Celebrating the return of light and the renewal of life


4-seasons-shieldHappy Solstice!  Today is the day when the “sun stands still”, having reached its most southern position in the sky before it begins the 6-month journey back to the north.

This time of year is so full of paradox.  As we journey around the sun, here in the northern hemisphere we have been slipping into the dark time of year, with the days growing shorter and the weather growing colder.

Everything in our hard-wired animal being says to slow down, do less, nest, and rest.  It’s a time to go within and hibernate.  In my own business, I’ve made the commitment to go dim as the Solstice approaches, then dark as I let the outward activity of my business rest during the holidays.

At the same time, we humans have long created ceremonies of light for this time of year in which we come together to collectively cajole the sun to return.  Our innate social nature has us gather together to provide ourselves with warmth and refuge against the long cold nights.  It’s what our hearts and warm animal bodies need to sustain us through the long dark nights.

Regardless of our particular beliefs, this is a time of year when we share good food, socialize, celebrate, exchange gifts with those we love, and more.

It’s an interesting dance of energy – the cycle of nature winding us down and in, and our connection to other human beings winding us up and out.

If your connection to nature hasn’t been well-tended recently, it’s all to easy to get swooped up by all the outer activities happening this time of year, or to fall into feeling blue if you don’t have these festivities available to you this particular year, or to lament how commercialized and devoid of meaning it all seems to have become.

Often when things pull in different direction, we can easily fall into seeing these as competing opposites trying cancel each other out.  And with our cultural perspective that tends to see things as either/or, we then deem one of those so-called opposites as the negative one, or the bad one.

Yet what if there really is no such things as opposites the way we tend to hold it?  Or negative? Or bad?  What if these inexorable pulls on our body, mind, heart, and soul are actually natural complementarities that quite comfortably move with each other in a timeless dance?

acorn-sproutDarkness is actually essential to life.  Without darkness, nothing would grow.  A seed needs to lay long enough in the quiet moist darkness of the earth in order to crack open its protective hull and begin the extraordinary adventure of becoming what it has been encoded to be.

You are no different. You are a perpetual seed in the process of becoming.

In the shamanic path I walk, which is grounded in the indigenous wisdom of the Peruvian Andes, there’s a beautiful concept called phutuy (put-wee), which means “germinating the seeds of possibility in yourself and blossoming into deeper and wider states of fulfillment”.

In order to germinate yourself in this way, you need darkness and quiet, and enough of it.  Now, when outer nature is resting in her annual time of quiet darkness, is a perfect time to allow your own inner nature to rest and the seeds of you to sprout.

Funny thing is that you don’t even need to know exactly what your particular seed is for it to send out its first shoot and begin to grow.  You just need to give it the right conditions and let it do what it knows to do.

Before too long, as the days lengthen and the return of light becomes noticeable, you’ll likely also discover that something new has appeared in you, in your life, in the expression of your great work, in how your business wants to unfold, that wasn’t there before.

tree_woman_summerIt won’t emerge as a fully grown oak tree. But once it has unfurled that first shoot, it has the potential to become that.

So my prayer for you at this time of the Winter Solstice is to honor the beautiful dance of complementarities at play right now.

Surrender to the sweet call of slowing down and germinating yourself in the darkness, while also engaging in whatever connection and celebration your heart yearns for.

Rather than holding these as competing and potentially maddening pulls, what if instead you found the perfect-for-you complement of quiet darkness and nourishing connection that your seed needs in order to germinate?  You need both.  So find the right balance and tend to the seed of YOU!

May you be blessed now more than ever!  Love…