It’s that time of year of the winter solstice.
The solstice marks the shortest day of the year and the longest night. It's the first day of winter here in the Northern hemisphere.
This video was created and performed by my very dear friends Helene and Dave Van Manen. Dave wrote this song 30 years ago but it’s still relevant today. I hope you sit back, relax, and allow yourself to feel the beauty in nature as you watch this amazing video. You'll probably want to watch it more than once! You can listen to more of their music here.
This time of year often passes by unnoticed as we are usually in a frenzy during the holidays.
Nature, however, can teach us so much now, not only how to navigate the darkness and the cold, but life lessons that we need to learn. Mother Earth tells us to listen and watch all around us as the leaves fall away and the roots settle underneath the ground to nourish themselves.
Trees don't die, they go dormant because there's less light and they're conserving their energy. Trees need this time to endure the harsh winter, the cold, and the lack of light.
We, too, can use this as a time to reflect and slow down. It can be a time to explore where we are in life and where we’re headed. And it can be a time to just be quiet and reset.
Especially now... in these turbulent times.
Wendell Berry, novelist, poet, and environmental activist, asks us at this winter season “what does this earth require of us if we want to continue to live on it"?
With the climate crisis, we must listen to the earth, to ourselves, to figure out how to adapt and be kind to the earth.
As a grandmother, I feel strongly about my grans knowing how nature works. I want them to get their hands in the dirt, to know how to plant and harvest vegetables and treasure beautiful flowers they've grown.
They love to plant bulbs with me in the fall. As we plant, I teach them about how the bulbs need darkness to be able to bloom in the spring.
In the spring, they’re amazed at yellow daffodils and red tulips popping up everywhere. It’s a joy for me to be able to show them not only how to garden and where our food comes from but also how Mother Earth can ground us and keep us in tune with what's important.
I talk to them about how many plants and trees need the time to be in darkness to grow and be nurtured so that they can be what they were meant to be.
If we listen to nature and this season, we see the importance of turning inward. It’s necessary to slow down and allow ourselves to rest and reset so that we can be ready to be creative, adaptable, and mindful about what's important and how we want to show up in the world now.
Long ago, when earlier people worried about the days getting shorter and the sun disappearing, they decided to have celebrations in order to bring back the light.
We can honor this shortest day of the year by having our own celebration.
This year, I'm planning to spend the solstice with my grans and teach them about the importance of celebrating the solstice.
1. When the sun drops down into the longest night of the year and darkness comes turn off the lights. Have candles nearby.
One by one light the candles. Think about what you’re grateful for and say it out loud as you light the candle. Or say what you're letting go of on this longest night. The light will return…in ourselves, in the world, and in this time that's necessary for healing and restoration.
2. Make a Yule altar. Fill the altar with symbols of winter like pinecones, evergreen boughs, and wreaths.
3. Leave seeds outside for the birds.
4. Make a wassail and sip on it while watching the sunset.
5. Go for a walk and hug a tree.
6. Ask yourself what you need right now.
7. Say thank you to Mother Earth.
8. Watch Helene & Dave Van Manen's video (above). Listen to more of their amazing songs here.
Decide how you'll honor yourself on this winter solstice. Ask someone to celebrate with you.
Share this blogpost with a friend or family member. Just copy the link and send it to them and let them know you're thinking of them.
Fall is a time for us to slow down, to ground ourselves and to nourish our bodies. This retreat is designed to help you stop and listen to what it is you need right now. It's a fun and restorative weekend with mindfulness exercises, morning yoga, an online cooking class with the fabulous Chef Bai, healthy recipes to try at home, meditations and group calls to connect you with other women.