Hygge & the Sacred Pause

IMG_2652Happy Winter Solstice. Happy Longest Night, Darkest Day.

I love this day. I love the deep darkness both in practice and for what it symbolizes–we snuggle in with those we love most, pull close the things that comfort us, and go inward.

I’m a summer baby. I was born smack in the middle of the summer in Missouri, the hottest, most humid time of the year. I’m a Leo, child of heat and sunshine. And yet, my mom says I was born during an unusual cold snap, that they had to wrap me up in blankets to take me home because it was so chilly. Every year around my birthday there is a momentary break in the heat, a few days of respite.

I hated the summer when I was a kid. I loved the deepness of winter. I loved when the clouds began to hang low and dark in the sky and the yellow and orange of fall leaves stood out in stark contrast. I loved the smell of those leaves when they’d fallen and began to crumble and rot. Even better when the days grew dark in late afternoon, when the snow fell and made everything eerily quiet. We’d drink hot cocoa and tea and I’d wear flannel pajamas and snuggle under flannel sheets in our little old house. My sister and I would argue over roasting our rear ends sitting on the heat register. Eventually we’d share. I’d read endlessly.

The nine months of clouds and rain in Seattle never really bothered me. When we decided to move to Minnesota the common response was big eyes and grimaces.

Now that we’re here I keep reading these articles about the Danish concept of hygge. The idea is that instead of resisting the darkness and cold of winter, embrace it. Draw in what makes you feel cozy and warm. Surround yourself with warm candlelight, a crackling fire, a nice warm (preferably boozy) drink, a good book and someone you enjoy. Rather than complain about it, allow it to rejuvenate you in the opposite way the sun and daylight does in June.

The winter solstice always reminds me to go inward. I happily and comfortably curl up and consider my journey over the last twelve months. The darkness allows me to reflect. Tomorrow the days will begin to grow longer and I will start the process of looking forward once again. But for now, tonight I’ll tap into that hygge and take the sacred pause to be here now.


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