“To everything there is a season…” or so says the biblical Book of Ecclesiastes, made popular by 1960’s pop group, The Byrds.
Aside from the gloriously long, languid day the summer solstice physically offers- the solstice is traditionally known among various spiritual practitioners for passion, potential, and renewal.
It has been over a year since I last wrote, and yet it feels more like a lifetime ago.
It was on last year’s summer solstice that I ran away from my marriage and into a short-lived life of lovely chaos.
While it was a nice little life (while it lasted), one thing was for certain: I was in no place to work on inner peace.
I found that when I sat still long enough to contemplate inner peace, I would have to inevitably face the guilt, grief, and doubts that I had been putting off.
Now, one might say, ‘Wait a second here, wouldn’t working on inner peace help with all that inner turmoil?’
And to that rather pointed question, I would have to simply reply, ‘Why, yes, yes it would’. More on that later.
So when my whirlwind romance spun down into nothingness; interestingly enough, that’s all that was left- nothingness.
No more passion and potential (not in that sense anyway); just an emptiness that, at first, terrified me, until I read a quote from a much loved book (which, needless to say, smacked me right in the face to get me back on my path towards inner peace):
“So love him.” “But I miss him.” “So miss him. Send him some love and light every time you think about him, then drop it. You’re just afraid to let go of the last bits of David because then you’ll be really alone, and Liz Gilbert is scared to death of what will happen if she’s really alone. But here’s what you gotta understand, Groceries. If you clear out all that space in your mind that you’re using right now to obsess about this guy, you’ll have a vacuum there, an open spot – a doorway. And guess what the universe will do with the doorway? It will rush in – God will rush in – and fill you with more love than you ever dreamed. So stop using David to block that door. Let it go.”
―Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love
I had come to a harsh realization, while sitting and moping in this nothingness: that I had been blocking this doorway for almost a year.
Blocking it with what though?
With my fear.
Fear of acknowledging the grief and guilt associated with my abandoned marriage.
Fear of embracing the emptiness and hurt associated with my failed love affair.
But, most importantly, fear of admitting that I had lost myself and my inner peace as the self-constructed chaos unfolded in layers, all around me.
Last year’s solstice actions were the epitome of passion and potential. While I am grateful for where they have brought me, and the lessons I have learned, I know that this solstice must be spent quite differently.
On this summer solstice, I plan to focus solely on renewal.
I spent this past month preparing for this moment and have a plan in place for living a life of renewal after the solstice has passed.
So what does a life of renewal look like? What does it entail?
First off, it shall not be ego driven. As comforting and tempting as it can be to live in a world revolved around me; I must remember that I am simply a small part of the vast, interconnected universe- and that although the Divine is in me, it is within all I interact with as well. By focusing solely on my wants, needs, desires- I will never be able to truly be at peace and embrace that Divine within.
Second, while I aspire to be not-so-ego driven, I must still have time for self reflection. With that being said, I will be journaling everyday (as I have finally restarted this practice in the past couple months). I will also be tapping into my creativity and inner authentic self through art and writing. In addition, I will be spending time in self reflection through stillness in meditation, as well as through being active in nature.
Finally, as it is renewal, I will revisit the passion and potential aspect of my life with a more loving, open, and self-aware eye.
With this last step I have come to the realization that passion is what you make of it.
While the term and sentiments are often aligned with romance- I hope to spend this year relishing in my existing passions (painting and drawing, cooking and eating decadent dishes, reading thought-provoking books, discovering and listening to soul-moving music, spending time with loved ones… ); while I also hope to discover new passions (stand-up paddle boarding, surfing, discovering new favorite books, music, people…)
This discovery of new passions is just a drop in the ocean of this year’s potential.
Already, I have begun to reconnect with old friends and family, as well as spend time with those amazing people recently brought into my life. This path of renewal has also caused a paradigm shift at work, which will undoubtedly unlock a series of possibilities. I have no doubt that the more I work on self renewal, the more potential the universe will offer.
So today, and the days leading up to and following this year’s summer solstice, I plan on spending some time to reflect on the passion and potential I hope to have in my life. But the actions I take today, and every day, will be those of renewal.
The night of the solstice I will be attending a campout and beach bonfire celebration with friends, both old and new; and appropriately so, as both water and fire are the ultimate symbols associated with renewal.
Just as life relies on the ever flowing well springs our Earth provides, and it has served for over a millennia as a symbol of rebirth; it should be said that, it is only after the mighty forest has been reduced to ashes that a new forest is reborn, and it is only after being completely engulfed in flames, that the legendary phoenix can spring forth, in all her glory.
So it is with this last bit of imagery that I leave you with, dear reader: that of a phoenix flying out of the ashes. I do hope you contemplate her, as you go forth on your own path towards self renewal.
Till next time.
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.”- Henry David Thoreau