Happy Solstice everyone! It’s definitely that time of year…a time for many when the darkness, rain, and gloom of living in Northwest Washington can discourage even the most optimistic souls. I am one of those who tends to be affected by the short days and lack of natural light, as I love the great outdoors and all this area has to offer in the longer days of Spring and Summer. I find myself eagerly awaiting the Solstice as a turning point where things start heading back into the light. I wanted to take a minute to ponder just what the Solstice means and how we can use this day and the positives associated with it to our advantage as we move forward into the longer days to come.
Here are five things I came up with to love about the Winter Solstice…
1. The shortest day means the longest night! Why not take advantage of these long hours of darkness to sleep in, enjoy intimate times with friends and loved ones, and cocoon into yourself a bit and focus on those things that feel really nurturing to you? Schedule an evening massage, take a late afternoon nap or a hot bath with candles, enjoy warm drinks by a fire, or cuddle with a favorite pet (human or other!) while enjoying the sights and sounds of the holidays. Get creative and celebrate these long nights, as they will only get shorter for the next six months!
2. It’s a time of Birth and Rebirth. The winter solstice marks the REVERSAL OF THE SUN’S EBBING PRESENCE IN THE SKY. Similarly, for us, it’s a time for starting over, for beginning a new. Who says we have to wait until New Years Day to implement new habits or ways of being that we want to incorporate into our lives in the coming year? I like the idea of making a Solstice Intention, a plan for myself that acknowledges and implements the concepts of birth and rebirth that the solstice represents.
3. It’s a time for Rest and Reflection. I am by nature a daylight maximizer. Long summer days usually see me enjoying the entire daylight hours, from sun up to sun down, staying busy with life and activities. While I have to say I love it, it can also be exhausting to awake with the sun’s first light and stay fully in the game until it drops over the horizon. I desperately miss the long days at this time of year, yet the simplicity of darkness provides a necessary contrast and balance to life that allows me to naturally sleep, rest, and reflect a bit more.
4. Enjoy the variation of light. The solstice is symbolic of light in so many ways. The lack of sunlight, the coming back into the light, the presence and abundance of candles and holiday lights that brighten the hours of darkness. And don’t forget the dramatic lighting that nature brings us daily. Notice the morning’s first light over Lake Padden, or the glorious evening sky from Taylor Dock as the sun droops over the horizon. One of my favorite things about this time of year is watching the sunset from the window in my office as I do late afternoon massages. It’s contemplative and magical.
5. And remember, it’s Summertime Somewhere! If all else fails, and when the short days and long nights start to get to me, I remember that it’s summer in the Southern Hemisphere! While it hasn’t happened yet, one of these years I will take a vacation in mid-winter to New Zealand to hike the trails that beacon. Just thinking about that warms and excites me…if I focus and work hard now, I know I will reap the benefit of a well-earned winter vacation in a sunny summer climate sometime very soon.
ENJOY THE SOLSTICE!