Five Seconds: A Winter Solstice Reflection

I'm fascinated by moments of deep shift. The moment clarity arrives. The moment the ground beneath us settles into place as if we've finally landed on the earth beneath our feet.

It's the moment we move from one thing to another.

We look back and see the former. We look forward and see the next thing.

Winter solstice is one of those days for me. As an Alaskan from the ages of 9-18 and again from 27-33, this turning point lives in my bones.

Once the sun goes down on June 21, my spirit holds the shift and notices the incremental moves into darkness. The sun that once woke me up now greets me after breakfast. The early morning walks shift to indoor treadmill journeys as the Pacific Northwest winter rain descends.

It happens so slowly. And yet, I take notice. I think back to 8:00 pm August sunsets when I see the sun dip below the horizon at 4:15 pm in early December. I smile at the neighbor walking the dog at 6:00 am in the summer sun and the November darkness.

What are we to do with these slow shifts? The ones we hardly notice?

Maybe they are invitations to show up and pay attention. Just as the sun and moon dance overhead, ever so slightly each day, we're invited to notice what's shifting in us. Ever so slightly each day.

Where is love inviting me to see something I've been avoiding?

What nudge am I ignoring because I'm too focused on something else?

Am I resisting my own peace?

What systems do I participate in without thinking of how they affect all involved?

Where is there healing that I thought might never come?

My brain loves the big miracles. The shifts so obvious that we can truly celebrate. As if real change is only measured in its size. But the winter solstice invites us to mark the small changes. The almost imperceptible dance of the sun and moon.

The winter solstice invites us to see the difference five seconds can make. Here in Washington state, we added five seconds of darkness on December 20 and on December 22, we will add five seconds of light.

It's slight.

It's small.

Most won't notice.

It's the length of one deep breath.

And yet.

Life is shifting.

As we wrap up 2020, an incredibly difficult and bizarre year for our world, these moments are worth marking.

We open our hands wide in gratitude for all we grow, nurture, and learn in the dark.

We open our hands wide in gratitude for all we grow, nurture, and learn in the light.

Both are vitally important.

Both are necessary for our healing.

Both are gifts to us all.

What difference might five seconds make in your world today?

Palms up, my friends.