The Winter Solstice and the End of the World

Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse 12/21/10While many are focusing on whether or not the world will end tomorrow, to me the more interesting aspect of December 21 is the Winter Solstice. This annual occurrence provides a clear line between light and dark, summer and winter.

The Winter Solstice is the yin sister of the Summer Solstice. While the Summer Solstice marks the “longest day” of the year, in terms of sunlight for those of us living in North America, the Winter Solstice marks the longest night of the year.

This unique transition is the perfect opportunity to observe the natural shift that occurs on the planetary and earthly planes.

The Solstice is the astronomical result of the earth tilting on its axis. Thanks to this tilt, the earth orbits around the sun at an angle, resulting in the seasonal distinction we call Summer and Winter.

The Winter Solstice is a time when the seasons trade places in what seems to be a perfectly orchestrated dance. Observing how seamlessly nature allows for each of her seasons can encourage us to allow for our own life seasons. They serve as a gentle reminder to embrace both the light and the dark in our lives, to honor it and to allow it, in ourselves and in others.

After the solstice, the days will slowly inch longer. Daylight will begin to stretch her arms, and the darkness will start to fade. This is a good time to contemplate where we’ve been and where we want to go. It is simultaneously a starting line and a finish line.

Syncing our minds with nature’s rhythms reminds us that everything in nature opens and closes, waxes and wanes, begins and ends. As humans we are not excluded from this cycle. Our lives pulse with joy and sadness, life and death, inhales and exhales. Honoring all of it, whenever and however it’s presented to us, is the invitation.

Contemplating the end of the world, whether on a global scale or an individual scale, can inform and inspire our lives. I often ask myself the question, If you were to die tomorrow, what would you do today?

People seem to be asking the first part of this question everywhere. Will there be a tomorrow?

The more poignant part of the question is this:

What would you do today?

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photo by: minds-eye
Monique Minahan

About Monique Minahan

Monique Minahan is a writer and yoga teacher offering her heart to the world through words that motivate, inspire, and encourage. Connect with her at mindfulmo.com.