You are the Light

The Solstice is near, and every day, the sun sets earlier now. The gathering dark is a reminder of how important it is to rest, to pause, to nourish ourselves with quietude. In the dark, growing things germinate. In the dark, our shadows sigh with relief, grateful for a moment away from the harsh light that seemingly always finds our flaws. In the dark, we can be present with the truths about our vulnerability that we might fear to bring out into the public square.

When we are submerged in the dark time of the year, we can bleed the crisp edges of our mundane lives off the page a bit and become more magical, more diffuse, less judging, more generous, more magnanimous. For many, the nadir of the solar year represents a complex combination of revelry, love, stress, and critique of false or forced jollity. It's not simply the holiday season that brings this forth. It's something about the light, or lack thereof. The peaceable and inconvenient silence of the long night beckons us inward, away from inauthenticity, regardless of how many blazing neon signs leer and tempt us to fling caution to the winds and overindulge, overdo, overspend, or overachieve. We are, if we deeply listen, instead being called to just get very, very real, and love very, very much.

In the gathering darkness of this solstice season, and the gathering shadows of greed and systemic abuse in the world, it is tempting to vanish inward in a spirit of discouragement, fear, or sorrow. While these feelings are valid, they are not likely to accomplish much, so try your best to reframe your perspective so that your quietude is not torturous, but is rather nurturing and healing. You must not allow yourself to be overcome. You must remember who you are, and the power of one person's love.

How many times in your life has the kind word or gesture of one person changed everything in a moment for you? Countless times, to be sure. When you needed it, many times, loving people in your life came along and lit a lamp for you in your hour of confusion and murkiness. When you are feeling low, one of the most valuable things you can do is to recall those kindnesses, and to light your own heart like a candle, illuminating the way for someone else in pain for a while. Doing this may not end your own pain, but it can supply you with a different emotion for a while, and even that is enough. 

You can succumb to the glaring stressors and hide from the world, or you can soften into the glow of your own inner fire, warming yourself and others, even when times are tough. The choice is yours. Try it. You are allowed to emerge from the dark night of the year, and from the dark nights of the soul, feeling grateful for what you have and who you are, generous, pleased to participate in the joy of others, and aglow with the happiness that even a single moment of compassion can generate.

This winter solstice, and every season, you are the light. Don't forget.