This time of year is a time we so often, instinctively, turn inward and allow for introspection and rest in order to plant new seeds, allow them to take root for the springtime, and shed things we are ready to let go. We do this by settling down, embracing the darkness of the day, and resting. We eat seasonal foods and drink warm beverages. We curl up by the fire with a loved one or an extraordinary book. We allow the world to fall away as we fall into ourselves. We reflect on the year and all the things we've done and the things we didn't get to do. We regroup. We make a new plan for the new year. We give ourselves that deep healing rest.
With the Winter Solstice comes the darkness: an aspect that means gloom and doom for some and freedom for others. At times we must travel a great distance in the dark. And sometimes, we must do it alone. It's at these times, when, if we remember our own light, we can make the journey less scary and a little more dim. We can pull ourselves out. When we recognize our own light, we regain our strength to continue the journey without wanting to give up.
And when I say we must go there alone, I mean the inward journey. We each have a journey and no two are alike. It's the journey with all the twists, turns, plenty of bumps, and no handy road map. Recognizing our inner light is recognizing that these are the times when we must turn to our practice with steadfast determination. The practices that lead us back to ourselves. It is our practice that holds the answers. Our practice is the road map. We often feel so lost, but the instructions are with us at all times. We just have to remember them, and we have to remember to use them.
"Your right is to the work alone, but never to its fruits." ~Bhagavad Gita
So I encourage you, as we move into this momentous Winter Solstice – unlike anything we've experienced within our lifetime, to allow for rest, make time for your practice, get on your mat, and dust off your cushion. You will be grateful that you did.