We are about to encounter that moment when the sun appears to stand still in the sky – the solstice.
For those of us in the northern hemisphere, the days will continue to incrementally lengthen until June 21st when the sun will appear to stand still for a moment before reversing direction (from the point of view of us here on earth).
This reversal in direction leads to the days becoming incrementally shorter over the next 6 months until the winter solstice occurs.
The link between solstice and self-care.
As the solstice approaches, I’ve found myself thinking about how this cycle relates to the practice of Sacred Self-Care (or to any path that leads to growth, healing, and transformation).
First, let’s take a look at what happens at this time of year.
In general, as the days lengthen, they also become gradually warmer. Then, solstice occurs and the days gradually become shorter.
As the days shorten and the hours of sunlight decrease, it would be reasonable to expect the days would become gradually cooler as well.
However, that is not what happens. Instead, they become warmer and warmer for the next two to three months. Two to three MONTHS! It takes nearly a quarter of a year, essentially until the equinox, for the results of the solstice (the sun reversing direction) to become fully apparent and for the days to once again become reliably cooler.
How does this delay in the effect of the sun’s reversal relate to our self-care practices?
When we are on a path of deep self-care, we can expect moments of profound insight that lead (eventually) to growth, healing, and transformation.
The moment of insight can be likened to the day of solstice.
A pattern has fundamentally shifted. Nothing will ever be the same again. There is a complete (internal) shift from one state of being to another.
However, just as the days following the summer solstice continue to become hotter even though they are now shorter, the very pattern you experienced deep insight into is likely to become even more intense and more challenging prior to you experiencing tangible results in your external world.
This delay can lead to extreme doubt regarding whether that moment of insight or shift actually occurred.
It can lead to a desire to give up, to questioning the point of your self-care practice, to thinking it doesn’t work, it will never work, and you might as well give up and eat pizza and mindlessly watch tv and browse fb all day (or whatever your thing might be).
The importance of continuing your practice of deep self-care.
It is in these moments of doubt and uncertainty, of increasing intensity of the very pattern/habit that you thought was ready to transform and heal, that it is MOST important to continue sinking into your practice of Sacred Self-Care.
Now, in addition to continuing to use all your skills to meet the increasing intensity of the original pattern, you also have the added challenge of meeting all the doubt and uncertainty (and perhaps frustration, resentment, and anger as well) that are arising.
It isn’t easy; and yet, it is the way through.
You received the insight. Now the real work begins.
As Brené Brown so eloquently states ‘the insight is not the transformation.’
Once you receive the insight, the next step is to apply what you learned over and over and over until, at long last, the effects begin to make themselves known… until the healing, growth, and transformation you seek does truly and fully arrive into both your internal AND your external world…
…until you find a new balance (arrive at the equinox of your cycle of transformation) within yourself and your world.
Then, the cycle is reset as a new pattern arises to be transformed.
Then, as you continue your practice of deep self-care, another pattern that is ready to be transformed will present itself and, just like the path of the earth around the sun, you will eventually experience another moment of solstice, of deep and profound insight.
This insight will again be followed by increasing intensity until it is also integrated into the very core of your being, until the equinox once again brings a new balance of personality.
This cycle repeats…over and over and over.
Just as the earth continues to cycle the sun, you will continue to experience (initiated, supported, and sustained by your sacred self-care practice):
- an insight (solstice) ->
- an exacerbation of the pattern seeking healing combined with the work of integrating the insight fully into your life ->
- a new balance and greater wholeness of being (equinox) ->
- a new pattern arising into your consciousness seeking transformation ->
- another moment of insight/shift/healing (solstice) ->
- and on and on and on…
In times of increased turmoil, it is helpful to remember that the equinox does always follow the solstice.
The important thing to remember as we approach solstice and the following intensifying heat of summer is that the equinox does come. A new balance is eventually restored.
While it may seem that the endless days of summer or of increased turmoil will never end, they will.
There will come a day when your insight will be fully integrated into your life, when you will experience a greater sense of ease, wholeness, and balance within and without.
Until your personal equinox arrives, you have your practice of deep self-care to help you meet every moment that comes along with equanimity, with grace, with support, and perhaps even with gratitude and celebration.
For your consideration:
Have you experienced this Cycle of Transformation as I describe it? If so, what does linking this cycle to the natural rhythms of the earth and sun evoke in you?
Where do you currently find yourself on your personal cycle of transformation?
Your comments and thoughts are always welcome.
My love to you, this week leading up to summer solstice 2015.