While it might feel like winter has arrived already, the celestial transition from Autumn to Winter only occurs with the Winter Solstice.
Solstice happens twice a year in June and December. In Summer it marks the day when the sun appears highest in the sky giving to us our longest day. In Winter it marks the day when the sun appears lowest in the sky and gives us our shortest day of the year. This year, Winter Solstice occurs on Sunday 22 December, so being the official start of Winter.
For a few days surrounding each Solstice, the Sun has a wee pause along its celestial path (as viewed from Earth). It appears to stop before reversing direction hence the name ‘Solstice’ derived from Latin meaning the ‘Sun stands still’. The best way to stay balanced this month is to follow the sun, pause, take some time out. Take a break from the festive pace and allow yourself to stand still like the Sun – or better yet, take a seat. Think about this quote from Ekhart Tolle:
…When you lose touch with your inner stillness
You lose touch with Yourself.
When you lose touch with Yourself
You lose yourself in the World…
It’s easy to lose ourselves in the world around us – but this year, more than ever, I am noticing the World being lost around us.
This year there’s been so much awareness of our societies impact on the planet, of our unsustainable ways and expectations, of our responsibilities to our future generations to take steps to protect our planet and the balance that sustains human life on Earth. As I write, I’m hearing from friends in Sydney of their state of emergency as air quality reaches toxic levels due to the unprecedented heat, not to mention the raging forest fires. A climate emergency is being experienced on so many levels world wide. It’s no longer a risk – it is happening now. I do not enjoy watching Greta tell the the grown ups to wake up and take action. Honestly, not one bit. Why? Because I agree and I feel guilty! Despite being aware and feeling strongly responsible to preserve and protect our home – our planet Earth – I continue to participate in unsustainable ways and often have a lot of fun doing it! Snowboarding, driving around in my diesel car taking yoga from the valley to the mountain tops etc – I am a hypocrite and I don’t like that.
We need to take stop and take action. Undoubtedly much change is required from the policy makers and organisations that drive the policy makers. We must never stop looking for structure and support from the top down to effect change. But in the absence of that, we as individuals and communities can still do a lot. Opening our minds, educating our children and being curious and motivated to try new ways, to explore alternative means, to make conscious choices.
Apathy isn’t an option, denial is just dumb, and beating ourselves up over what we’re not doing is not in anyone interest either.
So here’s a Winter Solstice mindfulness exercise to drive us into a new year with clean slate and perhaps a cleaner planet.
Solstice Mindfulness on Environmental Responsibility
(Note: if being mindful on environmental/climate responsibility is not for you right now – honour that and focus on a more personal review of your year gone by)
Use the long dark nights around the Solstice for some quiet inward reflection on the past year and your impact you’ve had on your environment and it’s impact on you.
Be curious as to how your attitude or awareness may have changed or developed over the last year towards our climate state and environmental responsibilities.
Review the key milestones, experiences, events, actions, reactions of the past year.
Review your achievements as well as your failures to take steps in your house, workspace, environment, travel, choices etc to minimise your impact.
2. Gather Insight:
Acknowledge it all – no judgment.
What lessons have you learned from last year?
Notice any residual feelings, or lack of, in relation to your participation, reaction, experience, efforts, resistance to climate and environmental issues.
Take a broad view and mindfully let go of any preconceived ideas, opinions or beliefs you have in relation to climate change, and our environmental responsibilities.
Let them go in a still mindful space even for a few moments – so you can be open to more awareness and possibility of a fresh outlook.
Then in that still mindful space, imagine your ideal world – the climate state – its environmental health – your place within it.
Set an intention to do better in 2020.
For inspiration and current awareness, follow people or organisations that align with your values and are taking action globally and/or locally. Here’s some I follow.
3 step daily ritual for the 30 days after Solstice
Being mindful and reviewing important aspects of our life and/or our contribution to the world around us at Solstice is a crucial step towards feeling balanced this Winter. We can use the following month to manifest an evolved mindset that is open to new ways, new ideas, new vibes, fresh action relating to that Solstice Mindfulness.
- Light a candle every morning to symbolise the transition towards longer days and shorter nights. Watch the flame as you start your day and imagine it lighting up your intuition and imagination.
- Insist on 10mins of daily stillness to let your inner compass re-calibrate and be better able to direct you to a lighter brighter year ahead.
- Count yourself into stillness with an open mind – open to potential and possibility that these still times may enable you to see better – empower ideas – visualise hopes and potential for the year ahead.
As the Sun’s power manifests and grows towards its Summer highs, so too will our intention to do better and ideas on how to make it happen manifest and come to life…..
Read more Winter Balance musings in the Blog