Today is the Winter Solstice, the longest night and the shortest day of the year. The first year I really became aware of the significance on a spiritual level of this annual occurrence was shortly after my introduction to Feng Shui. I was on a trip to Canada where I discovered a book for children where it discussed this event in greater detail. The book also had several wonderful stories and activities to entertain children during these long nights and cold days when children are home from school.
From a Feng Shui perspective, Winter is a yin energy represented by the trigrams, or Gua's, of Chien and Kan; the elements associated with these two Guas are metal and water, respectively; and the areas of life associated with these are Helpful People and Life's Journey, which leads us to Our Life's Purpose - both of which bring wisdom to our lives. Let's look at each of these symbols in greater depth.
During the wintertime in the Northern Hemisphere we experience much of our stormy season. With an abundance of rain and snow, there is a tendency to spend more time indoors reading and contemplating life. Often people feel closer to their spiritual nature. There are several holidays and religious traditions celebrated from many different cultures during this season. It is a time of introspection.
Introspection often guides us toward elements about which we are passionate and in turn leads us to our purpose in life. In Feng Shui, this process is called "Our Life's Journey." How fitting the process of introspection often happens during this time of year associated with the Feng Shui symbol for discovering and following our life's purpose.
This time of year also seems to tug at our hearts a little more to be thoughtful of our fellow mankind by giving from our hearts whatever we can. Whether it is time, talents or treasures, the generosity seems to be more forthcoming. This is the essence of "Helpful People".
During the Winter Solstice we are drawn more closely to our center - our heart and soul - to bring forth our gifts to give to the world. We make decisions to help and be more kind, which are qualities of the element metal. We allow our emotions to flow more abundantly, which are qualities of water.
Which brings me to the "counting our blessings" part of this post. There are a couple of things I want to tie together here. First, a sense of gratitude for what we have in our lives. Second, the honoring of this time of year for the gifts it brings.
I recently re-read an essay on Pollyanna and her "Glad Game." If you don't know or remember the game, a young orphan named Pollyanna used the "Glad Game" to help her find the good in situations most of us would consider bad or not to our liking. She first played this game with her father before he died. When this tragic event happened, she was sent to live with her Aunt Polly, a wealthy and lonely spinster. The name Pollyanna "entered the English vernacular to describe irrepressible optimism."
During this economy and time of year, what a wonderful opportunity we have to play the Glad Game. Looking for the good in all that surrounds us. Or as Eleanor Hodgman Porter, the creator of Pollyanna, said, "Be Glad. Be Good. Be Brave." Words we might all take to heart.
"To Be Continued" in tomorrow's post since Winter Solstice spans two days this year in North America. (Winter Solstice happens at 12:35 am EST on December 22, 2011. The time zone in which I reside is 10:35 pm PST), so I've decided to spread this post out the two days. In this way I am honoring Winter Solstice and utilizing the energy. I actually am writing before, during and after the actual time of Winter Solstice.