“THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND PROFOUND EMOTION WE CAN EXPERIENCE IS THE SENSATION OF THE MYSTICAL. IT IS THE SOWER OF ALL TRUE SCIENCE. HE TO WHOM THIS EMOTION IS A STRANGER, WHO CAN NO LONGER WONDER AND STAND RAPT IN AWE, IS GOOD AS DEAD.” ~ ALBERT EINSTEIN
Today we celebrate the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of light in the year. The Solstice is exact at 8:16 pm PST (11:16 pm EST).
Solstice comes from the Latin words, sol, meaning sun, and sistere, meaning to stand still. It was named Solstice as it appeared as if the sun and moon stopped moving across the sky ~ as if time stood still for just that mere second ~ and maybe it does!
Although it is the longest night of the year, it is also the start of the solar year ~ the rebirth of the Sun. It can be a beautiful time to remember that our lives are part of a larger energy, always changing, always renewing.
I find myself drawn to the ritual at these turnings of the wheel. To take time to move into the quiet silence of darkness, under the cold, winter beauty to reflect on my inner world. Each season has its own magic, spirit, energy, feel and rhythm. Winter is a time of slowing down and going within. It is a time when our seeds stay within us, the earth, and we find there are internal activity and germination.
It is a time of cold and snow, guiding us to soften, find the quiet place in the vastness of our landscape and connect with our inner space where the heart and soul entwine. This is a time to stir your dreams to move deep inside to the mystery within, where you believe that anything is possible. Your dreams and the way they unfold in your life are unique to you, like every snowflake that falls.
Recently, I was driving through Iowa and Nebraska and reveling in the quiet, powerful vastness of the snowy landscapes. How it quieted my soul.
I love the solstice energy and the stirring it evokes in me. Each year it is something new. Sometimes it is a deep connection and sometimes a stillness that lures me into new quiet spaces I can access throughout the coming year.
In working with this energy, I share these few simple rituals I will be practicing today and into the coming days:
- I will be doing a short tea meditation. You can make any tea that you like, the most important step is to be mindful in each step, preparing, sitting down, drinking, and finishing the tea. First, make your tea with complete awareness of the present moment. Give yourself completely to the process. Next, find a quiet place to drink your tea and once you sit down, just take a moment to sit with your tea. Notice the aroma, the color and the delicate balance that is going through to become the delightful cup of tea in front of you. Before you begin drinking, take a moment to give thanks to the tea. Now, taking small sips at a time, drink your tea with mindfulness. Savor each sip, really savor each sip. You can focus your mindfulness on the raising of your arm, the sip, the swallowing, the lowering of the arm and the deep breaths that follow before you take your next sip. Thoughts, feelings, and sensations are to be acknowledged then moving our minds back into the mindfulness practice. Once you are done with your tea give thanks again as you did in the beginning. This is a beautiful way to prepare for a creative project or meditation.
- I will color a new Mandala, and create my own with gatherings from this fall. I do this to bring myself inward. I will play the music that warms my soul and heart and helps me to connect to myself, to the colors, textures, and smells of my surroundings. Later I will revisit my mandala’s to interpret what came forth from my internal world to share with me in my external world.
- Gayatri Prayer and meditation ~ I will be chanting this prayer before moving into silent meditation. This is a prayer of light, the light that shines through all faiths, all beings, through the universe, through us, uniting us as one family. This will also be my twilight sadhana, morning and/or evening, for the next 40 days.
- I am also dedicating this remaining ten days of the year to consciously bringing myself from my left brain, the linear, organizing, I am place, into the right brain, where I connect with the present moment and the energy of my surroundings through my five senses and body movement. It is here that I find a deep connection with the whole of humanity.
I hope you will take time to share in the deep mystery of the darkness, to experience the fluidity in that quiet place inside of you. And if you like, carry that practice forward daily or monthly.