I went to pick a friend up recently to go out to dinner. As we walked to the car, he remarked on the fact that it was still light outside. Sure enough, even on that chilly, cloudy late afternoon, it was still daylight. Wasn’t it just yesterday that dusk settled on the city by this time? In the northern hemisphere, winter begins on December 21, winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. By mid-January, we are deep into winter and spring seems a long way off.
And yet, on the second day of winter, the very next day after the dark solstice, the light quietly begins to return as the days start their gradual lengthening. How interesting that as we enter the season of cold, while bears sleep, the rains come (in Oregon anyway), fires crackle in the fireplace, and we all hunker down, the light is coming, bringing the promise of sunny days and summer evenings.
I thought about the yin yang symbol, the circle with the two curving shapes, one white, one black, in perfect balance and harmony. In the fullest part of the black shape is a small white circle, and in the fullest part of the white shape is a small black circle. Both small circles remind us that the seed for each shape is contained in the other.
Like the seasons. The seed of summer appears in the very beginning of winter as the light lingers longer in the cold, cold days. Likewise, the seed of winter is planted on the first day of summer as the light begins to softly fade, unnoticed as we enjoy walks in the park and iced tea on the porch.
Like summer and winter, joy and sadness come in their seasons. Within each is the seed of the other. We can no more stop their cycle than we can hold onto summer and keep winter at bay. Yet we try. And thereby cause ourselves so much suffering.
As one who was a big believer in the emotional version of daylight savings time, I tried so hard to hold on to the heels of the happy times, bargaining and pleading for just a little longer. The times of sadness were not even acknowledged, but instead denied, ignored, swept under rugs of fantasy.
It didn’t work. I got tired and gave up. Now the seasons come and go, each one bearing its own precious gifts, each one welcomed and invited in for tea.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven. –Ecclesiastes 3:1
10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place (and Staying There) is a program to help us develop habits to grow a joyful spirit. Many of us sabotage our happiness by habits that we might not even be aware of. Identifying and changing these habits can build a reservoir of well-being to enhance our happy times and sustain us during challenging times.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Seasonal Yin Yang
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Wonderful post Galen.ReplyDelete
Nature does have a beautiful way of connecting everything - from the seasons to the day-in-day-out complexities of life. Things do happen for a reason, and finding that reason is why we are alive.
Alex, Beautifully said. Thanks for your comment.Delete
I am so thankful for the seasons....winter makes me appreciate spring and summer and summer makes me appreciate fall and winter...all seasons are necessary to initiate growth and to maintain that life hidden from the visible eye...ReplyDelete
Rhonda, I lived in the tropics near the equator for five years. I loved my time there, but it was so disorienting not to have seasons. Well, I should say, not to have the seasons I was familiar with. There was the rainy season, the hot season, and the dry season. I was always having to figure out what time of year it was in my four season mindset! Thanks for your comment.Delete
Galen: Nice post. I live my life with the goal of balance with Nature. One of the things I like about your blog is that I identify with your posts. As long as you remain positive, the seasons will reward you.ReplyDelete
JJ, I'm so pleased that we are so sympatico! Thanks for commenting.Delete
I can't imagine life without enjoying nature. I have acquaintances who like to walk, cycle and jog but never look around them.ReplyDelete
While I need to exercise and like to walk... I get distracted by a new leaf, bird, animal in someone's yard, litter ... the wind and sounds.
Don't know what this makes me... ADD, I think so... ;) and I don't get the kind of exercise 'they' do.
But today... an absolutely gorgeous day... feeling blue and mad at me for feeling blue! made me get up and get out ... there was a line of white -- well? they look like seagulls but this is the Arkansas River! ... anyway they were lined up floating along with the current... just beautiful
I'm better now... ;)
Carolyn, Sometimes just stopping and looking around us like that can lift our spirits. Thanks for your comment.Delete
I completely understand where you are coming from. My husband mentioned just recently that when we were younger, We could not wait for the seasons to hurry by. Then as we got older we are just trying to enjoy each day as it comes and not hurry the bad days. We just have learned to make the best of all the days we have.ReplyDelete
Bonnie, I know, I used to want to rush through winter. Now I'm just happy to be alive in any season! Thanks for commenting.Delete
Lovely post! A sense of reflection and mood with each changing season.ReplyDelete
Cynthia, Thanks for your comment.Delete
life is all about changeReplyDelete
thank you Galen :)
farouk, So true. One of the phrases we contemplated in Shambhala training was "Everything is impermanent."Delete
I love how you make me realise that it is ok to go through sad spells from time to time, and instead of trying to fight them, we should embrace them, give them space, because happier feelings are already growing and preparing to emerge.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing this enlightening thought!
Beliza, So glad this was meaningful to you. Thanks for your comment.Delete
so well said.....have a gentle week out there....this week...ReplyDelete
Sarah, Thanks. You, too. PS--So do you go by Sarah or Nikki?Delete
I do believe the seasons keep us on track....this winter though, I'm thinking so far with the carefree ease that it has displayed that all this goodness and cheerfulness that I'm soaking up everyday right now....should really make an enormous difference for this year ...don't you think?ReplyDelete
Karen, Absolutely! I think when we soak up joy, it fills our takes and we have a reservoir for the dry times. Thanks for commenting.Delete
So much to *love* in this reflection..feels so gentle as I read and receive the message.ReplyDelete
In life, I practice unfolding--honoring natural cycles in life, allowing each moment to flow to the next. We tend to resist that which we think will "hurt" (winter, sadness) but in releasing resistance we release the expectation of "perceived pain" giving us the freedom to celebrate what the season/feeling offers instead. As an example, from such a place of gratitude, I love the feel of the crisp air on my skin, and allow it to touch me rather than layer against it.
Joy, Well said. Thank you for the lovely comment.Delete
My dog walk today was accentuated with the repeated phrase, I am so happy to be taking each step along the way - after three miles I can inside and was changing my shoes and the thought became clear...the seed of being contented is resolving my issues with money - When I attempt to ignore money - it does not work...and I start a war...ReplyDelete
Nice writing and I am enjoying the return of the light very much...especially during the power outage! when I could read longer by the window each day.
thank you for sharing your wise words
Patricia, Ignoring things rarely works well for me. Sounds like you had a very mindful walk. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Yes, the world does go around and we have the seasons. In the spring we are always ready for summer, in the summer waiting for the beautiful colors of fall and than the winter snow. I guess I would say I like all the seasons, but do look forward to the changing of them.
They all have there good points. There is nothing like cuddling on a cold winter night and there is nothing like lying in bed on a warm summer evening with a breeze blowing throw the open window.
Thanks for the walk down the lane with the changing of season. It makes me smile.
Blessing to you, Galen,
Debbie, I'm smiling, too, thanks to your comment.Delete
Beautifully written, Galen. I have noticed longer days here in the desert. Sunset is already 30 minutes later than it was in late December. Now it is light enough enjoy an early dinner (5-5:30) outside. Since I need sunshine to feel my best, this is important to my moods and productivity.ReplyDelete
Bob, Loved your description of your weather in your current post. Would love to bottle a bit of that sunshine and bring it up here. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Is it wonderful the God is in control. I love nature just for that very reason; it testifies their is a God. Thanks for a lovely post and I learned something new today.ReplyDelete
Blessings to you for your thoughts today.
LeAnn, Nature is our best evidence of the basic goodness of the universe. So generous and beautiful. Thanks for your comment.Delete
Beautifully said Galen- yes for everything there is a season - turn, turn, turn...ReplyDelete
Summer- winter / hot - cold - oxymorons in life....
In love and light to all the seasons of our lives,
Nancy, Now I'm humming that tune in my head! Thanks for commenting.Delete
I always want to run from winter's short days. We've traveled three times so far this year. Maybe I'll be grown up enough some year to sit with the days and appreciate them.ReplyDelete
Ha! I think travel is a very grown up thing to do! I've been keeping up with your adventures on your blog. Have a wonderful time in South America.Delete
thanks Galen, what a good correlation! can relate well especially to your last two paragraphs...not sure I've invited "winter" emotions to tea quite yet but am working on their invitationsReplyDelete
as ever, blessed by your site, thank you!
Nan, Thanks for the kind words. "Winter emotions"--I like that.Delete
This is something I've newly discovered - that I can snuggle in the custody of sadness and relax knowing that it will pass.ReplyDelete
Kara, That discovery will ease your passage through difficult times. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Oh Galen.....As always I am inspired by your writing. Yin and Yang always striving for balance....at least in my life that is the case. Trying to embrace the sadness as well as the joy.....they are both ALWAYS there.ReplyDelete
Jo, Yes, they are, and are often more closely related than we realize. Thanks for your comment.Delete
Galen, as always, you write beautifully. You are a master storyteller with the gift of weaving life lessons into your posts. Keep the inspiration coming!ReplyDelete
Evelyn, You are a master commenter! Your kind words are so lovely. Thank you.Delete
I needed this Post my Friend... right now we're going through our sadness cycle and at times I find myself struggling with keeping in the Fruits of the Spirit during times when I feel under resourced and overwhelmed. Instead of just 'feeling it' and recognizing that this too is a part of Life that has lessons to be learned, mostly about myself... there is nothing that brings clarity to character like troubles... or as my Dear Old Dad used to say, "Nothing sorts people out quite like Trouble!" He was right.... *winks* Right now The Man is Hospitalized yet again which always puts the G-Kids in flux and rather beastly due to their fears and stress of it all... and I'm so weary that I don't always lead by example during the toughest of times... I have learned that I need to definitely work on that.ReplyDelete
Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian
Dawn, I can hear the fatigue and the sadness in your words. We lead best by example when we are honest about what is true for us. Kids learn not to be afraid of difficult feelings if they see that adults have these feelings, too, and can model how to cope with these feelings in a healthy and self-caring way. Your dad sounds like a wise man, who is clearly loved by his grandkids. Blessings to you during this season in your life.Delete
I too have been noticing how the light is arriving earlier in the evening! I was very moved by your analogy to the seasons of joy and sadness. To simply accept life unfolding in all its seasons is really the ultimate letting go and acceptance. May we all reach this state of equanimity!
Sandra, Yes, I share that wish for us all. Thanks for commenting.Delete