Dr. Laurie on our stopping to dream and ponder. And a poem

You will receive this post as we move swiftly through the days to the winter solstice.

In the northern hemisphere, this means we are crossing the threshold into shorter nights, and more daylight. It always feels like a momentous threshold, when we can almost feel the machinery of time and seasons moving us forward.

If we stop to pause and receive it, it is liminal time and space, that liquid moment where anything can shift. We are invited once again to contemplate, dream, ponder who we are, where we have been in the past months, and who we set our hearts to be.

For those of us who live with chronic illness, this space to stop and ponder is all the more important. It is easy to get caught in the culture’s story of what illness means. It is easy to get caught in the medical machinery and its definitions of health and sickness. We can lose our way – our unique voice and insights, and our sense of how wholeness and meaningful life are best defined on our own terms.

It is always a choice.

How shall we choose to live? Yes, there are not  choices about everything. Our bodies may be fragile. We know pain and limitations. But we always have the choice to create meaning, and allow ourselves to live large. Sometimes that invitation comes through illness, when we find we have things to share, or policies to change, or truth to tell that we never knew before.

This poem is an offering to us in this time between the solstice and the new year. It is a good time to think about the choices we have made, and the ones we want to make for the next year.

I know that your voice and heart and wisdom are needed. Your creativity and joy and whatever work you do and however you live – make it strong. Allow your light to shine and your power to rise. You have that choice.

Tree by Jane Hirshfield

It is foolish

to let a young redwood

grow next to a house.

Even in this

one lifetime,

you will have to choose.

That great calm being,

this clutter of soup pots and books.

Already the first branch-tips brush at the window-

Softly, calmly, immensity taps at your life.

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