All hail winter solstice–the longest night pierced by the greatest light. To me, this is truly the most magical day of the year, for to find our way out of such looming darkness we must summon extraordinary power. Miracles, in fact. Early Christians decided to celebrate Jesus’ birthday this time of year not just to override the pagans (blergh) but because they recognized that we must be most pregnant with faith when the sunlight is at its sparses, when the earth its most barren. This is the faith that creates nothing from something–that grants Mary her immaculate birth, that keeps the oil burning for eight days for the Maccabees. It is the same faith that reminds us love can subsume even the worst of black holes. Here, at this turning point of the year and of our country, on this hardest and holiest of days, we are in dire need of such faith. We must listen, we must light, and we must love. All my heart to each of yours.
Today I drank one gallon of water, four large pots of ginger and lemon tea, and a liter of orange seltzer. I ate two kale salads, a vat of ginger-chicken-garlic soup, and tons of Vitamin C. I slathered a jar of Vicks Vaporub on my chest, nostrils, and feet, which I encased in cozy fleece though I normally don’t wear socks even in the dead of winter. Also I took two salt-lavender-eucalyptus baths. Which is to say: I am so sick of being sick that I am admitting I am sick. I stayed home all day, treating my symptoms–napped, lit candles, meditated, shuffled my butt to James Brown (yep). Generally heeded what my higher self was telling me.
Body as alarm clock, ain’t it always the way.
Let’s call this malingering cold the Winter Solstice Detox, because it’s coaxing me into shedding 2018 toxins along with December 21’s tremendous energy release. Don’t get me wrong. The origins of the illness are hardly high-falutin’: late nights, too many cocktails, general dissociation. But they’ve been fueled by resignation, romantic rejection, false bravado, and I’m letting all that go–everything blocking my voice and heart from a bigger home in the world.
So how can you ready yourself to shine as the days lengthen again? What can you release? Friday is the darkest day of the year, and during that long, long night, bid farewell to everything keeping you in the dark. Then light a candle for everything you wish to make brighter.
Painting: Mickalene Thomas.