Seeking the Light

by Adapt Training and Development

Thursday, December 21, is the Winter Solstice—the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The word solstice is derived from the Latin, solstitium, which means “sun stands still” (source: Royal Museums Greenwich). This shift out of darkness and into the returning of the sun has been celebrated since ancient times in cultures all over the world. The Hopi Indians of northern Arizona, for example, celebrate Winter Solstice with ceremonies and rituals of purification, dancing, and gifts. Learn more about Winter Solstice celebrations.

I am a natural hibernator, but there are many people in my life who are not—and who start to feel a little dreary during the long and grey days of winter. This lovely essay by Mary Pipher on “Finding Light in Winter” speaks to both the moments of despair and the opportunities for seeking the light. Her suggestions are not just literal (being outside to catch the light at sunrise and sunset, when we are able) but also metaphorical—looking for the moments of joy and connection that carry us through the darker times. Piper writes, “Whatever is happening in the world, whatever is happening in our personal lives, we can find light. . . . This time of year, we must look for it. I am up for sunrise and outside for sunset. I watch the moon rise and traverse the sky. I light candles early in the evening and sit by the fire to read. And I walk outside under the blue-silver sky of the Nebraska winter. If there is snow, it sparkles, sometimes like a blanket of diamonds, other times reflecting the orange and lavender glow of a winter sunset.”

I’ll leave you with 6 poems for the Winter Solstice and a Japanese proverb about being the light: “One kind word can warm three winter months.”

Be well, stay warm, and enjoy your holidays!