Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Time of Waiting

Nearly Winter Solstice. The time fields rest, wild creatures hibernate, darkness reigns. Considering all that, patience should be readily accessible ~~ hah!

It's also nearly Christmas. The time when everyone, from the very young to the very old, is focused on giving and getting. Stores are looking to increase their bottom lines which are so necessary to their existence. Everyone is wrapped up in wrapping up their gift purchases. Within this cultural context, patience is nowhere near.

Individually, we have the opportunity to pause, to reflect, to be mindful of what we are doing and why the season is significant. I'm not referring only to the birth of the Christ ~ the "reason for the season" to many people. I'm referring to the deeper and broader reason.

Let's turn back the clock ~~
Before, and even after, the beginning of the Christian Era, winter was the darkest, longest time of year. Yes, longest. Even though we now know 24 hours is 24 hours, time seemed different then. Think about it. If we didn't have artificial lighting, winter nights would seem interminably long. Candles and oil lamps only hold back the deepest dark. They don't dispel it as electricity does.
So the darkest time ~ the Winter Solstice ~ became a time to celebrate, to acknowledge one's kinship with others, to cajole the gods and goddesses to return the light and the food sources. Light became personified, Someone as well as something to honor and re-call. Ceremonies, celebrations and rituals for this time abound in the mythologies from around the world.

Winter is the natural time to hibernate, to rest, to take stock of what is most important in life. It's the time of year all of nature waits, expectantly, for the return of the Light.

How do you cultivate patience? What does winter signify to you? How do you balance gift giving and waiting? celebration and ceremony?

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