Winter Solstice: the still point of the turning world

Posted on: December 21, 2020

At the still point, there the dance is
T S Eliot

Today is the Winter Solstice – the shortest, darkest day of the year and the pivot point where we start the journey back towards the light of midsummer. It’s a moment of pause; time to rest in the darkness and be still.

You’re probably thinking I’ll be spending the day in deep mediation in the woods – in fact my hands are full navigating the stressed NHS to extricate my 95 year old mother from hospital, whilst also selling my London home to follow my dream of moving to the coast.

As the umpteenth version of how I’m going to spend Christmas and New Year gets ripped away by the latest set of COVID lockdown restrictions, a curious peace has settled over me. I’ve stopped feeling sorry for myself by imagining others will be having a better time than me on Christmas Day, let go of any pressure to do presents or cards and instead I find myself grateful for having a warm roof over my head, food in the fridge, a park to walk in and friends and family to speak to.

After nine months of denial and resistance I’ve surrendered to this collective experience and let go of the illusion I can control events. My “ego” self has stopped expecting things to be different and I’m going with the flow – knowing that any plans I make are likely to change again within half an hour and not to put off anything that I can do now.

In normal times it’s tempting to rush through the Winter Solstice – just another day in the frantic run up to Christmas. The virus is creating an opening for us to pause and be still, stop our distractions and just BE. Nowhere to go, no-one to meet, just stay home with our household and be with ourselves. Is that so hard?

I intend to take time today – even if only for 5 minutes – to light a candle, rest in the stillness of this day and listen to what the spirit of this moment has to say to me.

I hope you will join me, wherever you are and whoever you are with.

Image: Lulworth Cove, Dorset by Chris Kotsiopoulos