Tart Winter Medicine for Your HeartDec 16, 2021
With the solstice creeping ever closer, gravity seems to press at our shoulders, urging us wild swimmers to slip further into these black waters. Sinking into our depths, we may have to use different senses entirely, stretching the capacity of our inner eyes and ears.
Slowly every year, I am learning that the winter’s dark, and the cold that it brings, is not just something to be endured. There is healing in these yin waters brimming with rest and renewal.
The snowflakes coming through the forest this morning made their own quiet clamour, a hollow jingle of molars collected on a string. The skin on my legs began that hurt-tingle and my cheeks were embers on slow burn. What happens when we don’t jump from the warm car to the warm building to the warm house of our lives, but stay instead with what is arising, the disfomfort, the confusion, the longing-ache, the cold?
What kinds of resources do we find in this crisp, awake undiscovered space?
I feel something essentially life-giving here, the many small teeth of the cold unleashing a cascade of pink essence through my body. I swallow my winter medicine and it is piney, tart, invigorating. A little further down the trail, my hands are sweating in my gloves and my heart is bursting with summer asters and effervescent lemon.
At this fleeting, pivot point of the solstice I invite you to honor that some days you might need to go dark entirely. Other days you might light many tiny fires or even a bonfire of creative inhibition, hope, and dreaming. There is no one way. I invite you to feel the rub between the ambient anxiety and heavy load of being human and the beauty that is always waiting. Many days my brain wants to make this an either/or situation. But my heart remembers that it can expand to embrace these many layers of complexity.
I guess what I wish for you the most at this nocturnal spark of the solstice, is for some ancient memory to stir within. A memory that the most radical thing that any of us can do for personal, social, and ecological healing is to believe in our inherent wholeness. With this deep sense of richness inside, we feel a satiated enoughness, no longer needing to consume, extract, or take more than our share. With this hardy inner-contentment, we no longer need to have our feelers out, always searching for more.
We are at home within ourselves.
I leave you with this little mantra/prayer from Thich Thich Nhat Hanh, from his book “Love Letter to the Earth.” I hope it is helpful to you:
Breathing in, I know Mother Earth is in me.
Breathing out, I know that I am in Mother Earth.
Breathing in, I arrive. Breathing out, I am home.’
May you know your essential enoughness.
December 2021 Newsletter