Today is the Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year. It’s a holiday by and large ignored by most of society because of the fast approaching behemoth of CHRISTMAS and it’s a real shame because this is a beautiful occasion, a turning point in the seasonal calendar.
This is the day when the night is longest – darkness descends like a velvet cloak wrapped around the sky, and especially in our northern latitudes we see the light only for a few hours.
UGH it can feel oppressive!
This is the very reason why every culture has a winter holiday that brings the light to the unremitting darkness of mid-December. Diwali, Hannukah, Yule or Christmas – we all celebrate the glittering of life-giving light, even through the blackness of the winter night.
And it’s so fun to get all sparkly! Put on the candles and fairy lights, glitter and sequins and run around and have fun with tasty food and drinks and laughs and all the entertainments that we can enjoy this time of year.
I’d like to invite you though to look at the darkest and longest night not only as something you get through and block out with the brightest sparkles, but a wonderful opportunity to go inwards.
Just as you have to get away from the bright lights of the city to see the stars at night, sometimes we can’t see the subtle magic that lies within because of all the bright colours, business, meetings, tasks, responsibilities, fun and games. Life is so hectic and multifarious and delightful and stressful – we are all constantly on the go (I am so guilty of this) and it can be really uncomfortable to step back, to empty the diary, and stop.
These are the times that we usually discover something amazing.
As the moon goes through its phases from gleaming to obscured, so we too have our phases and aren’t meant to be productive 100% of the time.
The moment we release, we suddenly find the space and softness that new and unexpected ideas and realisations arise from.
The leaves that fall in winter become the fertiliser for the soil that the tree grows from in the spring – how many times have you taken a few days off from practice, and then found the rest has made you stronger and more open and suddenly you can do things that you didn’t think you could?
I invite you to take this winter solstice, and any moments that you can find over the festive period – to find some quiet and some space, take the opportunity of the darkness outside to let your eyes adjust to the stillness within. Let it be dark enough for you to see even the most subtle glimmer of light.
To that end – here is a short guided meditation to tune in to the inner world, and to kindle that golden secret light within.
All you need is a cushion to sit on and 12 minutes of quiet time – to find the space to soften and grow.
After all it’s only going to get lighter from here on in! So embrace the darkness and SHINE ✨🕯✨