The obvious choice for this week’s mindfulness focus is the summer solstice, which takes place mid-week.(1) (Although maybe I am just looking for a reason to post a picture of the Stonehenge I created in Minecraft, as I am quite proud of it.)
Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year and the day the sun reaches its highest position in the sky. In Latin, the word solstice means the sun has stopped. Each day after solstice, the sun will appear a little lower in the sky until Winter Solstice. This all has to do with the tilt of the Earth and how we perceive the sun moving across the sky.
So what does it mean to hold this event as a mindfulness focus for the week? Any celestial event is a good time to contemplate our place in the cosmos. We can make it part of our formal meditation practice or simply tune in throughout the week to remember we are tiny beings on a small planet traveling through infinite space. To me, this is humbling and helps me remember that life is fragile and not to be taken for granted. When I am feeling totally optimistic I think if people could truly grasp this concept, it would cure the rampant greed and mean-spirited-ness that exists in certain places.
Solstice also encompasses the concept of yin and yang. The heat from the summer sun will feel intense over the next few months. But there are actually fewer minutes of sunshine each day. The sun is receding at a time of intense heat. So the seed of the opposite (winter) has already been planted in what we see manifesting, a key tenet of yin/yang philosophy. When we hold this in our awareness it can help us remember that everything changes and cycles around.
Most indigenous cultures found ways to honor this solar happening. They understood that life on earth depends on this burning star we call our sun. We can find ways throughout the week to honor this connection as well. I’ll be heading to Bluff Lake Nature Center (2) with friends and family on Wednesday for a 5 AM Solstice Celebration, but I also plan to hold the solstice in my consciousness throughout the week.
For more information on my Mindfulness Focus Word Experiment, click here.
(1) The Solstice arrives in Denver on Tuesday June 20th at 10:24 PM. For everyone on the East Coast, it is Wednesday, June 21st, at 12:24 AM.
(2) I just want to go on record as saying, I love Bluff Lake, but it is more of a big pond than a lake. Having grown up on the Great Lakes, I have a certain expectation of what a lake should look like.