Thoughts on Winter Solstice: A Time for Renewal, A Time of ‘Great Beauty’ Waiting to Be Found
Tuesday December 21, 2021

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Celebrated by the Mayan culture as a symbol of renewal, the winter solstice arrives today in the northern hemisphere, and we are surrounded by the most literal darkness we will know throughout the rotation of an entire year. What, I wonder, will each of us use this time of inner looking to gift ourselves with?

I ask this question for many reasons. The first reason is inspired by Antonio Vivaldi’s deservedly famed “Winter” (L’Inverno). One of my favorite compositions, and in fact, the music I hear when my phone rings as it helps me hustle to find my phone (listen to the video to know what I mean – the speed at which the violinist must play their instrument is astonishingly rapid), it is the last written line expressed that prompts great reflection,

“So it is the winter, but it also has great beauties.”

With these words Antonio Vivaldi finishes his great creation, the cycle of the Four Seasons.

~Feel free to listen to the composition as you read today’s post~

Great beauty.

What great beauty will you acknowledge, discover, embody on this once-a-year day?

My thoughts often go to gardening as I observe the weather each day, the changing of the seasons, and so as I often do, I appreciate Monty Don and his illustrative pics captured at his garden, Longmeadow, and today’s IG posting punctuate my reliance: “In a garden, there is always a future.”

There is always a future in each of our life journey’s as well. We are given opportunities to witness, to observe, to learn and then apply the wisdom discovered. It is not expected that we will, only opportunities to do so. We must choose to live our lives actively, with an open heart and mind. A hopeful heart, but not an expectant heart.

When we open our heart. When we dare to trust, as was talked about in yesterday’s now nearing the most popular episode of 2021 of the podcast, when we dare to be vulnerable whilst marrying our courage with boundaries, loving-kindness and integrity, the world opens up, and renewal of a wide range of sorts is possible in each of our lives.

How does renewal happen?

  • An unexpected or unwanted event occurs
  • A new person enters our life, a new heartbeat, a new energy
  • We become tired of clinging to what is not working.
  • We become tired of not choosing to let ourselves feel – all the feels – and so we dare to open our heart and dance and explore the exuberance and the aches when they dance through our lives. And they do dance as they are evanescent, and knowing this truth frees us to embrace each feeling fully so we can move through them.
  • We experience a different feeling or see something different while doing something we have always done.
  • When we have slowed down long enough to realize the rushing takes away the beauty of the life we have the good fortune to be alive to live.
  • When while speeding through life, we ‘trip’ and admit the pace isn’t helping us or anyone we love.
  • A person we love, a heartbeat long in our lives, is no longer with us.
  • We see a beauty unexpected that stops us in our tracks and while not knowing what has changed, understand we have been changed in that moment.

~Norman and I went skiing last week. For our snow-shoeing excursion, I left my phone in my car and didn’t capture our trek. :)~

Yesterday Norman and I took a long snow-shoe venture into the woods. With six inches of newly fallen snow, light as a whisper, yet prompting an aerobic workout for us both as we broke trail, not a soul beyond our two heartbeats was in sight and for some time the snow kept gently falling. Magical and soothing calm cleared my mind (and prompted Norman to wonder when we were turning back, but he too loved the freedom of bouncing about in the snow). Nature in that moment provided comfort, clarity and a reminder of winter’s beauty, winter’s gift. Winter’s many gifts.

Who will you be today and moving forward?

When you look back on the yous of the past, you have unquestionably grown, changed, evolved. Let this year’s winter solstice remind you to renew the you you wish to be and shed the thought-patterns, the unhelpful defaults, the behaviors that don’t serve the you you can be. Take the time winter provides to be still, to explore and gather up your strength to strive forward with energy saved into a new year, an even better year than you can imagine, but hold with hope in your heart to unfold, because it can. You can be renewed.

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17 thoughts on “Thoughts on Winter Solstice: A Time for Renewal, A Time of ‘Great Beauty’ Waiting to Be Found

  1. I am currently planning on a very big renewal in February. I’m going to undergo a bone marrow transplant in hopes of eliminating my second leukemia, diagnosed this past June, and prolonging my life however much is possible. I’ve been working on the things you write about for some time and now it seems far more imperative to do so. My entire outlook on life, my focus and priorities have changed dramatically. I very much appreciate what you do here and the insights you share. I enjoy pondering them in my journal. I hope this is not TMI, I apologize if it is. I just felt an inner tug to write this.

    1. Karin, thank you for sharing this part of your story with us. It is truly a gift. I am sending you my love and hope as you take up this part of your journey. XO Rona

    2. Karin, My thoughts and heart are with you and your courage and determination is seen. What you have shared is not too much information and am grateful you trust this community to reach out to. Sending much love for this holiday season as well as in February when your transplant will take place. xoxo

        1. Karin, sending my love and best wishes to you for you treatment, and I hope that it will bring you the better health you must so wish for .

          I hope that you are able to enjoy a peaceful and joyful Christmas season , despite the challenges that lie ahead for you, and the ones you are currently facing .

          Thank you for your brave post .

          With love and best wishes from the UK to you and your love ones ,

          x Anne x

  2. Yes and yes, and many thanks for this beautiful and timely post, Shannon. I too have used today as a time of reflection, of shedding, of moving forward into the beautiful new year. You said it best–you can be renewed. Much love to you and Norman–XO Rona

  3. Thanks for sharing these lovely thoughts, Shannon. Although I’m going through some emotionally hard times right now, I do find this time of year perfect for self-reflection. Even with the hectic pace of the holidays, there is ample time to sit and ponder. And I have to say that the Vivaldi piece is one of my very favorites! I feel it in my bones. What a wonderful post. Thank you again.

    1. OreMoss, I am thinking of you and sending my love that whatever your heart is wrestling with, that you navigate through and to a place of peace and strength. I am happy that you have time to be still as you need and savor the moments you enjoy during the holidays. Vivaldi’s piece increases my appreciation for it with each listen. Lovely to hear you enjoy it as well. 😌

      Thank you for stopping by and wishing you much joy. 💛

  4. Thank you Shannon , lots to think about in todays post 🙂 and your snowy photographs are beautiful.

    Do you know the Vivaldi double mandolin concerto ?
    He wrote so much amazing music, and this is another of my favourites
    as well as his Gloria .

    Solstice……….stepping forward into the renewal of the Light .

    Sending love and best wishes to you and Norman , and to everyone

    Anne

  5. A wonderful and timely post. Yes for the Winter Solstice but also as the year comes to an end many, myself included, start to contemplate a New Years renewal. What new (or old) goals do I want to accomplish this new year? Who do I want to be? What am I holding myself back from?
    Thank you
    Sarah

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