I go into a kind of hibernation mode in December. While the outside world is bustling about with frenetic holiday activities, I stay home and reflect on the year gone by and start dreaming of the year to come. That’s gotten easier to do as time goes on, but it can still be hard to say ‘no’ to the inevitable holiday events. Hibernating means you are always swimming against the current, and it is a strong current. It takes a lot of energy to insist on resting.
So why swim against the current? I think the burnout levels we are seeing all around us speak to the fact that our cultural current is not actually serving us as humans. Nothing in the natural world is blooming all year long, and we forget that we were once a part of the natural world. Personally, the more I get realigned with natural rhythms, the better I feel.
Nature has become my place of refuge and is my greatest tool for regulation. So perhaps it comes as no surprise that I celebrate the 8 Points in the Wheel of the Year—the Solstices and Equinoxes and the four dates that fall between them. It is a way of staying connected to the rhythms and seasons of our planet and getting grounded and centered in the core of my being.
The Winter Solstice is the one that lands during the holiday season, and it is a time of quiet reflection and solitude. Sleeping more and drinking hot tea and reading long books by the fire. Of embracing the quiet darkness in the days leading up to it, and celebrating the return of the light once the solstice is reached. A time of recharging.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I have a lot to learn from the dark time of the year. I generally have a very difficult time finding the “off” button in my body. Unwinding. Shifting gears. Getting a good night’s sleep. These are all things I have had to work at. They should come naturally, yes, but again we come back to that cultural current.
KEEP GOING….DON’T EVER STOP!!!! It tells us. And so it takes time and practice to dismantle that invisible script we are all so familiar with.
You could say that I go against the current in order to stay regulated. For my long-term health and well being. You could say it is a meditation in rhythmic cycles. An insistence on directing focus beyond the mayhem of the present moment. A reminder that life begins in darkness, and that sometimes you have to let everything get really still before you can really see anything clearly.
So I keep reminding myself: Stop. Close your eyes. Breathe. Listen. Defy the current! If only for a moment. The script may unravel, but there is something stronger beneath it. Reach for it, and let the darkness bring you to life. The light is on its way. It always comes back.