Getting in tune with the darkest time of year

The solstice is approaching and I can feel it my body and spirit.  On the external front, it was dark when I got out of bed this morning, and heading that way again as I drove home at 4:30pm.  On the internal side of things, I have been craving more time alone at home than I usually do.  I want to build a fire and read a book, or start an art project.  Or simply sit.  Which is not ideal at this time of year, when the social obligations seem to pile up and everywhere I go I run into someone I know and want to connect with.  How odd that our culture has placed a very social and busy series of holiday celebrations right around the time when nature encourages us to turn inward, rest, and receive!  Balancing this paradox poses a formidable challenge for those of us trying to live in some kind of seasonal harmony.

Case in point…I shared this somewhat painful anecdote (confession?) with folks in Saturday class this morning, but in case you weren’t there, I suppose I can tell it again.  It was my solstice wake-up call.  Yesterday I had one of those “sort-of” days off – nothing set in stone on the schedule but a list of tasks that could stand to get done.  Having gone without a full day off in a couple of weeks, I could have taken this opportunity to be in my house, read, think, write, cook.  Instead I woke up, skipped my practice, and decided to tackle a house project – changing a light fixture that had been in place for 6 years.  Mind you, I’m not exactly a do-it-yourself pro. Within 30 minutes there were tears.  The screws that came with the fixture were too short to allow the fixture to clear the junction box.  Not an insurmountable problem at all; it would just require undoing what I had done, finding some longer screws, and redoing the steps with the longer screws in place.  But instead of breathing and accepting that, I got really frustrated and started crying angry tears (not pretty, and definitely NOT in the flow of grace!).  I wasn’t the least bit interested in the process of what I was doing or how this fixture worked, I was only invested in the result.  I wanted it to be done so I could check it off the list, end of story.  Why?  Because I didn’t really want or need to be doing that project at that moment.  It was a couple days before the darkest time of the year.  I was tired and depleted and my Right.

Our mind/body/spirit (it’s all connected after all, right?) is SO wise.  We know when it’s time to turn out, and when it’s time to turn in.  To everything there is a season, and if we listen to our own rhythms, we’ll be told what that season is.  Sometimes in order to do that listening though, we need to tune out some other voices – the ones in the media, or our well-intentioned friends and neighbors entreating us to do just one more thing.  Or, as in my case, even our own to-do list brains.

We did a slow, deep practice of connection through forward bends and hip openers in class this morning.  And I am sitting in front of a fire at home right now.  At least, eventually, I DO learn…

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~ by bridgetannlyons on December 18, 2010.

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