Out in the elements – an ode to Winter Solstice

I am doing a 30 day meditation series with a focus on creativity. Today, day 11, after the meditation, I was asked to do an exercise where I ‘flash’ the visualisation, which means taking 30 seconds to run it instead of five minutes, and then write a sentence or two on what came to mind. This is what I wrote:

She stood in the centre of a fiery maelstrom, devoured by wind and fire, yet remained untouched.

This what I saw in my mind’s eye: a tiny woman, hair blowing wildly, in a red hot furnace. I find that image both reassuring and empowering, because I know that I am that woman, and that fire has been my life; but still I am here, not entirely unscathed, but intact.

Here in the southern hemisphere, we have just come out on the other side of our winter solstice, traditionally the coldest, darkest time of the year. A week before the solstice, I could feel myself being stretched thinner and thinner, like plastic wrap stretched across a bowl. In the same way that in a healthy joint, synovial fluid and cartilage stops the bones of our joints from grinding together, when I am healthy, I have a buffer zone of good will and empathy that protects me and other people from the jagged scrapes of unskillful communication. In this week, I had the alarming sensation of that buffer zone becoming thinner and thinner, until I was operating in a space that was constantly millimetres away from ‘fuck you, do it yourself’. In my work, where I am a communicator, this is a dangerous place to be.

Fortunately, a few weeks before, I had asked the Bear to book us some time away in one of our favourite coastal hideaways, which enabled me to have six. whole. days. away from work. Of course, there are consequences from letting yourself get worn that thin. As soon as I walked out the door from work, I developed a toxic sore throat, which lasted 8 days, with added headache, earache and cough for good measure. On the day we left, I got my period as we drove down the coast in torrential rain, which cleared that afternoon, but returned in full fury the next day.

Being sick and having my period was a bit of a drag, but I felt strangely unperturbed by it – I accepted it as the price of admission for the 6 month marathon of work, commute and study I had just completed. The rain was a little unexpected, but hey, it was winter, and we weren’t going to be swimming anyway.

So, we bunkered down. We went to the movies (the Bear and I watched Wonder Woman, and the kids watched Despicable Me 3, conveniently on at the same time), we played board games, read, and gazed out at the view, which was so violently beautiful that it was almost as if our senses were assaulted. It took 24 hours to take it in – the vast body of water, changing hourly in that moody way the ocean has, the undulating and rocky shoreline, the dolphins, cormorants and eagles, and the open sky stretched widely above us, a mirror for the ocean below.

The next day, the sun did come out. Sick as I was, I felt an intense desire to be out in the beautiful nature that I had been staring at the day before, so I rugged up and walked up to the nearby lighthouse to watch the sunrise, a spectacular sight.

IMG_3869

The cold dry wind blasted my throat, but I felt euphoric. Later on that day we all walked the beach, the kids playing with a thong that they would throw into the waves and rescue, getting drenched and sandy in the process, while the Bear and I gazed at the incredible rock formations, and mini waterfalls running down the cliff face from yesterday’s deluge.

The Bear hadn’t been up to the lighthouse yet, so I walked up there again with him, my body beginning to feel the strain, but somehow still needing to be out in the elements, with the wild mother burning my throat and tangling my hair. There is this amazing feature at the base of the cliff that the lighthouse perches upon: a huge rocky outcrop has been hollowed out by the force of the sea, creating a tunnel through which the water runs in and out. As the Bear and I gazed at it, it suddenly struck me that it looked like the two bent legs of a woman, birthing the ocean. When I showed him, the Bear said,Β women are found everywhere in nature; that’s probably why men desperately build phallic symbols everywhere, trying to make their mark.Β Make sure you quote me on that, he said with a grin. I like how he’s getting used to living with a writer.

I thought I might get some writing done while I was away – after all, the weather was perfect for a scribe, and I’m on a university break. But I came to understand that my well was too empty to write. My only job here was to be – to watch, to feel, to experience, to drink everything in with all my senses.

We’re back now, and boy, there is no rest for the wicked. On our first day back, I drove Alani down to Port Macquarie to watch a play, the tickets bought for her birthday two months ago. Then it was back to work for two big days, with a winter solstice gathering after one work day, backed up by a visit of my much loved brother and his family. Still, although the fire is burning, I am untouched. I can feel that my buffer zone is back, and my creative well brimming. I am having ideas about blog posts, and things were interesting and inspiring me again. I have decided to take a semester off from my study – it has been a two year marathon, and while I have loved every minute of it, I need a rest before the next marathon begins, or I just won’t make it over the line. I am also hatching a plan to change how I’m studying – more on that when I know for sure what’s happening :).

Meanwhile, I want to use this next 3 months to focus on my family and house (a mission that crystallised during the recent Cancer new moon, appropriately enough). I want our house to reflect us as a family, to be a place of comfort, harmony and beauty – and that kind of project needs my focus and energy or it will never happen.

So my friends, how are you after the winter solstice and dark moon? Have you had a chance to fill your well? Have you got some fresh sparks of inspiration burning away, waiting to be ignited? Do tell πŸ™‚

 

 

17 comments

  1. Love this. Much for me to think about. I got to a ‘fuck you’ point late last year and without recognising some of what you’ve written here….it all spilt over and I ended up leaving a job I used to love! Glad you had some re-charge time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes – the benefits of self knowledge! I knew it was me on one level, but another part of me didn’t care – I still wanted the annoying people to fuck off! Lesson learned 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is one of the most difficult things to know, when you need time to recharge. Even if I plan it, it is usually later than I needed it to be. I should study the astrological world more closely. I wondered why, after months of languishing creative juices, I suddenly got a burst of new energy in that direction last week. Thank you for explaining it, and thank you for sharing your lovely break photos. BTW, I had that throat/ear nastiness for three weeks, despite antibiotics, and only just recovered fully this week, after nearly a month. Not fun. I hope you recover faster than I did.πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hullo Ardys ❀️ it was like switch flicked: before solstice (Wednesday night) and after. I am nearly all better – I’m lucky, I have access to really potent herbal antibiotic medicines, which I wondered if it was helping. However, you aren’t the first person I’ve heard of being sicker for longer and needing antibiotics, so there’s my answer!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love it! your writing of the buffer thinning down towards a ‘fuck you do it yourself’ state of communication had humorous insight provoking resonance.

    The first day of my period was yesterday – the same day of hosting the fun-serious endeavour of our daughters 7th birthday. Its a big-party year, and we had planned to go to the snow with a few of her friends. But there is no snow as yet, so we found ourselves hosting our first ever ‘theme’ party with snow – and then the slight but obvious step in a 7 yo eyes – to Frozen theme. Fake snow, Snow Globe Room, Snowman making out of marshmallows, activities aplenty due to the rain forecast. Dear deary me. Lucky I had had my ‘FYDIY’ moments in the week prior, so had made conscious efforts to nourish and renew. = Bright smiles and buzz throughout the day, even in a scene way outside my comfort zone.

    Winter solstice was beautiful. I am in an early morning phase currently – 5 am natural rises for meditation, yoga etc so I appreciated the long moments before first light, and in the evening a family campfire in the backyard heralded the night.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Kate,
      The story of your daughter’s Frozen themed party made me laugh! The things we do as parents for our children who have no clue about our comfort zones and the like. Thank goodness for them and their ridiculous parties – and lucky for your daughter that your FYDIY time was passed 😜 (I’ll be using that acronym from now on!)
      It’s interesting, but before solstice I was waking up early, like 4:30, and after solstice, I’ve gone back to around 5:30. I have an early morning meditation routine as well, but if I can, I leave yoga later in the cold months. I enjoy it more. Enjoy your week ❀️

      Like

  4. So lovely to see you enjoying nature despite your cold and throat.. Loved reading this, and sometimes it is what is needed.. Just to BE and do nothing, but join the flow.. Like those little rock pools and tiny waterfalls..
    Such wonderful pictures you have shared Sara.. And thank you for your own visit..

    So pleased your days are now going to get longer again.. And I feel for you in winter, as I can never wait until it passes and Spring brings her joy..

    Summer here has been exceptionally hot.. You may have heard, we now have a record of the hottest summer in 40 yrs, its official.. πŸ™‚ But the last two days the Sun went in and its much cooler again.. And Windy.. Such is the changes within our weather systems.. πŸ™‚

    Sending you love and hope you continue within your mindful meditations.. Changes are afoot.. I am sure you feel them.. ❀ xx ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Sue,
      Lovely to see you here ❀️ yes, I have heard about the unseasonable hot weather in England; my son said to me, have you heard about the English complaining about the heat when it’s only 32 degrees? 😊 It’s like Australians complaining about the cold lol 😜
      But yes, the weather is changing everywhere, and like you said, there are energetic changes as well. I have no special knowledge, except that it is essential for us to keep our vibration high and clean, which is why I meditate every day πŸ™πŸΌ as well as live the most conscious life I’m capable of. I think that’s what you do too ❀️

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, we sing off the same hymn sheet as to keeping our vibrations high.. I smiled widely at your Son’s remarks.. lol.. Yes we Brits complain alot about the weather.. But when you are used to a Summer that normally has a job to reach the 20’s lol.. Its been HOT… as no wind and very humid.. Until this week when all changes and it cooled down with high winds.. πŸ™‚ lol never satisfied are we LOL.. Many thanks Sara.. and love right back.. xx ❀

        Like

  5. I love how you described your “buffer zone” and how it starts wearing down when you’re being stretched too thin. I’m completely the same way, although I typically describe it as my “filters” starting to break down one by one until I become a cold, cutting version of myself that I hate. I’ve gotten better about recognizing the signs and removing myself from situations before any lasting damage gets done, but when I’m not able to do that right away, I’ve also had to learn to just cope with it and say as little as possible before I can leave to take care of myself.

    As you know already, I’ve left my current job and given the timing of everything (I start my new job tomorrow!), it’s no surprise how it’s lined up with astrological movements. The last month and half has been tough but I’m so happy to be starting fresh at a new place with new people. I’ve spent this past week just recharging my soul and letting go of residual baggage. It sounds to me like the time away with your family was exactly what you needed and I’m glad you’re feeling good and ready to hit the ground running again. (Beautiful photos, btw!) πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lillian, your timing is perfect πŸ’— one of the things I love about being in my 40s is that the narrative arc of my life has become visible ie: I have lived long enough so that what seemed like random events can be seen to fit within the story of my life, and actually make sense. I trust more and more, and take things personally less and less. However, as you described so perfectly, we are only humans, and our buffers and filters can only do so much 😊 glad you had time to rest and recharge before your new job – a week can make a big difference.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Seal Rocks is a wonderful place, your photos share its loveliness, your family’s and your’s beautifully.
    Similarly, at the end of term I made plans to recharge, but at home. I desperstely wanted to therapeutically clean the house, and spend time in the garden. Which I did immediately. My buffer wasn’t so thin because I’ve been carefully nurturing, managing available time, navigating… sometimes just plan avoiding energy drains. Then we had an unavoidable week of encounters, and hit the wall yesterday afternoon manifesting tangibly as my language deteriorated… a key indicator of burnout.
    Fortunately, there are 3 more weeks ahead to pretty much please myself, enjoy the season and prepare for the second half of the year.
    It’s wise to recognise that our circumstances sometimes benefit from reconfiguration and allow yourself time to accomplish this before proceeding. My energies function far better in within an ordered & aesthetically appealing environment.
    We continue to find fulfillment in finally being here, at home, in the village, the valley & mid north coast, enjoying each season as life unfolds. And I enjoy how, that you share your own, and the positivity and inspiration it engenders β™‘

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol Dale, my language deteriorates as my buffer thins too 😊
      I’m pretty good at self care, but some things are unavoidable, unfortunately, like your final week of encounters, and impossible to plan for. Still, we do our best. I have a strong need to spend time on my house, and I’m looking forward to really nourishing that area of my life. Let’s catch up soon xo

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate the solstice. I’m still thrown off by it being winter now. I guess you have the same surprise with it being summer here in the north. I celebrated summer solstice with a healing ceremony with friends. And it’s usually cool on summer nights in the Bay Area, but we had a warm solstice the 2 years. Yay!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is yay 😊 I have a few northern hemisphere friends, and the global nature of media these days means that it’s easier to keep the whole picture in mind. Still, the earth is an amazing place. I’m glad you marked the solstice – it seems more and more meaningful every year ❀️

      Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s