From Darkness to Light

Winter solstice December 22, 2015

This morning when I went outside to greet the sun, it was already almost halfway up in the sky. I try to go out and greet the sun most mornings. There’s something about feeling sunlight on your face, eyes closed, that just feels so good especially in the winter.

Every morning, well to be honest, most mornings, I greet the sun asking it to help me remember to show up in the world in an honest and authentic way. The gift the sun gives me is an unavoidable reminder that the world is bigger than me. The sunlight illuminates so much around me. Trees, bushes, dirt, the neighborhood I live in, an ant crawling along the ground in front of my foot and an ever shifting shadow – mine as well as everything else’s. Hearing the birds chirp, the hummingbirds tweeting out there impassioned tune is a beautiful, gentle reminder that I get to be in this world exploring and witnessing.

Today is the winter solstice and this year it feels meaningful to me. Not really sure why other than maybe I’ve tried to devote in very simple ways, energy towards observing the world and connecting to nature. I’ve always connected to nature but this year especially with writing the book I’ve been forced to rely on it more heavily than I have ever before. I’ve realized what a source of strength this subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) natural world is.

One of the things I’ve tried to do this year was to greet the sun every morning even if it’s just for a minute. I knew I needed small ways to both connect to myself and a world which is so much bigger than me. I came to the conscious choice to try to go and stand in the sun when I was meditating on simple rituals I could do in my day-to-day life.
Shadows stretch from cacti, Mesquite tree and fence post.  I didn’t really expect much other than I knew I felt good washing myself in sunlight. I know in Mechica traditions and I can imagine hundreds of other traditions, greeting the sun is a spiritual act. I pay attention to what people embrace as bringing connection to Spirit, especially the acts that are simple and doable.

This is the shortest day of the year for those of us in the northern hemisphere, a natural time to notice a transition between darkness and light. This is an opportunity for us to embrace small ways we can connect with ourselves and a world which is so much bigger than us. As the days start to get longer, we have more sunlight/daytime to pause, peel back the layers from whatever our focus is on, step outside and greet the sun.

As we have more time with darkness right now, this is an opportunity to contemplate what we need. This is the time to prepare for the year ahead. You know what you need. You know if you need sunshine, to hear the birds sing or something else. What do you need? Are there things you need to leave behind in order to move into this New Year? What old stories are you telling yourself? In what ways are you being too hard on yourself? How can you let go to create a bit of emptiness in your heart in order to let new things in?

What do you need to embrace as you move into this New Year? What small shifts do you want to make in your life? What ways can you have more grace for yourself? How do you stay with the emptiness and not just grab the first thing to come along, to instead wait for what is right? You know what you need.

The afternoon shadows are already stretching long. I appreciate this time of darkness. I slow down and it gives me time to think. This is the time where I learn to trust that I know what I need. When the daylight comes, I get to try out small acts of growth. I get to learn and try again.