In the Northern Hemisphere, December 21st marks the shortest day of our year, one of those significant turning points in the astrological calendar. It was traditionally honored as the death and rebirth of the sun – the life-giving force of warmth and light.
A time for deep reflection
The Solstice is a valuable time for some deep inner work. As the creator of the Phoenix Rising Method, I believe that at any given time, just like the mythical Phoenix, we are all letting go of our past and reborn into something new. Rebirth and renewal are simply part of the cycle of life. And here's the exciting part. We can either acknowledge that reality or fight against it. We can also deny it, but that isn't easy when it's happening all around us all of the time.
So why not go with the flow? Take some time to slow down, focus on what is "dying" in your life (what you are letting go of), and create the space for a new beginning to emerge from the womb of your consciousness. (what is being born)
The old before the new
Our modern-day mindset has little difficulty propelling us toward what is new. But it does have trouble slowing down to give time to the passing of the old. And that is an essential and integral part of the process and where it's best to put your focus first. For sure, the two cannot be separated neatly. Don't rush into the future without regard for what needs to be released to open the way.
Three Themes of Winter
Slowing down is important but it isn't easy. This difficulty in slowing down is most likely one of the factors giving rise to the wintertime malaise known as SAD – (Seasonal Affective Disorder). The shorter days and longer nights impact our bodies and create chemical changes in our brains. This natural event is meant to slow us down, and it becomes a problem when we attempt to override this naturally occurring process. Our modern lifestyle is not set up to slow down or speed up with the seasons, and most of us are in go-fast or even faster mode for most of the year.
Interestingly, SAD mainly affects the 18 to 35-year-old age group and manifests in symptoms of depression, mood swings, and overall feelings of malaise. Medication and light therapy are often prescribed, but there are other, more natural ways of getting through the winter, including building some slow-down time in our schedules. Simply taking steps to overpower the wisdom of our bodies and find ways to override what is naturally occurring does not make long-term sense if we want to live a life more in harmony with body, mind, and spirit.
We love to be outdoors and active in the summer months and sometimes hold on to the belief that we need to be inactive in the winter. If we choose, we can embrace the winter too and not curtail all outdoor activity. The outdoors can be an excellent backdrop for some of our inner work. Nature is a great teacher with abundant life cycle phenomena if we take a little time to notice.
A time to dream
New beginnings are always exciting and the slowing down in winter gives us the birthing ground for what is to come in the year ahead. It gives us time to dream and share those dreams before getting too busy planning what is next.
May you savor this time of darkness and emerge into the growing light.
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