Reliable Rhythms – Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwaanza
It’s time to get quiet. In fact, it’s the season of quiet here in the Northern Hemisphere. Check outdoors. Even if you’re farther south, there’s been a change. The grass has gone brown, the deciduous trees have dropped their leaves, the water levels in streams have fallen. It’s cooler. Many places, it’s cold. The natural world is at rest.
Nothing stops this rhythm.
And yet increasingly, cycles of rest and renewal like these are shrouded by the effects of our persistence with extracting and producing, with consuming and discarding. Practices that are overloading the systems that keep us alive. Air, land and water systems. Weather systems. Such profound changes and such profound unpredictability leave us not just uneasy, but confused, depressed, anxious, angry.
Yet we need to keep showing up, taking one step and then another, even now, when too little around us makes sense. Can we do it?
We might start by turning our attention to what is working.
For one thing, you can count on gravity to keep your feet on the ground. What’s more, consider that your body is finding the oxygen and water and nutrients it needs to allow you this one good chance to live this particular day in this particular year.
Instead of having your focus stuck only on what’s wrong, let your attention run wild to see all that’s working right now.
The shortest day of the year – what we know here as the winter solstice – will arrive on December 21st at 8:59 in the morning, Mountain Time. Before that moment it will be autumn. After that moment, it will be winter. Before that moment, daylight will be diminishing. After that moment, daylight will begin again to increase. You can count on it.
Christmas Day will come for those who celebrate it, with many Christians honoring, in ways old and new, the peace and love that day calls forward. Others will honor the return of light, pairing the feeling – even the magic – of that rhythm with demonstrations of hope and kindness. Already Hannukah has begun and closed, offering 9 days of celebration. Kwaanza will begin December 26 and end January 1. Against all the uncertainty of these times, rest in the fact that these celebrations are reliable, as are the feelings of peace and joy that so many find in them. Rest in them. Enjoy them as you choose.
And keep up that new way of recognizing – daily, hourly – what’s going right. Make it a habit. Such acknowledgement will sustain you, holding for you the profound energy of gratitude – energy that can carry you through these tumultuous times.
Blessed and peaceful holiday time to you.
Even amidst the upheaval and confusion,
blessings and peace are here.
Check for yourself.
Breathe deeply in.
Relax your face.
Feel the soft trace of a smile there.