Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Shortest Day

Today is the shortest day of the year, yet it stretched on like it had one hundred shadows.  

A shadow is an area of darkness where light is obstructed. A shadow is a silhouette or a reverse projection of the object blocking the light.

Maybe it's because I spent today brain-deep in cancer biology, but that sounds like poetry to me. A shadow is just an obstruction, a blockage. A shadow is a mere outline of whatever is blocking the light. And really, a shadow is the opposite of whatever appears in front of you, the opposite of whatever is between you and the light. 

It sounds a lot like fear.

Today, I did 108 sun salutations to celebrate the winter solstice. Fitting, because I am thinking about balance and centeredness in a completely different way than I have before.

I am wondering how long my heart will have shadows, how long it takes to see yourself clearly again when circumstances have changed so drastically. I already know the answer, but I can't recall it easily in the midst of change, so it waits for me, lurking.

Did you know that on the winter solstice, the sun does not rise at the North Pole—so you would have no shadow? And at the South Pole, the sun is up all day on December 21—so you would cast a shadow all day. So the size and very existence of your shadow depends on where you are, and when, and, presumably, with whom.

But tonight I was reminded that it depends quite a bit on the source of your light, too.

The number 108 has many symbolic meanings. Tonight's teacher shared one: the Buddhist belief that humans suffer and move through 108 human delusions in their lives. Buddhists believe that if you bow (or, in Chicago CorePower style, salute the sun) 108 times, you purify these delusions and as a result, find infinite capability and vitality of mind.

Delusions, I have many.

I am hoping my shadow might be one of them.

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