Winter’s Essential Beauty

Winter’s essential beauty is calling to us as we stand at the threshold of the Solstice.

The Winter Solstice is upon us; the culmination of the dark and the promise of the burgeoning light.

For me the Winter Solstice has always been inspiring. It has always been a time beckoning me to celebrate my introversion and my love of solitude and reflection. This time of year, I also celebrate another trip around the sun. Another year older,  each birthday I feel what have felt since childhood, an irrepressible pull toward stillness, reflection and quiet.

I love the way the winter light has a mystical aura at both dawn and dusk, the way the frost lingers on each blade of brown grass, the possibility of a warm fire in the hearth, the way nature reminds us to slow down and rest. The way the life/death/life cycle unabashedly announces, “Here we are again, in the death part of the life cycle; how will you honor this time?”

This year my family has experienced both joy and grief.

We have celebrated the birth of my grand-daughter, hard-won accomplishments, and new beginnings.

We have also grieved and felt deep heartache.

Now that we come to the end of this year, I’ve been reflecting of my experiences and I’ve been asking myself, can I categorize any of my experiences this year as better or worse? Are the moments of celebration, birth and joy, deserving of more attention and of more value? Should I hope and pray that the painful experiences have a quick resolution and never, ever happen again? And I realize, that for me, the answer to these questions is “NO”.

For every experience, I have strived to be fully present, to engage with what was unfolding and to feel it fully. Whether it was the joy of birth or the deep sadness of loss, each experience reminded me of the fragility and strength in our human-ness. Every experience was asking for my tender compassion and mindfulness.

Of course we all desire to be free of pain and loss and grief. But what if that truly were the case? Without grief would we be able to know true joy? Without loss, would we be able to love so fiercely that our bones ache with it all? If life was a one-dimensional perspective of ease, would we be able to feel the power of gratitude? Would we be able to show steadfast unbreakable love to our loved ones whose hearts break?

The Winter assures us of the beauty in loss and death and grief. Not the kind of beauty that we eagerly look forward to, but an essential beauty. A beauty that requires our full commitment and embrace if we are to deepen our capacity to love, to trust, to hold onto hope.

This essential beauty of winter is a messenger reminding us that it is our daily task to love without reservation or fear. It implores us to remember that no matter how deep the grief and pain, the healing spirit is extending its invitation to be a faithful companion on our journey.

In a year that has held global grief and pain and personal grief and pain for us all, it is my hope that the eternal wisdom held within the Winter Solstice will be a profound source of comfort for us. I hope that Winter’s call for stillness and rest will offer restorative energy and the assurance of healing, love and peace.

For any and every experience this past year that has brought us to our knees, may we remember that the darkness cannot be separated from the light. That our winter seasons harbor, deep within, our infinite capacity to love; reminding us that the light always returns and we are unconditionally loved as we find our way back home.

Winter Solstice Blessings. May you find peace in the stillness of the darkness and hope in the returning light.


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Jane Ryan

Jane Ryan, M.A., LMFT, is a Licensed Couples and Family Therapist with twenty years of clinical experience. She specializes in intimate relationships, sexual challenges, sacred sexuality, and helping clients embrace their true erotic nature. She supports women in discovering their most radiant, vibrant and powerful feminine essence.