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Winter is here

Winter is here

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by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
December 11, 2019

We are in the heart of winter and quickly approaching the winter solstice, which occurs on Saturday, December 21st.

Our daily lives are affected by the shortened days with fewer and fewer hours of daylight leading up to the solstice. On the day of the solstice, we will experience the shortest day or the longest night of the year.

Here in Central California, we will experience between nine and ten hours of daylight, whereas, on the Summer Solstice, we experience fourteen hours. The dark triumphs over the light on the Winter Solstice. After that, the days get longer again and it’s time to celebrate the return of the sun.

The energy of winter and the time leading up to the Winter Solstice calls us to turn within for reflection and rest. Everything lies dormant, awaiting the return of the light. It’s a great time to contemplate the seeds you planted in the fall, which will begin to sprout up above the ground as the light becomes more prominent again.

Allow yourself to feel your emotions and experience the darkness of winter without fear knowing that the energies of new life and inspiration are birthing within you. Nurture yourself with compassion, rest, and reflection. As you do so, it can become the spiritual cradle into which your inner light and new life are born.

Our souls long for silence. It is from the silence where all things new emerge. I have heard it said that silence is the highest form of prayer. I couldn’t agree more. It’s what lies underneath all thoughts, feelings, words, emotions, and even physical forms. Silence is a powerful presence as it is in, through, and as all of creation. We emerged from the silence and will one day return to it.

Take this time of winter to court the silence. You can learn so much about yourself in the silence. Ten years ago, I attended my second five-night silent retreat.

On the first day of silence, I was sitting in my chair in the meditation hall that morning after breakfast, when I noticed a compulsive “reaching for” something. It wasn’t a physical reach but a reach of my attention and energy. I was pulled by a desire to grasp at or attain something. I went back into the silence for a while and eventually realized that it was my cell phone that was pulling the strings of my attention, which I didn’t bring with me.

I had become so conditioned to reach for my cell phone to check for text messages, voice mails, and so forth that the reaching continued even when the phone wasn’t there. In that moment of realization, the “reaching for” dissipated back into the nothingness from whence it came.

In the silence, you will discover so much about yourself and your natural state of existence. You will experience a greater sense of connection to Source and the liberation that comes with it.

And so it is.

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