Our first step onto this path begins with the winter solstice and why we chose this day to launch our blog.
Why are we launching on the winter solstice?
Today is the winter solstice, and the longest night of the year (in Earth's Northern hemisphere); it is the beginning of winter, and a turning point in which, starting tomorrow, daylight and the sun's energy will begin to increase. One reason to launch "Engaging Inner Wisdom" on the winter solstice is because it is a metaphor for our journey inward, and reflects the journey I hope this blog will take you on.
Like earth traveling around the sun, you too are traveling, and like earth you have seasons - seasons of your life that are punctuated by meaningful events and "turning points" in which you experience various emotions, needs and desires. One such need is that of going inward to gain insight, and illuminate core aspects of yourself. The winter solstice echoes this need; darkness and winter are a time for staying indoors (inside), contemplating and preparing, so that when the thaw comes we are ready to "spring" into action and participate fully. Some people think of the winter solstice as "sacred night", because it symbolizes a time when we go into darkness intent on discovery and inquiry, with the idea of emerging with a greater understanding of who we are and how we might move forward.
In launching this blog on the longest night of the year we pay homage to our inner stillness, our "inner night", our inner depths and quiet spaces. Night is shrouded in darkness, cloaked in silence - it is within our own silent darkness that we create space to listen and observe unencumbered by the frenetic chaos that surrounds us - we rest in our silence, and begin to notice our own inner stirrings and desires - our knowing. Blanketed in this stillness we can begin to touch places within ourselves that are often buried in the cacophony of daily life and its endless busy-ness. We rest, and in so doing, we settle. Just as winter snow gently falls and settles on the landscape covering it in a warming layer of quietude, so too will our contemplative time spent listening, cover us in a greater sense of peace and well-being.
If we are willing to slow down, to go inside, to rest in our inner space - we will hear the vibrant, pulsating, meaningful voice that speaks so clearly and vociferously when we dare to let it.
I hope you will join us on our journey with "Engaging Inner Wisdom", and that in so doing you will be inspired to listen more intently to your own personal wisdom.
For us (in the northern hemisphere), the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year. But, what does it mean? The shortest day? When I was a kid, all it meant to me was that it got dark very early. We couldn’t play outside as long as we did in summer. Only as I grew older (and, I like to think, wiser) did the nuances of this day become clear. Yes, it is the shortest day, but the next day is slightly longer and the next slightly longer than that. In short, the winter solstice signals the return of light, a kind of beginning.
What better way to begin to engage our inner wisdom than by celebrating the beginning of the return of light? While we sit in the long darkness of this day, we can look inward and contemplate our inner wisdom. We can embrace our own processes and initiate or build on them as light provides us the opportunity to do so.
In Iceland, where darkness rules the winter months, they used to spend those dark hours telling stories, stories of their families and the kings and queens of Norway and Denmark, but also of their great pagan gods. This was their wisdom and how they engaged it – poetry and storytelling. Not only have we gained many of those stories, but they have led to others like The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, even Harry Potter. By engaging their inner wisdom, the Icelandic skalds (poets) told incredible stories that led to a literary culture, which still inspires others.
We can empower ourselves and others in the same way. On this shortest day of the year, we harken back to those practices, realizing the creative wealth and sense of community they provided, and we breathe. As daylight increases, we feel more hopeful and energized, ready to unleash our creativity and follow our true path. For, with light comes optimism; we can see things more clearly, bring our plans to life, and carry within them the thread of inner wisdom that we embraced through inward contemplation in the darkness whose end is at hand.
I hope you will join us on this journey as we explore what inner wisdom is and how to engage it.
Practice Engaging Your Inner Wisdom
Start a journal that captures your personal wisdom for future reference. Take five to ten minutes to "free write" about your connection with your inner voice; have there been times when you have not listened, and should have? Have there been times when listening made all the difference? How does this inform you?