Winter Solstice 2020

A few years ago, I wrote:

For over a year, I have been watching sunrises. Waking in the quiet darkness, I move to the living room windows and watch the eastern sky. Most mornings, I do yoga as I keep watch out the window. Other mornings, I simply sit in peace and presence. I miss a few sunrises here and there when sleep is too sweet to interrupt or the nest inside the blankets is too warm to leave. On those days, I miss more than the sunrise. With the dawn, I set an intention to guide my words, actions and thoughts for the day. At this time, whether in yoga or in meditation or both, my body, mind and heart rise to greet the day. My daily intention emerges like the sun, slowly and reliably from behind the veil of night, sometimes a surprise but always a gift.

As the winter solstice approaches this year, I begin writing down my intentions. I think that subconsciously, I am hoping to hold the gifts of the sunrise a bit longer as each day gets shorter. Alas, each morning I still need to learn anew that the beauty of the sunrise doesn’t linger. It is leaving even as it arrives. Impermanence resists holding. Impermanence is inevitable, and there is beauty in that too. *

In this year, 2020, impermanence has become a way of life. It is no longer something I need to wrestle with; impermanence has become readily visible in dozens of mini daily adaptations that are required to accommodate new and emerging realities. We have been continually adapting to new situations and information in response to climate crises, the coronavirus, growing social awareness, and declining confidence in our political, educational, and cultural institutions. Our schools, jobs, homes, and relationships have been dramatically altered. What has been felt as tremors in the microcosm of my life has been earth-shattering for others. The impact of our individual earthquakes has been magnified in the collective. It has been exhausting to be continually in response mode and the rate of change has been overwhelming at times.

So this year, as the winter solstice approaches, instead of leaning into the sunrise, I am settling into the gestational period just before it. I am savoring the stillness and nurturance of the pre-dawn darkness, more fully embracing the attentive waiting that precedes the sunrise. In this pregnant pause, there is something waiting to be born, a new intention preparing to emerge. As I wait here in the darkness, I sense the ever-present flame of life that burns within me. That light rising within me is quietly preparing to meet the light of the rising sun.

As the planet turns toward the sun this solstice, may I nurture my little flame of love and compassion. May I kindle fires of justice and hope. May I be the light in the tunnel. 

*Excerpted from Arriving Here: Reflections from the Hearth and Trail. Available now at your local bookstore or Amazon!