Happy Summer Solstice!
Today the earth’s tilt toward the sun is at a maximum in the Northern Hemisphere (happy winter solstice to our friends in the Southern Hemisphere), giving us the longest day and shortest night of the year.
Do you know why the summer solstice isn’t also the hottest time of year? This is because the water and land are still holding onto a lot of cold from the winter. As the water and land heat up – and sun-reflecting snow disappears, and spring clouds give way to more sun – the days continue to get hotter even though they’re also getting shorter.
Speaking of which, I find it interesting that although this feels like the beginning of the long days of summer, the days will actually be getting shorter starting tomorrow. Since today is the peak of day length, it’s also the start of the decline of light that will culminate in the winter solstice, the year’s darkest day.
How did you feel when you read the last paragraph? Were you disappointed to read about the days getting shorter? I know some of you thrive in the darkness and the winter, but many of us – even the winter-lovers – have a hard time with the idea of the sunshine diminishing (especially when it feels like winter just ended).
But the summer solstice is an ideal time to learn nonattachment and how to choose our internal orientation.
The ancient text, Yi Jing (or The Book of Changes), discusses the fundamental states of nature and how they represent all the phenomena and dynamics of human life. This moment is well described in the chapter called Zenith (hexagram 55). The book explains that while the zenith of any cycle is a time of abundance, achievement, and excitement, by definition it doesn’t last.
Whether it’s the solstice, the orgasm, or the moment when you blow out your birthday candles and everyone’s loving attention is directed at you, there’s nothing we can do to hoard or protect our peak experiences. The best way to retain the essence of these luminous moments is to be totally present in them: releasing any agenda; being fully engaged in the here-and-now; letting the energy flow freely through us and sharing the warmth and brightness with others. Conducting ourselves this way also ensures less of a comedown afterwards.
If you tend to feel attached to life’s peak moments and are reluctant for them to end, how would you describe the virtuous quality of the experience you have in these moments (which you may believe is otherwise lacking in the “normal” times after the peak subsides)? Abundance? Connection? Love? Peace? Unity?
Whatever the quality, I want to suggest that this quality is always within you. It just gets “turned on” when you feel the circumstances are magical enough to warrant it. But you are the one who chooses it. You turn it on.
It’s possible to change your orientation to this virtue so that you consciously operate from this virtue (for example, operating from an internal orientation of abundance) rather than treating it as something the world does to you when you’re lucky. Or something you can manipulate yourself, others, and the external world into delivering to you.
Believe it. Believe that change is possible – because it is.
Keep choosing it.
Over and over and over and over.
Keep choosing it.
Did I mention that this is something you need to choose and re-choose and re-choose?
Remember, you’re a creator and this is your central creative power.
And choose your orientation again.
As you notice a change, really notice the change. Tell yourself, “It’s working.” Journal about it.
Stay committed to it.
And when your ego suggests, “Ok, great, we can stop now,” tell it, “No thanks. I’m going to be this way forever. I’ve been waiting for this, and now it’s my new M.O.”
I’m happy for you.