This Thursday is the Winter Solstice, which marks the day the sun begins its return to the northern hemisphere. It is the darkest day of the year north of the equator, and the perfect opportunity for us to look at what changes we want to make in our lives.
This day, also known as midwinter, marks the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year. It occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun. On Thursday, the East Coast will see only nine hours and 15 minutes of daylight. It will probably be black outside by 4 p.m., which, let’s admit, can feel a little bit depressing
Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied across cultures, but many cultures have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals, or other celebrations around this time.
The winter solstice is a time of quiet energy, when we get the opportunity to look within ourselves and focus on what we want and need. It’s a time to set goals and intentions for the coming year, to examine and let go of negatives from the past, and to make changes within ourselves. The solstice is essentially tied to a personal awakening. So, it’s no surprise that, for many cultures, taking advantage of the light they’re given is so important on this day. Try to get outside while it is light out to connect with nature. Take a walk, go for a hike, bundle up and enjoy your coffee while sitting outside for a little bit. You won’t have much time, so take advantage of it while you can!
One of the most common (and simplest) ways to observe the spiritual significance of this day is to make the most of the light you’ve got. Let plenty of natural light into your home during the day, and light your favorite candles once the sun goes down. And think of the Christmas tree! An element of nature brought into your home, to bring light and focus joy and anticipation. Sit by the lights of your tree, if you have one, inhale the evergreen scent, and let your mind wander.
Spend at least an hour to reflect and look at what YOU WANT in your life on Dec. 21. Light a candle, keep the lights off, and embrace the darkness. Turn your phone off, and don’t even think about using a laptop or your TV — not even your smart watch! Take some time to think deeply about yourself, your past, and what you want for your future. This is a time where you aren’t harsh about your decisions, and you REALLY BEGIN to let things go.
Grab a piece of paper, write down the things you want to let go of, then toss the paper into the shredder or fireplace as a symbol of release.
Then, do something nice. Spend time with your family, call a trusted friend, and reflect on what’s happened in the past year! (What a year it’s been for me and my family and my practice!) An important part of celebrating the solstice has always been showing your love to the people closest to you, like friends and family members.
This is the time of year that nature itself is inviting us to really accept ourselves, to really look at where we are and where we want to go with our lives. Think of this as a chance to make something different from a New Year’s resolution – more a life change or direction or focus – not a rule or diet or imposed action – but perhaps a cleansing ritual or a redirection of your intentions.
WITHOUT judgement of yourself- finish the following sentence: “I want to…” How did it end? I want to help more people? I want to feel more confident? I want to make cute things off of Pintrest? I want to show the love I feel for others? I want to understand my body more? I want to really, really let go of something? I want to learn something new? Use these to help guide what you want to focus on. Give yourself the chance to reprioritize. Take a break from the TV, the computer, your phone.
Take a break from the foods that hurt you. If you find yourself eating something that isn’t on your food plan, just set it aside and get back on track. If there’s any day of the month to just stay focused and clear within yourself, the winter solstice is one of the most spiritually powerful days to do that. Just like going offline, eating well can help you stay tuned into yourself. This will make reflection much easier. This is what your solstice celebration should build up to: reflecting on your whole self — even the parts that you keep hidden from others, or maybe feel badly about. Maybe you conceal a fear, desire, or source of shame from other people. No matter what dwells within you, bring it to light by journaling or opening up to your loved ones or support people.
Only when you consider yourself without judgment will you know how to prepare for the coming season — and year. Are there parts of your inner self that need to be given a voice? Are there new parts you want to create?” These are the kinds of questions that can lead to truly positive changes in your life.
If you spend this day seeking warmth from your loved ones and light from nature, you will illuminate — and, ultimately, accept — the whole person you’ve become since the last winter solstice.
Lots of chaos is happening in the next few weeks, please take this day, this time, this hour to refocus your intentions and let yourself move towards the place you would like to be.
Renaissance will be closed from December 20, 2018 to January 3, 2019. No clients will be seen; I will check email and phone messages, but answer only the urgent ones. I will be taking the time to rest, reflect, and redirect. I hope you enjoy these holidays. There will be a blog next week.
Please comment. Tell me what you think and what you’d like more information about, and what programs you would like to have appear next year. I am grateful that you trust me enough to walk this sacred ground with you, I thank you for that trust, and I want to know what would help you most.
Blessings to you,