Check In With Yourself This Solstice
Stand still before launching into life's next season.
The Solstice is worth having on your radar while navigating life on Earth. What is this opportunity and why does it matter? It’s a gateway, a checkpoint and a chance to tune into the celestial cycles. Instead of living based solely on the calendar, be like the ancients and acknowledge this cycle. There’s not so much to do. When it comes to the Solstice, it’s about being. Since our minds like to know the facts, let’s explore the Solstice’s significance, history and meaning. Then we can soak up all the good vibes and relax.
The Solstice: What is it?
From a literal astronomical perspective, the Solstice is when the Earth’s axis is either titled closest to the Sun (summer solstice) or furthest from it (winter solstice). It’s a time of either experiencing the most or the least light. We’re talking longest or shorter days of the years here. As the Earth tilts closest or furthers from the Sun, it inevitably starts the journey moving in the opposite direction. It’s a turning point because the days get shorter or longer from this moment.
Isn’t that the best (or most annoying) thing about life? It’s cyclical. With an ending comes a beginning. With a high comes a low. When the end of one season starts another. But if we don’t realize we are at the climax, we might miss out on the journey.
Imagine being on a roller coaster with no context of when the drop will happen or how long you will be climbing. The Solstice is like the tippy tip of the ride; when we know this, it’s easier to throw up our arms and enjoy the descent. Rather than feeling like the Earth is falling out from under us.
Fear not because this is a time of good vibes; it’s the start of summer for those in the northern hemisphere. Nothing brings a smile to our faces or health to our bodies like some good old vitamin D. When we know it’s a new season, we can pack up the jackets and pull out the sun hats. We can be players in Earth’s cycles rather than victims of circumstance.
It sounds weird to think that dressing according to the seasons is something new or even worth talking about because our world can be so shallow that we take it for granted. But what if living in tune with the Earth and its title is what it’s all about?
The Solstice & The Ancients
Do you think it’s a coincidence the Mayans built their pyramids to align with these cycles? These ancient structures were created based on cosmic alignments, and in a sense, they are calendars. For example, Chichén Itzá is divided into light and dark by a shadow on the solstices.
On the other side of the world, Stonehenge aligns with the rising Sun on the morning of the Solstice. The Sun interacts with these ancient ruins, but what if they reflect the Sun moving through us? Even if it’s small, doing something to celebrate the Solstice takes us one step closer to our cosmic stardust selves. It creates some distance between the Gregorian calendar which minimizes (and even shackles) us to a limited exclusively physical experience of reality.
The Solstice & Standing Still
The Solstice (combining the Latin words sol for “Sun” and sistere for “To Stand Still”) is the point where the Sun appears to reach either its highest or lowest point in the sky for the year and thus ancient astronomers came to know the day as one where the Sun appeared to stand still. -Doug Ray, The Franklin Institute
The Solstice is a moment in time, a pivot or a checkpoint. If we are extensions of the Universe and made of stardust, then we are the Sun. Could the Sun’s pause mirror an opportunity for us to check in and bask in the light of ourselves? I have been lucky to experience the Yucatan’s magic; I recently got to swim in a cenote. These underwater pools are striking and mystical.
Cenotes are natural deep-water wells (sinkholes), which are fed by the filtration of rain and by the currents of underground rivers that are born in the heart of the Earth. -xenotes.com
It was beyond anything I could have imagined. I walked down a staircase that brought us into the Earth, a cave-like space with a crystal clear pool of water. Up above, there was a hole peaking out to the surface of the Earth. The Sun’s rays beamed down into the water in a way that clearly defined the relationship between dark and light. I jumped in and headed straight to the light. I floated there, allowing my face to be in the Sun and my eyes blinded by its rays. I paused and felt like there was nowhere else I wanted to be. That’s a big deal for an ambitious, goal-driven person like myself.
The light poured over my face and overpowered my vision. All I could feel was the warmth of the Sun, permeating down into this deep place within the Earth. When I was ready to move over, I turned my head, and the cenote was intensely dark as my eyes adjusted. The experience feels like an excellent analogy for the solstice times.
We can bask in the extreme light and feel the contrast of the dark. In these pauses, we not only have space to just be, but we also get a context of where we are. We can move through this checkpoint with awareness when we see the whole story and allow ourselves to take in a full spectrum of experiences. It’s not a time to rush around and force our way through life. Instead, this Solstice is an open gate waiting for us to pass through. It’s not about judging either side of the fence. It’s asking us to acknowledge the gate which connects both polarities. Maybe we are ready, or perhaps we want to wait on one side of the fence. The symbol isn’t so much about the action. It’s the fact that the gate is open to us, the light is shining, and the darkness is still here, too.
We are light, and we are dark. We are good and evil. The solstice time is a moment to stand in the middle, taking all sides to the story, especially the narrative unfolding within ourselves. We don’t have to stay there. It’s simply a pause. From this place, we can gather our wisdom and perspectives. Then make decisions that launch us into the next season of our lives, individually and collectively.
“Don’t go in and hide; don’t come out and shine; stand stock-still in the middle.”
― Zhuangzi, The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu