Winter Solstice Introspection.

  Today is the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Reykjavík gets four hours and sevenminutes of sunlight; Fairbanks only three hours and forty-one.  I don’t know much about the celebrations that mark the day: Alban Arthan in Wales, Brumalia in Ancient Rome, Dongzhi Festival in parts of Asia, Korochun in some Slavic countries and Sanghamitta Day for Theravada Buddhists. The point I take away is that since the neopagans observed Yule, human beings have celebrated when our days go from getting darker to getting lighter. Maybe it’s my Scandinavian genes, but I like this time of year because it lends itself to introspection. When it’s cold and dark outside, I like to be inside–both physically and emotionally. It’s a good time to take stock: think about those parts of my life that are serving me and also look at those habits and behaviors that could use a little tweaking (or, maybe, habits that I want to chuck altogether). When it’s warm and sunny, it’s much easier to shrug off making changes that would make me more mindful, kinder, and healthier. Somehow, with chill in my bones and my hands wrapped around a warm cup of tea in front of the fire, I’m better able to observe my own life.  The promise that tomorrow will be just a little brighter than today–even if it is only one more minute of sunlight–helps in those efforts. I completely understand the people who don’t like the idea of setting personal goals. Me? I’m an unabashed self-improvement junky. So far, my efforts haven’t led me to enlightenment, but I do keep trying. If there are any of you who also belong to my tribe, I’m wishing you all the insight that comes with the darkness and all the hope that comes with the light. On the practical front, here’s a link from an NYT article on how to make meaningful change with the greatest chance for success:  Writing goals? Personal goals? Health goals? If you are so moved, please share your thoughts here or on our Facebook page…along with any tricks you’ve picked up along the way. 

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