My latest column for The Triangle!
Dearest Sun Worshippers,
I began writing this column the day of the summer solstice. A day that in ancient cultures held great significance and was cause for grand celebrations. A day that falls as our summer is just beginning to wind up. As we expose more skin and take to the waters to frolic and refresh ourselves, we may have to remind ourselves to occasionally take a cue from the solstice. A day when the sun stands still and our shadows all but disappear.
My prayer group and the yoga class I attend both held special solstice gatherings to acknowledge the holiday, to celebrate and grow together. My prayer group met by a pond just as the sun was setting, the sky fading from orange to pink, where we were led in a ritual and put together a make-shift altar. There I learned that historically the summer solstice was considered a time when we, the living, are closest to the spirit world. With the sun so high in the sky, we hardly cast shadows and because only spirits do not have shadows, this day brings us closer, dropping the veil between the two worlds, as some say.
Toward the end of our ritual, I shared an intention that is a part of my daily practice. Something I desire not only for myself, but for all people. That we may walk our truest and highest paths. To be doing the work we are meant to. That which we chose to do before we were ever born. We get so caught up in everyday busyness of our lives that we don’t even realize that we’ve forgotten. And I believe that in order to walk our highest path, we must first spend a good deal of time in stillness in order to remember.
In yoga class, my amazing teacher, Patty Adams, encouraged us to find potential in the pause. Potential in the pause. The words stuck with me. We worked with our breath, not only lengthening our inhales and exhales, but also the pauses between the two. Try it! I find that it’s quite challenging for me to sit with a pause after my exhale, let alone a pause for more than a couple seconds. Yet I think that it is through challenging practices such as these, ones when we quiet our minds and truly sit with ourselves, that we are able to start to remember. To begin to find our way to our truest and highest path, albeit a labyrinthine journey at times.
Last month I injured my back and it has given me even more time than usual to contemplate stillness, intentionality, how to be present in the moment. All practices I regularly work on but were somehow more frustrating when I didn’t have a choice around it. My pain tested my patience. It forced me to listen even more closely to my body and with even greater compassion.
We can all benefit from learning to stand still and be more present in this moment. This very moment is the only one that truly exists. The summer solstice is a good reminder of this. As the longest day of the year, there existed those few extra seconds such that the sun could stand still. Not that time ever does, because we seem to be living in a time of acceleration. Which is all the more reason to take back our time and not let it spin out of control as it so often can feel like is happening around us. Instead let’s pay mind to the moment. Let’s learn to appreciate it all the more, to revel in the stillness, to celebrate the potential in the pause.
As I finish writing this, I’m at the beach with my sweetie, soaking in the sun and enjoying a lazy, let’s-have-no-plans-at-all vacation. We’re truly reveling in the slow beach town culture, enjoying bits of stillness we carve out for ourselves. When we discuss what I’m writing about, my boifriend stresses the importance of learning to sit in the stillness with ourselves because we live in a culture where we go, go, go. A world where our self-worth is equated with our levels of productivity. And so too often we fear slowing down and the silence that comes with it. If we sit in the stillness and do absolutely nothing but listen, what will come up? Well…what will?
In lust, love, and all things woo,