I’d been asleep for about an hour, when my eyes gently opened. I was lying on my back, with my hands resting on my chest. Suddenly, in the core of my heart center, I sensed a feeling that is hard to describe. At once heavy and liberating, full and breathless, sinking and expanding. Something profoundly beautiful softly exploded in my heart. After a little while of witnessing, I went back to sleep.
I love Winter Solstice. Well, I love just about any nature-related event, holiday or observance. When the leaves fall, when the creek swells, when the days lengthen, when the darkness falls. This year I planned to observe Winter Solstice as a day/evening to celebrate our eternal inner light. This idea started as a response to the media’s apocalyptic frenzy, which started months ago. At first I mocked the “end of the world” hype, because I was quiet certain that 12/21/12 was not going to be the end. If anything, it would be a beginning – as all Winter Solstices are: the beginning of light returning.
Then, over Thanksgiving weekend, I heard a very serious NPR story about people who were planning their suicides due to their understanding of the 12/21 prophecy. I deeply absorbed that some people were feeling so much fear and pain that they could just call it quits. And instead of mocking the apocalypse, I started focusing my energy on sending compassion to those hurting beings. I stopped commenting on related Facebook posts, I outright avoided conversations about the topic. Because I wanted to focus on Ahimsa, on kindness, on compassion. Rather than on the hype and fear, or on those who claimed to know the real deal and sounded preachy. I was confident about my beliefs on the subject. So I chose to focus on sending light to the fearful.
On Friday, 12/14, a horrible tragedy struck Connecticut. I grieved – at the same time, I used the Yoga Sutras in order to show up for others. In the midst of debates and blame and outbursts and (again) fear, I focused on sharing compassion and on cultivating my own inner peace.
With so much pain and fear and darkness all around, I aimed to share light.
The evening before 12/21, I slipped up. I commented on someone’s Facebook post about the end of the world. They responded negatively. We discussed, we stated our cases, we battled. He de-friended me. We continued to dialogue via messages. We stuck with each other. We learned, we gained understanding. In the end, we reached total reconciliation. We healed. In my friend’s words, “We burned some samsara together.” Indeed we did. We fired up the light.
A few hours later, I participated on a group phone call with a beloved yoga teacher. The call started with a meditation and included a talk about 12/21 – the Winter Solstice, and, the Mayan Prophecy. My beliefs were reinforced – the world would not end; there would be a fresh beginning. Over and over, the teacher encouraged listeners to keep doing our inner work, our practices for self-awareness and transformation. To embrace the shadow, as well as the love and light. To heal ourselves and then our relationships. To do our sacred work and therefore be in service to all.
“More of the same!” I thought, happily. “Onward!”
About one hour later, my heart exploded.
Today, 12/21/12, the world did not end. I woke up and sat in the pre-dawn stillness. The city was at once silent and buzzing. This evening, I taught a wacky Winter Solstice yoga class with mood-brightening music and heart-opening poses. We practiced without lights, to prove that our inner light could not be darkened.
As I prepare to go to sleep, my heart feels at once silent and buzzing. There’s a little love explosion happening in there.