22 Dec

A Very Long Night

From summer solstice to winter solstice…

I don’t know about you, but the past season (or two) has felt so very busy, and the months have passed by in a single breath. I woke up the other day, knowing it was time to collect my thoughts and write something about this time of year. It was a combination of exhaustion, and anxiety, and just general grouchiness over not being able to get it all done (whatever that means) – I knew I couldn’t be the only one feeling frustrated.

And then I decided I would rather just roll over and take a nap.

There was a thunderstorm

Sound familiar?

Let’s put this in perspective. The winter solstice is a time of darkness – the longest night of the year, in fact. In contrast to the summer’s sun energy – bright, warm, full of youth and vitality and outward projection – the winter season puts us in touch with the moon’s feminine essence. Winter is dark and introspective, a time for stillness and inner looking.

It is also a time to nurture, to take care of ourselves in the cold, hard climate, as we prepare ourselves for the coming spring (I write from my kitchen in Northern California – I’m happy to acknowledge some winters are colder and harder than others). This can be hard to remember during the holiday season of our modern culture, though. While many of us value caring for our loved ones and tending our traditions especially this time of year, it’s easy to let the hustle-bustle of shopping and cooking and cleaning and traveling and partying and, and, and… get the better of us, and keep us from the nurturing we so need.

I’m writing this post later than I had intended. I wanted to get these words out a few days ahead of the solstice, on a weekday when more readers might be interested. Putting it off for a while in favor of napping and snuggling with my dog was part of my self care, and I’m reminding myself that it’s not the exact moment of solstice that’s really important.

And that’s part of my message to you. During this dark and still season, if you find yourself feeling worn out or sad or angry, take a moment to listen to what your body and your inner guidance are telling you. Allow yourself to feel what comes up, and recognize that we’re all turning through another cycle. Winter is hard. Brighter days are coming.


Looking for a meditation to carry you through this dark season? Try this mantra for sacred healing (several versions of this mantra are available on iTunes or Spirit Voyage; I’m a fan of the one by Snatam Kaur).