December 20-21 marks the time of the Solstice–the shortest or longest day of the year, depending on which hemisphere you’re in. Here in the high desert of New Mexico, our short, sunny days are punctuated by long, cold nights. Snow caps the mountains at the higher elevations, and the dogs and I are enjoying winter hikes in the stately ponderosa pine forests.
I find this time of year in the northern hemisphere to be one of deep contemplation, stillness, and quiet. In my reflections this year, I’m filled with immense gratitude for all of the gifts of my life, for the precious beauty of our Earth and all she holds, and also a sense of deep grief about the tremendous suffering and pain in our world. Suffering is a part of life, as many spiritual traditions remind us, and if we can hold our own suffering, we can also hold and be present to the suffering of others.