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The Winter Solstice

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At the Winter Solstice the night is longest and the day is shortest. Cold envelops the Earth, trees are naked, the sky is grey, and the ground is frozen. When my life feels like that, even in the summer when the sun is bright and the breeze is warm, a Winter Solstice is there for me, offering profound opportunities for spiritual growth. The Winter Solstice is that time in anyone and everyone when no hope remains, all is lost and beyond recovery, and the land is barren to the horizon. A divorce, the death of a child, the failure of a business, loss of a job, foreclosure—the ocean of grief is bottomless in this dark and cold time.

Yet a Summer Solstice follows every Winter Solstice, just as a Winter Solstice follows every Summer Solstice. One cannot exist without the other. When death and desolation engulf all in the Winter Solstice, life and hope infuse all in the Summer Solstice.

How painful would it be to cling to the Summer Solstice or imagine that the Winter Solstice will last forever? When we plunge into frozen darkness with each tragedy or explode into happiness with each accomplishment, we miss the meaning of the solstices. They show us the changing nature of our experiences. They are parts of our experience but they are not who we are. We do not need to plunge into despair each time darkness arrives or pretend that sunlight and warmth will fill our days forever.

Cultivating love and challenging fear are choices. If we make them unconsciously, we journey through our lives forever fleeing the cold and seeking the warmth, fleeing pain and seeking joy. But we can choose consciously. We cannot control the weather—death, loss, and illness come—but we can choose our internal climate—love or fear.

The Winter Solstice is an opportunity to choose consciously.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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SOLSTICE JOY

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The winter solstice has always been special to me as a barren darkness that gives birth to a verdant future beyond imagination, a time of pain and withdrawal that produces something joyfully inconceivable, like a monarch butterfly masterfully extracting itself from the confines of its cocoon, bursting forth into unexpected glory. The death of a friend, an incapacitating illness, or a tragic loss are such times of hopelessness and despair, pain and confusion, when all bearing disappears and the void engulfs everything without mercy. These experiences are the soil in which the Universe plants the seeds of your potential for you to cultivate no matter what, and somehow you do, even in those times when you feel you have nothing left to give and no one to give it to.

Now I see more. The coming and going of the seasons give us more than the springtimes, summers, autumns, and winters of our lives. It reflects the coming and going of the circumstances of our lives like the glassy surface of a pond that shows our faces radiant with joy or contorted with pain. It also shows us our amazing independence from our circumstances. In cold or warmth, light or dark, deprivation or abundance, we can choose to respond with love or react in fear. Who could have dreamed such a choice is possible? When a child dies, we grieve and despair until we can see the change in our lives as a gift instead of a loss. Now millions of us are beginning to see the painful AND the joyful circumstances of our lives as opportunities to expand in love or contract in fear. We can experience anger, jealousy, loss, rage, or resentment without acting on it. We can act in love instead, even while we are immersed in anger, fear, jealousy, or rage. We can choose. We can cultivate care, patience, gratitude, and contentment each time we feel them. We can choose.

Each solstice shows us that we can choose. We cannot stop the winter or the summer from coming. We cannot stop the spring or the fall or make them other than they are. They are gifts from the Universe that we cannot refuse. But we can choose what we will contribute to Life when each arrives. We have always done that, and we always have. Now we have a new and liberating awareness. We can greet all the experiences of our lives joyfully and use them all wisely.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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TWIN MIRACLES

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There are two solstices each year. These are astronomical moments when the light is greatest and the dark is least (Summer Solstice) and when the light is least and darkness is greatest (Winter Solstice). Each solstice is a domain of experience unto itself. At the Summer Solstice, all is green and growing, potential coming into being, the miracle of manifestation painted large on the canvass of awareness. At the Winter Solstice, the wind is cold, trees are bare, and all lies in stillness beneath blankets of snow. All potential is concentrated into a single seed waiting patiently to begin its unfolding.

In the northern hemisphere, where Linda and I live, we are celebrating the Winter Solstice. It’s metaphorical richness pervades all – darkness before the light, silence before sound, stillness before movement, death before birth. It is the time of inwardness. SAD (“seasonal affective disorder”) touches millions as depression and self-examination emerge fearfully in the prolonged darkness. At the same time, people in the southern hemisphere are celebrating the Summer Solstice. Its metaphorical richness also pervades all – birth after gestation, emergence after confinement, manifestation after potential, life after death.

These different sets of experiences occur at the same time. Our experiences of the Solstice depend entirely upon where we are when it occurs. Neither Solstice encompasses everyone. Neither can. The Solstices stand forever opposed, literally at the two poles of our Earth and experiences. If we look at this circumstance with five-sensory perception alone – eyes, ears, taste, touch, and smell – we must take a plane from the northern hemisphere to the southern to change our experiences of the Solstice. If we look from multisensory perception – the expanded perception that is emerging in millions of us – we must make another type of journey. This one is inward. It is the choice that we make continually, regardless of hemisphere, between health and illness, open and closed, prison and freedom.

The choice that frees or imprisons us is the choice of love or fear. Love liberates. Fear imprisons. You were born to learn how to distinguish within you between love and fear and to choose love no matter what is happening inside you (you are angry, depressed, jealous, obsessed with eating, sex, drugs, dark thoughts surround you) or outside you (an earthquake, tsunami, illness, 911 type event). Both the Winter and the Summer Solstices are expressions of love. They show us the opposition of light and dark, expansion and contraction, that characterize our experiences in the Earth school so that we can recognize our options as we move through our lives. There are only two. The choice of love or the choice of fear – the choice of vibrancy or lethargy, meaning or emptiness, joy or pain. We cannot control what emotions or circumstances we will experience next, but we can choose how we will respond to them. Choosing love no matter what metaphorical hemisphere you inhabit at the moment, is the choice you were born to make. Each time you make it, you create authentic power.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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CONSCIOUS HOLI (HOLY) DAYS

CONSCIOUS HOLI (HOLY) DAYS

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This time of the year contains one of the most powerful energies of the year and also some of the most powerful distractions

The powerful energy is the energy of Rebirth. People often think of this as a Christian word, but the roots of it run deeper and are older. They come from the Winter Solstice – the precise moment in the cyclical movement of the seasons when the day is shortest and night longest in the Northern hemisphere. In the Northern hemisphere, therefore (if we are far enough North) all is cold and grey, the trees are bare, and snow covers the ground, and seeds and animals lie in deep sleep. On the Winter Solstice life begins to stir again in them, although it will be months before it is visible to us.

In the Southern hemisphere, the day is longest and the night is shortest. This is the Summer Solstice. This powerful juxtaposition of opposite Solstices on opposite sides of the Earth shows us more clearly than any philosophy that balance is everywhere in the Earth School, and that physical death and physical life are parts of it.

Not accidently, religious holidays occur close to this energy and reflect it – Christmas (the birth of Jesus) and Hanukkah (the Festival of Light). Overlaying them are the commercial Christmas and the sentimental Christmas, often indistinguishable. They beckon us to sleep and dream the shared denial of violence within us. They envelop us in visions of “Home for Christmas,” “Oh, Baby Its Cold Outside,” and “Silent Night”. Through all of this we create strongly – either unconsciously in fear or – if if we develop the skill and choose wisely – consciously in love. In all cases, we are responsible for what we create.

Throughout this time of mixed energy and messages you are a powerful and creative, compassionate and loving spirit creating with love or fear and bearing responsibility continually for what you create. The Universal Law of Karma does not get lost in sentimentality or religiosity, even if you do. Then comes the time of making new resolutions for a new year – a relatively recent calendar-ordained event that shows us annually how feeble is the commitment behind most of them.

Use your commitment to stay awake and aware during this confusing time of alluring and conflicting messages. When you are not aware, you create destructive and painful consequences. When you are aware, you can create consciously and, if you choose, wisely. Independently of religious, commercial, and sentimental messages, what is your message? What is your message to the world to yourself and to those around you? Is it fuzzy, warm, and unconscious or clearmultisensory, and wise?

Happy Conscious Holi (holy) days!

Love.
Linda & Gary
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SOUL THOUGHTS

Winter Solstice

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The Winter Solstice is a time of unmistakably large new beginnings. By the time of the Winter Solstice, everything that began growing at the Summer Solstice has contracted into one seed of potential, and that seed begins to expand. Add to this the Christmas story, and Hanukah, the Season of Light, and the point is unmistakable. New beginnings happen, and they are wonderful when they do.

These three events happen annually, but the energy of them happens continually in the lives of countless people at countless times. It happens when a depression breaks for a moment, when grief lightens, anger subsides, jealousy eases, and life without pain seems a possibility again. Darkness begins a long or sudden disappearance, and a ray of light becomes visible.

This experience can be created by recognizing fear (anger, jealousy, overwhelm) when it appears in you, and deciding to act with love (gratitude, appreciation, patience) even while the fear you experience demands expression without cessation. That moment is the moment of creating authentic power. How often you experience it depends upon your choices, but the more often you do, the more the darkness you experience (anger, jealousy, vengeance) begins to lighten, and the world becomes more inviting.

These are the great moments. When you find yourself wanting one, or needing one, or desperate for one, remember the Winter Solstice and cultivate one in yourself.

No one else can.
Love,
Linda & Gary