The Darkest Night

The winter solstice, December 21, is the longest night and the shortest day of the year. After that, the days begin to draw out again, the nights get shorter and the world becomes lighter all around.

I often see the parallels between nature and our experience of life. The idea that, in life, we have a spring, when we are developing our self as a person, a summer, when, hopefully, we blossom into luscious fruitfulness, autumn, when we review and enjoy the fruits of our labours, and a winter, when it all goes to sleep and there are endings, hopefully not too stormy.

The idea that there should be a longest, darkest night in the yearly cycle is paralleled by the “dark night of the soul”. This is often seen as a time of despair and questioning that can be full of “What is the point?”, “Why am I here?”, “Will I fail?”, “Will I be abandoned?”

When this happens for people, its effect will vary. It may simply be a question or reviewing and taking stock, for others it is the precursor of huge shifts in behaviour and attitude. It is a re-telling of the story of the people, where one builds their house on sand and the other on rock. When the storm comes, and the Earth shakes, the house that is built on rock will shift and wobble but remain upright. The house that is built on sand, that has no real foundation, will inevitably slip, slide, fall down. Then it will be time to start anew, hopefully on firmer ground.

In terms of our calendar, we have the solstice, followed by Christmas, followed by New Year. For me, New Year is the new beginning leading to a new spring, Christmas represents the lightening of human consciousness and the wonder of hope, while the solstice is the review, and it can sometimes be dark. Sometime, the solstice will represent the success of achievement and at other times, the realisation of mistake and loss.

In my calendar, the solstice is good time to consider where I am up to and make decisions about my experience of the last twelve months, what it is that I want to leave behind and what it is that I choose to take with me into the New Year.

I have just got my 2012 journal, I keep one each year, and it begins with a consideration of what has been, and all that has happened in 2011, and then it begins to focus on what will be in 2012. I am never sure about New Year resolutions, they often feel like a setup where we are bound to fail and have the all danger of giving us a negative self-image. So I opt for a focus on the year ahead.

So that if it was now the solstice for 2012, what would I like to be saying about the year, what would I have liked to have achieved in the past twelve months, how would I like to feel? That gives me a flavour and an energy for the year and sets my direction. I may not have any idea how I will achieve what I want in 2012, but I am heading in the right direction and I have good potential for success.

What does your solstice review look like?

Take care,

Sean x

Photo credit – Dinopopup on Flcikr

By Sean

My name is Sean Orford. I am a therapist based in the UK, working for a variety of public and private organisations. I am also a speaker, writer and published author. I hope you enjoy my weekly blog. If you'd like to know more then please do get in touch.

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