This solstice photo is a solid metaphor for 2021. Another pandemic year passed in a blur. A wild and dizzying rollercoaster ride.
My snap reaction to 2021 is that it was awful. Brutal.
It wasn’t all bad.
I shared special time with friends in Southern Illinois. And I achieved two bucket list items on a trip to Wisconsin with my husband- I witnessed a mass bird migration (alas, geese instead of cranes) and I waded in a cranberry bog!
That bog wading wasn’t my only first for the year.
2021 was a year of firsts: I received my first (second, and third) Covid vaccine(s), zipped down my first zipline, baked up my first batch of bourekas, completed my first fused glass project, took my first visit to Chicago’s Montrose Bird Sanctuary, sort of enjoyed my first skate on the Maggie Daley Ice Ribbon (and my first bruised rib). I also sawed down a Christmas tree for the first time.
But for every good moment, there were at least twice as many hard ones. My father passed away in November and all of the months leading up to that were trying, to say the least. The Covid whiplash and great divides in our country, the way the healthcare system, education system, and our democracy are crumbling in front of our eyes is distressing, daunting.
As I age, I’m beginning to redefine wisdom not in terms of knowledge, but in the ability to hold two opposing views and somehow manage to find or feel (a semblance, hopefully, of) peace.
Along those lines, I want to share these thoughts I recently spoke at a solstice event. They seemed to resonate with a couple of the participants, so I thought I’d share them here.
The solstice is a time of change. The time when the balance of dark and light shifts in the world and in our psyches. With a couple of the darkest days ahead, it’s a time to turn inward, think about adjusting our own sense of balance.
The ground may look fallow at this time of year, but the dead leaves beneath our feet are decomposing, an active, transformative process that will fertilize new growth. So must we transform.
As we open ourselves up to this rebalancing, this time of change, we must examine our darkness and tend to our anger. Meet it, examine it, learn from it, and, as necessary, resolve or release it.
Where do you meet anger in your life? As a woman, what has society taught you about anger? What can you learn from it? What changes might it fuel? How do you prevent anger from turning into a self-destructive force?
One way to tame it is to look beneath. Anger is often layered over grief.
And what is grief, if not love persevering?*
How do we hold on to love while allowing the harsh blows of grief and anger to pass through us? How do we work for change fueled by love rather than anger?
Or, as nature teaches us, how do we take shit and use it to grow something beautiful?
I closed with this mantra: A tough winter is ahead. I want to make choices that serve my body, my soul, and my relationships.
What is a wish for yourself/community/the world?
*This is a key line from WandaVision.