Winter Solstice: the longest night (if you are in the Northern Hemisphere!)
“Some of us needs to know that at the end of the longest night, there will be light.”
Tuesday, December 22nd, 2016 marks the longest night of the year. A friend of mine created a special church service on this night for those who sought something quieter and more reflective. Less festive than the contemporary yuletide spirit. Ever since hearing of those services, I have been inspired to invite others to choose this night to make a special space. Just for you.
People often ask me, how can Christmas-time be depressing? This week can be full of sadness, stress overload, loneliness, even dread. Especially for those who don’t have someone special, or rituals that are comforting, have lost someone important, or find the gatherings more stressful than inviting. So many people are at war with themselves, or with their bodies. Pressure to have the perfect “costume” aka “outfit” for the holiday party. Or starving themselves, fighting to eat as little as possible to “fit in” to some perfect ideal. Please, eat something before you attend that party. You won’t feel so anxious if you aren’t starving! Your body will thank you. Just breathe.
I often counsel: make room in your heart for your pain. It feels so much better to receive it with an open heart and self-empathy, kindness and a place that feels safe.
So this winter solstice, if you happen to be someone that is feeling a bit more somber or blue… Make room for yourself. Maybe you wish to share with other celebrants who honor the solstices as “a chance to still ourselves inside, to behold the glory of the cosmos, and to a breath with the Sacred.” (T. Thorn Coyle). Join the Druids at Stonehenge; this prehistoric monument is carefully aligned on a sight-line that points precisely to the winter solstice sunset!
Light candles, play music and dance around the light. Make a bonfire and enjoy the beauty to behold. Share a special meal, sing your favorite song—not holiday related if that works for you—pray, meditate, and dedicate your yoga practice as the place to just BE. When we connect with the natural world, we are in resonance with the seasons. These rituals allow us to shift our focus from the outside world, the blur of busy days and nights, to appreciate your internal world. Trust the stillness, don’t be afraid.
The sun stands still within us and time changes. After the longest night, the sun also rises. We can be uplifted, even in our darkest, longest hours, to drink in that sunrise. Take a deep breath in, be peace. We survived another longest night. Exhale love and light and the courage to connect. Don’t forget to enjoy the longest noontime shadow of the year!
With love and light,