A sly gift it is, that on the year’s
shortest day, the sun
stays longest in this house–
extends the wand of its slow
slant and distant squint
farthest into the long depths
of our wintry rooms–to touch with
tremulous light, interior places
it has not lit before.
by Robyn Sarah
As we are coming closer to the year’s shortest day, ‘Solstice’ felt like a fitting poem for this week. Both in my own home and in the Salisbury Centre where the Edinburgh Mindfulness Association courses take place, I really notice this farthest reaching of the sun’s rays into ‘the long depths of our wintry rooms’. I love the gift of light and warmth even more for its briefness, drinking in its every moment to weigh against the long dark.
But I also have a sense of an internal version of this truth of the world at our latitude. In dark and difficult times, a brief moment of kindness or compassion can reach deep, and sustain and strengthen more generously than when a similar gesture comes on brighter days. It can be a hug or a “how are you?” that’s actually open to the answer, or a dropping in of the question “what do I need to hear?” and listening to the response of our own caring heart. I noticed a message from the Samaritans on the back of my train ticket the other day, saying: “Small talk saves lives”. Same principle…
A recent example in my life of this, was a moment of lostness and despair where right in the midst of it, my hands founds their way to my own heart – like we are invited to do when practising for example the self-compassion break. My hands only stayed there for a brief minute, but the gesture conveyed a real showing up to and care for my moment of suffering. It softened the bitter into bittersweet and it eased me into the rest of the day, more open to other signs of kindness along the way.
I hope you don’t have too many of these dark moments in your life. But when you do, I hope the sunshine of care and love will shine deep, to ‘touch with tremulous light, interior places
it has not lit before’.