“After the longest night, tomorrow we sing up the dawn. There is a rejoicing that, even in the darkest time, the sun is not vanquished. As of tomorrow, the days begin to get longer as the light of day grows. While the gentle winter sun slowly opens its eyes, let us all bring more light and compassion into the world. ” - Dacha Avelin
All things go through cycles. The seasons. The body. Relationships. Fortune. Resolve. Faith. Everything we know goes through periods of relative abundance and relative dearth. This is the nature of reality. The universe is either expanding or contracting. Any perceived stillness is just the transition from one phase into the next. These lulls are called turnarounds and are of the utmost importance to recognize. A failure to do so leaves us to the whims of the environment, the whims of change. The Winter Solstice is one such turnaround. Will you take the time to observe it?
On Tuesday, December 21st, the Northern hemisphere will begin to transition towards spring and summer. Daylight will become more and more plentiful until we we reach the Summer Solstice. I jokingly call this the beginning of the Season of Increasing. The irony is that the coldest days are actually still ahead of us, but somehow the coming change makes these hard times more bearable. The reassurance of the sun's return is the light that propels us forward. There is a strong correlation here with other hard times in our lives.
As is so often the case, things get worse before they get better. Some health concern that you have been ignoring finally becomes too unbearable for you to manage on your own. A relationship deteriorates so much that you are forced to seek counseling. A job turns so toxic that you must act to save the rest of your life. In extreme cases we have ignored the truth for so long that the consequences are greater than intended -- death, divorce, or having to quit -- but most of the time the turnaround comes before catastrophe ensues... if we are ready to receive its lessons.
Similar to how the coldest days are still ahead of us, the hardest days happen just after a major life turnaround. Dominant patterns of behavior, belief, and thought now must be systematically changed in order to reach the other side. And this is no small task. The driving force -- the increasing sunlight, if you will -- in this process is our connection to the desire for a better life. Our resolve each and every day to be better humans. To love and contribute more meaningfully to the world around us.
As holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl said in his landmark book A Man's Search for Meaning, "What is to give light must endure burning.” On this solstice I challenge everyone to look at the dreams and callings in their lives that are worth fighting for. Write them down. Share them with a friend, mentor, or partner. Visit them each and every day. Let the love for living perfuse every cell in your body and burn brightly. Let it guide you as you enact the change that you wish to create.