Return Of The LightDec 13, 2022
It's easy to overlook the magic of Winter Solstice. It's smack in the middle of the busy holiday season. Our to-do lists in preparation for holiday gatherings and all the festivities keep us busy - mind numbingly so.
When we get beyond the busyness, we notice how the increasingly shortening daylight beckons us to hunker down, to still. Many of us work to keep the encroaching darkness at bay - we turn on more and more lights to brighten our inside spaces; we add lots of holiday lights on the outside of our homes to illuminate our external surroundings.
But the beauty of the darkness is that it helps quiet the mind, it shushes the endless chatter that keeps us distracted. The darkness surrounds us, softly inviting us to pull back, to go inward and take stock of our inner world.
I like the idea of setting the stage for reflection with things like making a cup of cocoa and warming my hands around it, or throwing another log onto the fireplace to create atmosphere, or even snuggling in a cozy blanket on the couch. But the reality is that being too strategic or too intentional doesn't work for me. I get it all set up and then ... nothing. My mind goes blank, or it feels like everything seizes up, like a spotlight has been turned on and a performance is expected.
I tend to gain my best insights in the twilight space between being awake and falling into sleep. As I burrow into the blankets to get warm, I let my mind wander and ruminate on the topic at hand, and, more often than not, the answer or a new understanding simply drops into my awareness. When this happens, I either grab a nearby pad of paper to make notes, or I grab my phone and record a voice memo to capture the details.
If ritual or ceremony work for you - great! Make it as elaborate as you need for it to hold meaning. My point is that it doesn't have to be complicated in order to be effective.
So, why do this? What's the point of it?
Winter Solstice marks the return of the Light, the still point between deceleration and acceleration. It's the ending of one phase and the beginning of another. Because it's the longest night of the year, the darkness is impossible to ignore. It encourages us to slow down, to linger. It can be a great catalyst for growth and personal transformation.
If we allow it.
The darkness, the void, the hushed inner world ... this is the place from which dreams are brought into existence. Intention, inspiration, yearnings are all manifest from this space. It's the nothing and the everything. It's a place ripe with possibilities.
The Light returning signals the beginning of a new year, the start of a new phase. New goals, new dreams, new plans. Moving blindly into the new year without an understanding of what has transpired increases the chances that we spend this next year repeating the same patterns. It makes for murky goals and undefined outcomes. It creates stagnancy.
Taking time to reflect on our experiences of the year behind us - exploring the still point with curiosity, vulnerability, and honesty - is how we move forward. This process supports our continued growth and evolution because it gives us valuable insights:
- What worked and what didn't
- What goals did we have and were they realistic
- What did we accomplish and how did that feel
- What new understandings did we experience and were they easy to come by
- What was challenging and how did we respond or adapt
All of this info is super helpful as it can be used to inform the direction we go next, which plan we put into place, where we're ready to level up, what we're ready to let go of.
It doesn't have to be a big production ... unless you want it to be that way. Short, sweet, and simple is just as powerful. Take the time. Find your rhythm. The payoff in doing so can be astonishingly amazing.
May your Winter Solstice be full of powerful insights, and may your year ahead be filled with magic.