and powerful Inner Divine, it is the part that often gets neglected when we get busy with the outer world. During the Feast you will be able to use the power of our collective intention as a community of seekers to support you. With our help, you can make the commitment to find your way into that deeper place.

When you decide that it is time to make your inner life your priority, grace will be given to you to honor your commitment.

Our intention as the coordinating body for this 40-day event is to guide you and support you in creating the time and space to be part of this journey.  We will do our part to support you in making a powerful intention to discover and strengthen your relationship with that deeper part of you that is waiting to be seen and heard.

Our journey is not about self-fulfillment, or living your dream, it is about making your inner life a reality in your daily life 24/7. From that place all other relationships fall into their proper place, and you will live the life you were meant to live with purpose.

To make your commitment to this process come alive here are a few things you can do to support yourself in your soul journey.

  • Create an altar to honor the sacredness of the journey you are about to begin. The altar should be in a place where you will see it each day so that it will remind you that you have made this commitment. It can be a simple place that you set aside to do your morning practice. You can place items on that altar that have special meaning for you, such as pictures, statues, crystals, or just a simple a vase with a single flower, and a candle.
  • Create an opening ceremony to honor your commitment.  That can happen on the morning that your Feast begins, or even the evening before. There is an opening ceremony on our website here that you can watch, or you can use the instructions on the website here to conduct your own. There is a special power in ritual to support you in your commitment.
  • Write out your intention and post it in a place where you will see it each day.  That could be as simple as a journal that you place on your altar and open each day before you begin, or a note on your bathroom mirror. Recommit yourself daily to that original intention.
  • Tell someone close to you about your intention, and check in with them regularly about your progress. You might even ask the other person to join you with a commitment to their own practice for these 40 days.

Whether your practice is a daily meditation, yoga, tai chi, singing, reading from sacred texts, or performing daily acts of kindness, it will lead you to the place you need to go. Our website contains a rich collection of guided meditations and teachings that will help you find your way.

Over the years people have reported amazing changes in their lives that they attribute to their commitment to their inner life.  I hope that you will write and tell us your progress. And if it “feels” as though you cannot make it, write and tell us about that, too. We may have a story or two that will help you find your way. We are here for you. That is our commitment to you.  --Valerie

I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.'--Steve Jobs

If Not Now, When?

There are moments of magic in our lives—times when we are deeply attuned to the flow of time and the Universe, and our actions seem to come from a different place within. Our emotions are heightened. Our sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves and our normal life is enhanced.  In the Jewish Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) service, the rabbi acknowledges this sense, just as the long day of prayer and self-examination draws to a close, by saying something like this:

Now as we feel the day ending and rushing toward night, we sense the closing of the gates and sense our future being sealed. We turn to God to accept our sincere repentance and new resolutions, and ask that He seal us in the Book of Life for the coming year.

In that moment, there is an immense feeling of release, joy and relief as we turn inward and glimpse our connection to something greater than ourselves. We see our lives in a broader perspective. It resonates in our hearts. We voice intentions to maintain that connection--to live a better life, to be kinder, more forgiving, more charitable, more true to our ideals. We know we have a chance to start again with a clean slate, and our hearts are full of possibility.

Winter Feast begins in only two weeks. Let your inner nature and good intentions vowed for the New Year draw you on the path to a daily personal practice. Join us for 40 days of daily inspiration and revelation. Let this be the year that you succeed in achieving all your good intentions. --Kaye

With love and hope for a peaceful and bountiful New Year to you,
--Kaye Vivian, Director
--Valerie Skonie, Founder



2015 Winter Feast – Trying a New Approach

In recent years, some Winter Feast participants have expressed a wish to be able to find meditations from our archives that address a particular need or issue they are facing. So this year, we are testing something new--three tracks focused on a state of being, rather than a teaching or a teacher. Some people have suggested it would be beneficial to follow a track that encourages gratitude, dealing with the loss of a loved one, restoring planetary peace, healing, love or deepening joy.

For those who are returning and want to share the Feast with a teacher you already know and love, that option is also available to you. All the prior year meditations are still there for you--together with some new ones.

This year we have selected three paths or tracks that you can try, and we welcome your feedback. We have selected meditations from a broad range of teachers to give insights into the meaning and purpose of each track. Some of the meditations in each track are new, and some of them are repeats of ones we love from prior years. Taken as a whole, each track will provide you with insights into the meaning and importance of the topic you choose. 

Which track is right for you?

  • Joy. Choose Joy if you feel like your life is flat or purposeless. Choose Joy if you have a keen attunement to the world around you, and feel a strong sense of oneness with creation. Choose Joy if you feel like a ripe fruit ready to scatter its seeds. Choose Joy if you want to experience a glorious flood of light pouring into the deepest parts of your being. Choose Joy if your heart resonates with the thrill of ordinary life.
  • Peace. Choose Peace if the sanctity of life in all its forms is what motivates your actions. Choose Peace if the pain caused by any living form to any other living form creates pain in your own heart. Choose Peace if you want to deepen your own compassion and positive impact on the world around you. Choose Peace if you crave harmony. Choose Peace if your love for all creation outweighs your desire for material possessions and celebrity.
  • Overcoming. Choose Overcoming if your heart is full of grief you cannot bear. Choose Overcoming if life seems to present one hurdle after another, and you have lost your resilience. Choose Overcoming if you can still be hopeful in the face of adversities. Choose Overcoming if you need the power to master your life’s challenges. Choose Overcoming if you are a candle burning inside a bushel basket, and you want to burst out in glory.

To become fully human, we experience both pain and joy throughout our life. For the 40 days of this Winter Feast, trust your inner wisdom to take you down the path to a unique and meaningful experience that is right for you. Whichever track you choose, you will be uplifted, enlightened, and inspired, and experience moments of deep serenity.

Every soul grows through its own experiences of pleasure and pain, and each experience we each go through teaches us. Use this Winter Feast to open yourself to a rich, spiritual experience, and let it become a daily habit. Once you have an experience, it is like a rock you will always have to stand on when you need it. We hope you will also share the Winter Feast with your family, friends, loved ones and co-workers. Take the first steps in creating a personal daily practice, or reinvigorate one you already have, and watch it transform your life.


Preparing for Your Winter Feast

Each year there are new participants who register to participate for the first time. If you are new, or if you need a refresher, here are links to some resources that will let you understand better about the purpose of Winter Feast for the Soul. Prepare for the 40 days of enrichment you are about to experience. Please let us know if you have any questions or have trouble with any links!

Feel free to share these links or this newsletter with anyone you know who might be interested in participating with us!  We appreciate your support.


peace doves

New World Peace Library

Our partner, The Shift Network, has launched a new free educational resource to help users find peace within themselves and create peace within the community, the family and the world. The World Peace Library is designed to inspire, inform and involve people by highlighting best practices from around the world. It has over 300 audio recordings with inspirational stories, skills training and powerful solutions by the world’s top peace builders, social change leaders, scientists, Indigenous elders and spiritual mentors.

This bigger story of peace gives us all hope, for people are finding solutions to the most challenging problems on the planet. The new story of peace is springing forth from the hearts, minds and souls of people of all races and religions as we each help to make the world a better place, starting right where we are with the people closest to us. If peace is your path, you won’t want to miss this.

World Peace Library: Creating a Global Culture of Peace.


prison in reach

Prison In-Reach Program

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the Buddhist teacher, has said, “Being in prison presents tremendous obstacles to cultivating a peaceful mind. The environment is conducive to negativity and can result in further harm...On every level, the basic antidote to inner and outer obstacles is mindfulness practice.”

Incarceration is impossible for those of us who have freedom to comprehend. It creates loneliness, despair, rage, and all kinds of unrest. Meditation can provide true rehabilitation—letting inmates learn to be alive in their hearts and souls again. It nourishes inner peace and kindness in place of negative emotions.

Our Prison In-Reach Program is a friendly hand reaching out to bring meditation and the Winter Feast to inmates in high-security prisons. Maya Davila is the coordinator, and for several years the requests for our program have increased as more prisoners learn about it. Because the prisoners don’t have access to any electronic devices or communications, meditations are individually taught and coached by volunteers who communicate directly with prisoners the old-fashioned way--using paper and pencil and stamps.

There are currently about 50 volunteers supporting this activity, and we always need more! If you can help us financially to offset the costs of the mailings and supplies, it would be a blessing. For information about volunteering, contact Maya by clicking on the link with her name, or you can send a donation to Winter Feast and designate it for the Prison In-Reach Program. Thank you for your ongoing support and generosity.



As always at this time of year, we ask for your contributions to help us continue to provide the Winter Feast for the Soul as a free service. If you can make a donation to help offset our modest operational costs, we would be grateful. Donations of any size are appreciated. Thank you for your support, charity and many acts of kindness!


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Pearland, Texas 77581

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