“Loving kindness is my gift today, to the people I meet, for all people on our different paths.” - Tony Brady
And so the year has turned and we reach the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the deepest and darkest point, the shortest day and the longest night. I invite you to rest and retreat for a short while, light a fire or a candle, enjoy some calm before the storm of Christmas arrives. The Winter Solstice, Yule or Midwinter is a point of transition. In the Celtic tradition fires are lit, where our old selves can be laid down so that we can arise anew like a phoenix from the ashes. From this point, the sun starts its return and glimmers of hope appear in the dark of winter: the red berries of holly, the lights on Christmas trees.
No matter what our religion, or none, there is a thread of spirituality that runs through each of us, at some level, as humans. It is a beautiful thing to recognise that no matter our colour, our creed, our views or opinions... we all have the same fundamental needs and wants for our lives: to be safe, happy, healthy and to look after our families. There truly is more that brings us together than separates us. This is the season for setting aside differences, a time of coming together.
Why not take a walk, perhaps in your lunch break - the midway mark of this short period between sun up and down - venture out and grasp the beauty of a winter’s day. Reflect on the year until now and seek the true meaning of this time of year for you. Winter is a season that sparkles with magic and landscapes can be transformed from their ordinary selves. Without the leaves on the trees, views open up and we can see more clearly and expansively. This time in winter can bring a sense of expectation, of longing and of adventure. As I take a walk outdoors today, I remind myself to stop and savour this precious moment. I want to embrace winter, which I have so often underrated next to the other seasons, with all the gifts and raw wildness that it embodies. The outdoors can bring us perspective and lift our mood, with literally the winds and cold shaking us out of the winter blues. Not only this, but just 30 minutes in the light brings us vital Vitamin D, the lack of which can lead to tiredness and even susceptibility to catching colds. Whilst outdoors I soak up my fair share.
Returning from my own walk, I light the fire, and for a moment bask in its warmth after the chill outdoors. I think of my intentions for today, this season and into the New Year. As I watch the flames dance, I think of my precious family and friends; departed souls and absent friends; of you my dear reader. I send wishes of ‘peace on earth and goodwill to all people’ as well as whispered messages of ‘Loving Kindness’:
May you and I be happy.
May you and I be healthy.
May you and I live with ease.
May you and I be filled with peace, joy and compassion.
With hearty gratitude and season’s greetings, Clare x
“Rejoice in the happiness of others and share in their suffering, all the while feeling the joy at our oneness and connection.” – Sarah Napthali
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