A certain day became a presence to me;
there it was, confronting me–a sky, air, light:
a being. And before it started to descend
from the height of noon, it leaned over
and struck my shoulder as if with
the flat of a sword, granting me
honor and a task. The day’s blow
rang out, metallic–or it was I, a bell awakened,
and what I heard was my whole self
saying and singing what it knew: I can.
by Denise Levertov
I wonder why we’re so quick to reach toward the Sun on Solstice.
Why do we dismiss the gift of the darkness?
Sipping margaritas under the summer sun is simpler. Much simpler.
I’ve read that the days leading up to Solstice are the most feminine of the year–a time of pause, of rest, of surrender. Winter’s yin to summer’s yang.
I need that.
Why do I fight it then? (Curse it, even!)
Why do I place a higher value on the expression on my yang than on the yin which necessarily conceives it?
This Solstice day is a dark one in New England. I’ve lit my tree and my staircase and my wreath to make Holy the darkness. In this week before Christmas, I’ve opted for extra yoga classes instead of the gym–seeking that which is slow and restorative to anything more invigorating.
My doctor calls, suggesting an upgrade with my progesterone cream–offsetting the havoc inflicted by my shifting hormones.
I’m hesitant to claim the relief.
Do I not deserve it? Wouldn’t I prefer to be my usual, satisfied self?
These are the questions I ponder in my therapist’s chair.
She tells me that some women say that it is their PMS self that is their truest reflection.
Am I an edgy, agitated, easily-irritated woman?
I can be.
Do I want to be?
I’m surprised to discover that, right now, I do. I prefer her. She fits. She has something important to say.
Annie Dillard writes that, How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.
This morning I wake in self-love, the first I’ve felt in weeks. Gone is my fractured mind and my ever-present angst. My body is tired, but I feel whole. Still. Contained. Embraced.
I open my computer, and watch as that changes. With each click of the mouse, my mind wakes to the day. My fingers speed over the keys, delighting in the rapid succession of taps. Despite this engaging stimulation, my wellbeing begins to fray.
When I click on my browser, I am at once overwhelmed by how many pages I work at one time. I close all but one, and then suffer the lack of efficiency.
I resist the urge to check email while a page is loading. I don’t scan Facebook. I stay present to the site that is open in front of me. Even though nothing is happening. Even though I am bored. Even though this is impractical.
I witness how my thoughts race ahead of my body. I bring them back. I am gentle.
Slowly my sweet sense of sanity fractures away. The phone rings. An email comes through. A Facebook chat chimes. The Christmas cd skips. I have to pee.
Had there been sun–or hormones–I wouldn’t have noticed any of this…
This is how I live my life.
This is its cost.
This is the darkness illuminating the price tag.
Kelly Salasin, December 21, 2011
To read more on self & the holidays, click here.