For most people, this is one of the most festive times of the year. And, for most of my life, the same has been true for me.
I generally love the holiday season, and last year I had one of the best Christmases of my life, as Jodi and I made our first trip to the beach in our new hometown.
But this year, if I’m being honest, I’m not really feeling the holiday spirit. Between the election, recent world events, and the general tone of public discourse, I’ve often found my recent moods swinging between blah and yuck.
Fortunately, though, I know that I can always turn to nature for wisdom, guidance, and inspiration. And that’s exactly what I’m doing right now on the solstice, the darkest day of the year.
From nature, I draw hope. I find a reason to believe that brighter days are ahead.
If I didn’t know how nature worked, this could be a very depressing time. The days have been getting shorter and shorter. The nights have been getting longer and longer. The world has been getting colder and colder.
It feels like ages since I’ve seen a blooming flower. Or a sunny sky after the workday. Or the beach!
Yes, if I didn’t know how nature worked, this could be a very depressing time indeed.
But I do know how nature works.
I know that the short, cold days won’t last forever. I know that the solstice, the shortest day of the year, is also the turning point. I know that, from this point on, days will get longer and brighter. I know that winter may be just beginning; but, at some point, spring will return.
Things move in cycles. To everything there is a season. This one just happens to be particularly bleak, even by winter’s standards.
But I also know that I don’t want to hold my breath for the next three months (or four years). I don’t want to put my life or my happiness on hold. I don’t want my heart and my soul to hibernate until the world thaws out.
And I know that you don’t want this for yourself either.
So, what do you do when the world around you grows darker, colder, less welcoming? You hold the light within you. You nourish the warmth within your soul. You keep that welcoming space within your heart. You fill your own life with as much light as you can. And you nurture this inner light until the external light returns, strengthens, grows, and once again reflects your inner reality.
And even when you can’t see this reality around you, you maintain faith that it will return — just as it does in nature.
For thousands of years, holidays, festivals, and rituals at this time of year have reminded us of this eternal truth. If you have any special traditions, enjoy them and allow them to help you remember the goodness that awaits us, the goodness that still exists in this moment (even if we can’t always see it). Because sometimes we need reminding. Sometimes we need to nourish that part of us that knows what our senses can’t perceive in this moment.
And that is the part that I want to feed.
Even if you are just entering the dark tunnel and can’t see the light at the other end, just knowing that it’s there can offer some comfort.
So, yes, things may look bleak at the moment, but brighter days are coming. The pendulum will swing back toward compassion, tolerance, and respect — to a place where all cultures and orientations are embraced, where intelligence is valued, where hope is stronger than fear. A place of goodness and love.
In the meantime, keep the faith.
Hold the light.