I have spent half my life, now, in northern climes that turn dark near 4 p.m. on Winter Solstice. And it's taken that amount of time for my inner maven of spritely wisdom to recognize that the darkness I had come to dread melts away when I permit myself to rest and recluse.
How does a lover of the light come to embrace the darkness of winter? Here are a few options:
1) Overstock up on tea lights
I have this hilariously funny dental hygienist who shared with me that he decided he could stop when the number of tea lights in the cupboard reached 400. It's not too far from my truth. I work best in the winter when the house lights are turned down to candle and twinkle after dinner. It's ancestral, circadian. Bring on the shadows.
I don't care if it's about a Dreidel, Santa's sleigh, how you're going to rock around that Christmas Tree, or the little light of yours that's going to shine. Why not sing? Unless you have a pre-teen in the house who insists you STOP SINGING, MOM. Yes, this is when you add dancing to the song.Move that body, create vibration in the vocal cords, in those dancing thighs, in the laughter you share with those in your home when you sing beautifully or with silliness to the songs that serenade and bombard us this time of year. No need to go OUT and dance. Just stay in. And sing. Or join your community. And sing. And dance. Even if it's not your thing. Do it when no one's around. It feels good.
3) Love your couch
Lie down. Especially if you're a shaker and a mover. Fall asleep on the couch at an ungodly early hour by summer's standards. Stumble up to bed by the light of the twinkle lights you've previously hung around the house. Wear flannel pajamas and snuggle under your incredibly over-sized down comforter. Plan to wake up at the same time each day so your rhythm finds an ease over these dark winter months. But permit yourself to sleep in when given the opportunity. And have a warm beverage, in bed, the next morning. Winter Morning Chai recipe.
It's not really encouraged in our culture of consumerism. Perhaps if we reflected more often, we'd realize we have everything we could ever really need.
Everyone's asking, "Do you have all of your Holiday shopping done?" I advocate for that question to evolve to: "Do you have your Dark Night of the Solstice time for Reflection set aside?" It can be a shared conversation with a friend or a journal, by candlelight or in the bathtub or hot tub. A question prompted to one's family: "What are you grateful for this year? What was challenging this year? How have you grown this year? What are your dreams as you enter the dark night of Solstice this year? How do we encourage one another to reflect? To stop and reflect. It's okay to prepare less, buy less, bake less cookies and attend less parties in order to make space to stop and reflect. Those who love you will understand and support you! Light a candle. Breathe deeply. Connect with your one beating heart. And when you reflect or bear witness to another's reflection, listen.