Although I can’t say I love winter ( July is my favorite weather month), the days approaching the Winter Solstice hold meaning for me. Something gets activated within me and I find myself using the shorter days to retreat within myself for what I call “soulwork”.
Some people call it the “holiday spirit” but for me it is an inner festiveness that I engage and nourish with daily activities that increase my awareness. Many years ago I let go of obligatory seasonal gatherings and in place I fill my social meet ups with people that I care about and who care about me. I fill my home with the scents of frankincense, myrhh and pine from essential oils. I cook healthy foods that are orange and berry colored; pumpkin puddings, squash soup, carrot tea cakes with nuts and raisins. I like to think of myself as a creature of the forest in larger than critter size making a cache of yummy things in my home nest.
All of this is probably supported by the fact that I live on the side of a mountain in a remote area of Southern Colorado. The mere act of living here invites me to hunker down, stay home and bundle up if I venture out for a woody walk. I cook on a woodstove and that requires that I visit the wood wonky daily to gather twigs and logs for heat and baking.
And I make a practice of watching the sun set each day. I aim to notice the fading sunlight which gets earlier each day as we move toward Dec 20th. I enjoy this early fading of light which seems too soon in mid-December, but invites me to listen and reflect with tea each afternoon.
And so, Winter Solstice 2013 is coming to me day by day and I pause to consider today how I can mark this season with intentional acts of gratitude and awareness.
JOURNAL QUESTIONS FOR YOUR CONTEMPLATION
How will I be a light in the world?
Who in my life has been a light at the end of my tunnel? How will I let them know what that has meant to me?
When in the busy days ahead will I make time to reflect about the passing year and open myself to the possibilities of the coming one?
Helene Van Manen/Celebrate the Winter Solstice Retreat