It’s the solstice today. Most people (me included) are in the full run down to Christmas now.
Today is the shortest year (and the reason Christmas happens at this point in the Calendar).
I wish we celebrated the festival on this day, but the collective is too strong for me to argue with (and I do love the one day of the year when everything stops and everyone is doing more or less the same thing.)
It drives me crazy that this time of year has become so fraught. Years ago this was a sleepy time, too cold to work in the fields, not much to do but be by the fire and play games and sing.
(Ok and eat!)
I’m resisting the urge to give you a list of “how-to’s” because everyone is juggling even more than usual just before Christmas. You’re intelligent enough to come up with your own check list of intentions and priorities.
Instead, here’s what I love the midwinter sun-return festival for:
This is the time when all the outer action is supposed to stop. It’s the rest at the end of the wave, before the new energy builds. This isn’t a time where “nothing happens” though. Instead the adrenals are refuelling, and something similar is happening on psychic/energetic level. This time has a latency of it’s own.
Working within, in the unseen and beyond words:
The work of the plants is all underground, now, and psychically it’s good to remember that that’s probably what’s going on too. The industrial culture asks us to be productive and “fruiting” all year round – but that’s not the way things work up here in the seasonal north!
“Productivity” often relies on the work of the conscious mind, and this time is about resting in a depth that we can’t reach simply by “thinking things through”. Its a great time to touch on the mystery of things, and letting the dots join themselves, by letting them do their own thing.
All the action, processing, transformation and challenge of the year is now complete. This is the time when you take all of that inside and “make sense” of what’s been going on. This might not happen consciously, or in a way you can explain with words.
The more space and stillness you have at this time of year, the richer this process will be. In Chinese medicine the Spleen (which digests the food) is closely linked to the Kidneys (which give us energy). Digestion, physical and psychic, is an essential part of refuelling.
Nothing is really learned until it’s “in the muscle” and this is what integration is: the “nutrients” which have been digested are “integrated” into the muscle of your being. This is why slowing down and stopping at the midwinter is so powerful – it allows the goodness of the past year to fill you up, and makes you strong for the coming year.
And (introvert alert!!) I do love the darkness and the quiet. Less outer stimulation means you can go inward and be with what’s on the inside more.
That’s the idea, anyway. The reality of modern Christmas = 100 more demands on your time and attention on top of the usual, at least in the run down.
So, I’d love to hear any little ways you’re staying with yourself this Christmas – I think we all need a reminder to stay on track with what feels most powerful, when there are so many distractions.