Wiser women than me state that around 3.59pm today (UK time) is a good time to focus on the Solstice.
To let go of the difficult stuff from this year, taking note of what we’ve learned from it, & appreciate our resilience. Then to focus our intention & attention on the coming year ahead. What matters most for us, the people & endeavours that are worth our precious time & energy.
Change & impermanence are the only certainty; something most of us truly understand as we age. But throw in a global pandemic and even toddlers are fully aware that everything can and will change in a heartbeat.
The world weary 3 yr old daughter of a friend of mine now suggests or blames ‘the Rona virus’ as a potential reason why she can’t have or do whatever she pleases. Why can’t I have chips for breakfast or a unicorn for Christmas? With a theatrical sigh, ‘Oh, is it the Rona again? It’s not fair!’
It’s something that has hurled a spanner into the works of many of our plans & assumptions over the last 2 years. From work, school, family gatherings, holidays and more, so is it foolish or naive to even think about how we want the next year to be?
I’m world weary enough, like the 3 year old, to know that it’s not as simple as wishing or imagining something we want, and in some magical way, it will appear or manifest. Otherwise Jason Momoa, aka Aquaman would be helping with the washing up as I type this.
But aside from all the stuff in the universe we can’t change, and have no influence over… there is the small matter of ourselves. We do have some sway here.
So we begin here. In whatever small way we can. In some December Mindfulness sessions we looked at the idea of ‘Worth’, the title of the Michael Keaton film about how insurance companies assessed the worth of a life of those lost in 9/11.
But more broadly, considering what you consider ‘worthwhile’ for your time, and what really matters to you. How we spend our days is how we spend our lives, as the saying goes. In 2021, when you look back at the year, as we tend to do in December, what was really worthwhile for you?
Maybe it was the tiny things, keeping a potted plant alive, reading more books, getting to know neighbours or distant family better, baking your first loaf of bread, or growing your first tomatoes.
Or the sustained efforts, like daily 10,000 steps, whatever the weather, volunteering for a local community group, or learning a new language online, even though travel abroad was tricky this year?
Or the bigger things like navigating a divorce, a job loss, serious illness or the death of a loved one. The things that forever alter the fabric of our day to day existence and may have found you sobbing on the bathroom floor at 4 am, wondering how to go on.
Sometimes the notion of getting through the next 24 hrs is overwhelming, so just figuring out how to get through the next hour or minute can be enough. When things are this tough it might seem too much to contemplate what matters to you for a whole year.
But sitting for a few moments, with a cup of tea, reflecting on what your values are, what really matters when things get this challenging can give you an anchor. Or a vague sense of where North is on your own personal compass.
Love & kindness are pretty central to mine. No matter how many bad things happen, and these last years have seen the loss of work & money, the ill health & depression of loved ones and the death of a beloved friend. Love & kindness remain my home base. Almost an act of rebellion!
These things that nearly break us can also break us open with a tender vulnerability that helps us connect with others who are struggling.
I’m nowhere near perfect, like most of us, just a foolish imperfect being who is trying my best. With a lens of love or kindness, I can see what everyone else is trying to do, and know that we’re all just stumbling along, hopefully walking each other home, as they say. With cake and tea-breaks sometimes.
So whilst we can’t yet know the details of 2022, we can start from the tiny centre of ourselves and where we’re going to focus our time and energies. What really matters to us, and to let go of the other stuff as much as possible.
Solstice seems like a good chance to sketch out this line in the sand, and remember the gradual return of the light bringing a little hope even on the darkest days.
Who knows, although we might not get a unicorn for Christmas… we can choose to have chips for Breakfast. Solstice chips… maybe with a fried egg to symbolise the golden sun & the gradual return of the light!