Today is the Winter Solstice; the day with the longest night and the shortest daylight.
This darkest day calls us inward; it is a time to embrace the darkness, find stillness, release what no longer serves us, grieve our losses, and sink into the emptiness that remains. This is the start of the kiva time, a time to go within. It is a time for rest, reflection, release, and repose. A time to recharge and renew ourselves so that we can emerge in the new season.
In a culture that values the pursuit of light and happiness, that rewards overwork and production, and that seeks to fill its empty spaces, it takes courage to step into the darkness, cease action, and sink into the emptiness.
To take a stand for stillness while everyone is running around and rushing to get it all done before the holidays is a bold move.
This is not the time for “getting things done.” It is a time for being, releasing, and dreaming.
Enveloped by a cocoon of darkness, we see that the light we are seeking resides within us.
Within the sounds of silence, we hear the still, small voice of our inner wisdom guiding us to our path.
As we release that which no longer serves us, we free space for new ideas to germinate.
We find ourselves in the emptiness; living in the mystery. In this place, there is space to dream and seed. This the the womb — the place in which all creation begins.
The universe itself was created from the void of the empty space.
Rituals for Winter Solstice
Here are 3 rituals that you can do to celebrate the Winter Solstice. You can do these either on the solstice itself or anytime in the coming few weeks.
(1) Reflect, Release and Let Go
The winter solstice is the perfect time to release the “darkness” from your life. The failures, disappointments, and unmet goals. Relationships, structures, or ways of being that no longer serve you. This is the time to release and grieve them.
On scraps of paper, write down everything that you would like to release or let go of before the end of this year.
- What ways of being no longer serve you?
- What emotional states are you done with?
- What relationships need closure?
- What outstanding wounds or slights are you still hanging on to that you can release?
Throw them into a fire to symbolically release them. Allow the flames to transform the darkness into light.
(2) Forgiveness Practice
Forgiveness practice is a crucial ritual in the category of letting go.
Where are you hanging on to anger or resentment? Who do you need to forgive before going into the new year?
It’s often said that holding on to anger at someone else is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. It doesn’t work. Instead, try forgiveness.
Forgiveness is merely a release of the toxic emotion that is clogging your system. No matter what the other person did to wrong you, holding on to anger is not serving you.
Let it go.
(3) Rest and Restore
These long night invite us to spend extra time resting and restoring. Read a book. Sit in quiet reflection. Take a Yin yoga or restorative yoga class, or do a home practice.
One of my new favorite ways to restore is through the practice of Yoga Nidra, a form of conscious sleep. I’ve found an increasing number of classes that combine yin and yoga Nidra. If you can’t find one near you, you can find guided Yoga Nidra practices on YouTube.
What about your work? Your obligations? What about finishing the year strong?
This is how you finish the year strong. Honor the seasons. Work with the energy of mother nature and she will support you.