Yesterday was Winter Solstice. The shortest day of the year. Commencing today, the light returns to our world in small increments, with each day a couple of minutes longer than the previous day.
If you are like me and were unable to attend any of the solstice rituals that happened yesterday, don’t fret, you can still celebrate the return of the light. Here are some tips:
1. Acknowledge what is happening with Mother Nature right now. Each day that passes grows a little longer, each day brings a bit more light to our lives. Take that acknowledgement from that global perspective and bring it into the personal. With each day that passes, starting today, acknowledge that more light is coming into your life. Use the extra couple of minutes of light each day as a metaphor. How can you bring a couple more minutes each day of metaphorical light into your life? Is there anything that needs to be released to allow for more light in your life? What does light signify to you anyway? Is it joy, or peace, or good health?
2. Celebrate! There is a reason for the lighting of candles, the decorating of trees and the parties at this time of year. It stems from rituals practiced by our ancestors, who not only lit lots of candles, but also brought gifts and had parties. All of it signified and celebrated the return of the light. Today’s holiday parties and lights decorating the trees and homes are all descendants of those ancient celebrations. So when you go to the endless round of parties and decorate your tree, do so with a feeling of jubilation and celebration. Enjoy it! And if you are of the more introverted type, light some candles in the quiet sacredness of your own home, and acknowledge the joy and beauty of this season. Celebrations do not have to be of the noisy and crowded variety.
3. You may not be in the mood to celebrate right now. Perhaps, like a good friend of mine recently said, you don’t appreciate the endless commercials, the crowds or even the Christmas music. Try and take comfort in nature’s cycle. Mother Nature is wise, very wise. Here where I live in Lake Tahoe, I quite frequently will stand somewhere near the lake’s edge on the east shore and watch the storms approach. They always come over the mountains from the west and you can literally see them coming. I’ll be standing in sunshine, but when I look west, I will see these magnificent clouds coming toward me on the wind. I can look at those clouds and know that it is time to prepare. When the storms come, we fare better if we are prepared, and if we are prepared, we can ride out the storm, emerging when the storm passes to appreciate the beauty of the freshly fallen snow, the glitter and shimmer when the sun hits that snow, the crystal clear blue sky. That kind of light can only come after a good snow storm. What Mother Nature does, we can use as metaphors in our own lives. When the storms come, be prepared, ride it out, and when it passes, emerge to see what new and beautiful has come as a result of the storm. If you don’t like the commercials, turn off the tv and radio. Instead of shopping, make cookies to give as gifts. You can shop ahead of time for the goodies to make cookies, you don’t have to wade through the crowds. Find something to be grateful for in this season.
4. This leads me to talk about losses. Perhaps you’ve recently encountered a huge loss. Perhaps this is not the time to celebrate the light because you feel as if there simply is no light in your life. Perhaps it is time to grieve instead. If that is the case, honor it. Grieving our losses must happen. I can tell you from personal experience that if a loss is not properly grieved you will suffer. The grief will manifest in some way, usually a physical illness but sometimes in emotional illness as well. Feelings of anger and sadness will come, it is part of the process. If they are coming now, at a time when the rest of the world is celebrating, do not put them on hold until later. Doing so will only strengthen those feelings and make them worse. And I can guarantee you that if you do not grieve the loss now, then you will repeat the cycle when the anniversary comes each year, in essence dooming yourself to a holiday season filled with sadness and grief instead of joy. Give yourself the gift of grieving now, when it is needed, and then you will be able to experience all the joy of this season, and you will be able to once again know that the light is entering your life.