Today is the day in the northern hemisphere that we experience the most hours of darkness in a day - Midwinter, or the Winter Solstice. Tomorrow, the longer hours of light slowly return. For now, though, the lengthy nights and colder temperatures force most of us to spend more time indoors. We may seek out light and warmth around a fire, bask in the company of friends and family, or spend more time watching our favorite sports teams on television.
My Solstice will be a bit different this year. I've decided to spend today in quiet contemplation, hoping to come to terms with some difficult, recent events in my life. Instead of drowning in a pool of pity and sorrow, I'm opening myself up to seeing and understanding the lessons I so obviously need to learn.
This idea came to me as I awoke this morning. I knew I needed to take time to reconnect with Spirit today, and as a side benefit, I might just receive some insights that will help me move forward in a positive way. This decision was later cemented by a friend sharing the blog of Fr. Richard Rohr this morning. Fr. Richard writes about the value of silence in a beautiful way. My personal favorite line comes toward the end of his blog:
Silence is at the very foundation of all reality. It is that out of which all being comes and to which all things return.
So today I will spend time in silence, looking for insights, yes, but also simply allowing my mind and heart to reconnect to Spirit.
I do have questions for which I would like guidance, though:
- What are the lessons for me in this recent event?
- What part did I play in it, and what part did the other person play?
- Why is this area of my life a challenge for me right now, and what can I do to change its dynamics?
- What changes do I need to make going forward so that I can bring love and light into this area of my life?
- Is there anything else that I need to understand?
I'll be thinking about these questions today and asking Spirit for answers. The insights may take some time to come into my consciousness. That's OK. I just know that today is the day that I begin the process of questioning and opening myself up to answers. It's also the day to realign my heart with my Source.
How will I question and then listen for answers? This may change, but my intuition is guiding me to:
- Ask for clarity, out loud, and be willing to hear the answer. I find that when I ask for clarity out loud to Spirit, I usually get answers within days. The clarity may come as a sudden "A-Ha!" moment of knowing, or it may come in the form of events which reveal the answer. My job is to remain open to that insight so that when it comes, I recognize, learn from it, and internalize the lesson.
- Spend time in quiet - no talking, no music, no TV, no cell phone, no internet. I find that spending some quiet time alone often accelerates my process of understanding. I don't necessarily quiet my mind, though. Allowing thoughts to rattle at random often brings up insights that I would otherwise miss in the cacophony of daily life.
- Take a gratitude walk in Nature. I discuss this in my upcoming book, but here's a sneak-peek: a quiet walk in Nature, spending time feeling grateful for whatever you see, hear, or feel can be a catalyst for opening up both the mind and heart to new levels of compassion, empathy, and understanding. Walk quietly, look around, feel grateful for the water and air that gives us all life, for the birds singing from the treetops, for the clouds bringing snow to the mountains, or for the peace and calm that comes from a frozen pond.
- Journal the questions, feelings, and issues in the "problem." I'm not normally one to journal on a daily basis, but during troubling times I find that it can help break loose an insight that I sorely need. At the very least, journaling allows me to get out my feelings on paper which helps me to release them and move on from the event. I usually journal on loose sheets of paper, letting all of my feelings and thoughts flow with the pen. I might keep these writings around for a day or two, but then I either burn them or shred them as a symbol that it's time for me to move on with my life.
- Watch for answers. The days and weeks to come is my time for quiet openness. I quietly wait for answers or insights. I may get an "A-Ha" moment as the result of something a friend says, or a new and important piece of information may come my way. This is my time to practice patience, openness, and compassion for myself.
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