Winter Solstice: the long and short of it

Over the last several years, I have spent time in locations with little cell service or WiFi, where life becomes temporarily void of TV commercials, social media ads, and the constant display of the mountain of “things” advertisers would like to convince me I need. So when I return to the ordinary, there is always a bit of re-entry time needed, just to become accustomed to bright lights, loud sounds and social demands.

This year I spent the first part of the holiday season in one of those quiet spaces – far away from computers, commercials and credit cards. So when I returned in the middle of the holiday shopping season, my senses were quickly assaulted with gifts to buy, goodies to bake and activities to do. Expectations flooded over me. There was no one placing all of that on me, just me…experiencing the seasonal expectations of the culture in which I live.

In this moment of Winter Solstice, days are short and nights are long. There is a subtle shift of rhythm that calls us to move from “sensory overload,” inward; to be quiet and reflective. While this rhythmic shift occurs naturally with the additional hours of darkness, we can find ourselves (and our culture) resisting the quiet and scheduling more and more things to do in order to fill in the empty space to which we are invited. Darkness can be scary. We can feel alone. When we are quiet, we are alerted to all our thoughts and we easily become overcome by the “bright lights and loud sounds” in our head.The rhythm of this time beckons us to welcome the darkness – to move from the noise of the season and enter into the holy and flickering light of our own soul. Darkness is not just a time to wait for the light, but to allow the darkness to do its work of germination, of holding that which will come to the light in its own time.

During this week, consider what might be germinating within you during this time. How might you honor the dark instead of rushing to the light? What is one practice that might remind you to hold the healing darkness? The light will soon return with all of its activity, until then, how might you honor the depth of who you are during this time of winter solstice?

With deep gratitude for each of you and wishes for peaceful and silent solstice nights,

Andrea

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