Today, December 21, is the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere. Today is also my dad’s birthday. Growing up I remember my dad referring to his birthday as the “shortest day of the year.” As a kid, I thought that meant there was less time in the day. I don’t know at what point growing up or even as a young adult that I realized that the Winter Solstice has the fewest daylight hours and minutes, that the sun rises later and sets earlier on this day than any other day of the year. And now I understand that the Winter Solstice is not only the shortest day, but also the longest night.
Late this last summer I had an “ah-hah” moment, a revelation, that I am light born OF and TO dark. My dad, who passed away almost 5 years ago this coming March, was a contracted soul – he was a very angry and abusive man. He lashed out with his hands and his words. I have a fire in me that gave me courage to stand up to my dad, to look the monster in the eye when he was full of rage, and when I did, I saw hate stewing in my dad’s eyes.
My dad was a very physically strong man most of his life. He was a championship wrestler in high school, college, and for the US Navy. He was both proud of the fact that he wrestled for a spot on the US Olympic team, beating his opponent twice, and sad that his loss the third time cost him a spot on the team. My dad used his strength and formidable presence to hurt people, especially with his angry words. My dad was a scary man and I learned years later, that the kids I played with growing up were afraid of my dad. Adults were afraid of my dad too.
The last 10 years or so of my dad’s life, his strength and his mind began to fade. He fought and resisted his decline, trying so hard to hold on, suffering through the nasty effects of muscular dystrophy. He died as a relatively young man at the age of 65. I feel and believe that in his passing, in his return to Source, that my dad has returned to the light and is no longer a contracted soul.
A universal teaching in many spiritual traditions says that we are made of light, that we are emanating light (measurable now through science, or so I’ve heard from my yoga teachers). I had a coca leaf reading in Peru this last summer and the wise and old Quechua healer who read my leaves said to me, “you are light.” I smiled hearing this, experiencing a moment of affirmation; I also smiled because I was hearing this familiar teaching in yet another tradition. I discovered this truth for myself, that I am light, one year ago during a light meditation when my spiritual and heart essence name, “Bright Joy,” came to me in a vision. Where my dad was dark and lived in darkness, I am light and chose to live in the light.
How do I live in the light?
I live with intention and my intentions are to be conscious and awake in my words and my actions; to be self-aware – to see my thoughts, my feelings, my words, and my actions with clarity and discernment; to speak skillfully in ways that are non-harming to others, that instead invite connection and evoke warmth; to act and be in this world in ways that are gracious and pure of heart (not selfish or greedy or jealous or resentful); to experience the world and others from a spacious place (to not judge or evaluate or condemn); to be kind and compassionate toward others and myself; to grow, expand, and deepen my capacity to love others and myself; to be generous with my love, to give without selfish motivation or expectations.
This week I’ve been reading, “Celestially Auspicious Occasions,” by Donna Henes, for inspiration for a Winter Solstice ceremony I am leading this evening. She writes, “The Winter Solstice is an anniversary celebration of creation” and represents “The Great Uterine Darkness.” At the Winter Solstice the sun stands still in its retreat in a pregnant pause and from the darkness light is birthed forth.
This idea of the sun standing still in a pregnant pause, of light being birthed from The Great Uterine Darkness, got me thinking back to my revelation that I am light born OF and TO dark. I started to think about my birth date in relation to my dad’s birth date and I began to wonder about my conception date. I had a hunch that I was very likely conceived on my dad’s birth date, on the Winter Solstice. I checked out a few websites with birth date-conception date calculators and guess what??? I WAS CONCEIVED ON THE WINTER SOLSTICE (or within days of December 21, but definitely during the pregnant pause of the sun).
I am the spark of life and light that was created by my father’s darkness in the great uterine darkness of my mother’s womb. I was born in the early afternoon on September 10 when the sun was shining high in the sky and when the moon was still bright and full. I am light born OF and TO dark. I was given the name Bobbi Jean, named after my dad, Robert Eugene. Yet…I am BRIGHT JOY.
HAPPY WINTER SOLSTICE!!! May you take time out today to honor the light within and welcome back the light without.