Here we are heading down the path to Winter’s Solstice which will happen on December 21st. In my view all the holiday celebrations center around the age old reality that this is the dark time, the time that the sun shines on us the shortest and we have the darkness to enfold us.
For many of us this is a time we dread. If you live in the north, you have the very real reality of how it gets dark very early and stays dark so much later in the morning. You might look at this as problem, a time where you get depressed and tired all the time. It might be a time that you actually hate, wishing and wanting it to go away; to have the light days of summer come around again, NOW!
I am here to present you with a re-framing of that attitude. What if this time of year is an opportunity to pull in and rest? What if this time of year is an opportunity to relax and reflect on the all the projects you worked on over the year? What if this season is a chance for you to have the down time you need for balancing the very active lifestyle you live the rest of the year? What if this time of dark is a natural opportunity for practicing the slowing down that is preferred for yourself as a spiritual seeker looking for that quiet voice that softly tells you what living a congruent authentic life really is like?
All these ‘what if’s’ fly in the face of our cultural belief that in order to be a successful and a better person we must ‘do, do, do’. Coming from a cyclically seasonal perspective, this doing has its place but it is not the whole of a balanced perspective of managing the world. The natural time of ‘doing’ activity is when the light is growing and that takes place in the spring to summer; with its climax on the Summer Solstice around June 21st. This is the natural time of activity where the seeds we have planted (literally or figuratively) are in full growth. Summer is the instinctive time when what goals we have set up in the spring have reached their full illumination or potential.
Our preferring the ‘doing’ definition of success results in a strong resistance to the slowing down this time of year naturally suggests. We respond anywhere from hating this time of year to jumping into the flurry of activities our holiday celebrations present to us; madly shopping or pushing ourselves to party hearty. Even if you like the party aspect of this time of year, be aware of how pushed you might feel to reach out when you might authentically feel the desire to curl up on the couch with a cozy blanket, a good book, soft music in the background and candles lit all around.
Winter with its onset being the Winter Solstice around December 21st, is the natural time for allowing the space we need to let go of what is left over from fall’s harvest to make space for the new that will happen again in the spring. When we allow the balance of this ‘being’ time to be an integral part of our lives it can be an effortless relaxation into the comfort that the dark has the potential to represent. It provides the opportunity to be quiet, to actually sleep in, to play with those creative projects that have been waiting in the wings for us to get our hands on, to get to know the sweet part of us that is our divine aspect or…..to slow down and smell the Christmas tree; (I am a die-hard fresh tree fan!) I notice that, coming from a more conservative perspective, these opportunistic suggestions are still very ‘doing’ in nature. But for those of us who are fully engaged with the active success perspective, inviting these more reflective activities to be a part of this time of year for us is a boon in the honor of accessing that quiet voice that is the soul’s.
I am reminded that this is the time of year to fully embrace the concept that we are not human ‘doings’. Rather, we are human beings. With our 24/7 electric lights and our prevalent cultural preference for being active all the time, we forget this truth. This time of year can provide a chance for us to try on the ‘being’ concept in a natural way, using the reality of nature to support us in cultivating a balanced attitude of managing our daily energy.
I am also mindful that I am writing from the environment of the Pacific Northwest where this phenomenon of the winter dark is fully manifested. If you live in an area where you are closer to the equator (the Southwest for example), you don’t experience this time of the dark in its full glory. If you fully embrace the ‘love of the active light’ perspective, this essay may not be as germane to you as it is to those of us who are living in the north. On the other hand, if you live in the south, ’embracing the dark’ could be more challenging as you don’t have as much of nature’s literal support. Know that you have the cycle of ‘light to dark to light’ inherently in you as a possibility to experience also.
I invite all of you to play with this concept of embracing this time of year in all its quiet glory. I would love to hear from you as to what your experiences are!