Well, at least they can't close the sea...
I loved this phrase when I heard it on Sunday. It really sums it all up right now, doesn't it?
I've been trying for some time not to get too tied up in the headlines of mainstream media because it really drags me down and I only feel worse, so why do it? It's been difficult to avoid these past few days, however, and even my breathwork practice is having to work twice as hard to keep me centred! Suffice to say I am sending you all love and a virtual hug, whatever your circumstances are and however your Christmas plans with people you love may now be affected.
Today, if you didn't know, is the Winter Solstice. It marks the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere (or, if you were there on Saturday, I got my words muddled and said it was the longest - it definitely isn't that!). In the old Celtic calendar it's known as midwinter and marks the end of one year and the start of another (New Year). I'm sure we're all keen to see the end of 2020 as soon as possible! It's a great time for reflection for all that's been and all that you'd like to bring into your life in the year to come. The Solstice is the time of standstill, when we move from the time of less and less light each day to more and more light. This standstill lasts for three days, when the sun appears to rise at the same point on the horizon each day. At midwinter, the sun reaches his lowest arc in the sky, the shortest day, the day of least light in the year.
The old ways of the Celtic traditions have rituals at these times of year (midsummer and midwinter) and it struck me how useful they are to us where we stand right now with everything going on. On the 20th December they give thanks for all that you've been given this year and is a day of celebration and gratitude. On 21st it's a day of preparation for the Standstill - getting your things together, paper and pen, something to take voice notes perhaps, a camera, something to draw with. Then from 22nd to 24th December they recite a litany to themselves which is totally relevant to what many of us may be feeling right now, called The Litany Against Fear from Dune by Frank Herbert. The history of the Litany Against Fear is that it was spoken by people who faced danger or fear during their everyday lives. The litany helped them focus their minds in times of peril.
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing – only I will remain.
Then, they'd begin to write down all the things that happened for them over the past 6-12 months. They'd have 2 columns, a “feel good” column and a “feel bad” columns, allowing each happening to permeate their whole selves, feel again what they felt at the time. Then they'd revisit, thank and respect each happening – for it has helped to make them who they are. Then they'd say to the happenings, ‘Thank you, you’ve done your job for me now, I let you go …’
On the 25th December they'd celebrate the moving on of the sun. They'd give gratitude to the Earth for all it gives and how it nurtures us and ask to see 3 particular things for them to concentrate on for the next 6 months. They'd write these down and remind themselves to look at them at least once each week.
If you like the sound of this, you can easily catch up and begin the ritual from today. I plan to - it helps give me focus, some clarity and remember to be grateful for all that I have in my life.
In the meantime, back to Saturday! We had a brilliant turnout with lots of new faces appearing - a wonderful experience! Thank you to all of you for your amazing brightness and the joy you bring to me and to each other whilst gathering on the beach, be it for a swim or just a natter and a sharing of stories and worries. This year has been trying for nearly everyone, but at least for an hour a month, the light shines upon us (not sure how, but it literally does!) and we are at least happy together for those precious moments! Thank you for all of you who brought and baked Christmas goodies - they were all divine.
Here is the video from Saturday and I thank you again for everything you have done to be a part of this magical community here in Selsey. Happy Christmas and New Year to you all, you are all dear and precious souls, keep shining your light.