As most of you probably know, December 21 - 22 is the solstice. For the northern hemisphere, where I am from, it is winter. For the southern hemisphere, where I currently live, it is summer. For the tropics, which I am right in the middle of, it hardly matters.
We don't have the same seasons here as those who live in the higher latitudes. The tropics move to a different beat: hot-and-wet, hot-and-dry. At the moment, we are in the middle of the wet. Every day, the humidity is 100%. In the mornings, the sun beats down. In the afternoons, the grey clouds move in and hang heavy over us until hopefully, finally, they break, and with a fit of thunder send their downpours crashing to earth. Rain on tin roof, that terrible din! Rain floods the streets, turning every pothole to a massive puddle, every garden into a paddy. In the tropics people don't hide from the rain - young boys play football (soccer) in the streets, gleefully splashing.
Last night, due to a mix-up with the conference room we use, I taught Yoga outside in a child-care space. From that sweaty, crowded space, you could hear the rain coming down softly amid the hum of engines and the shouts of children. As it grew dark, I lit candles to teach by. It was one of those classes where about 8 new people show up and you can see them struggling to keep up with the regulars, and it was hot outside, so I paused often and in one of those breaks we took a short seated meditation. I mentioned that it was the solstice and asked people to reflect on what it meant to them, and to think of all the things that may have happened or changed during this year, and things that they would like to have achieved or changed by this time next year.
Which gets me thinking, of course. So here are a few answers of my own.
*What does the solstice mean to me? The passage of time. I also like the solstice because it is a day humans have celebrated for thousands of years, since long before any of today's major religious holidays came to be celebrated at around the same time.
*What has happened/changed during the last year? This has been a big year for me! Getting my teaching certification was a huge dream that I had wanted to pursue for years. Re-connecting with my Ashtanga practice. Starting to teach regularly again. Finishing a job that I enjoyed and felt satisfied with. Moving on to a more free (self-employed... for now!) lifestyle that lets me make my own schedule. It has also had its share of sad events, with deaths both expected and unexpected, and happy events, with many new babies coming into my extended family of relatives and friends. And so the cycle continues. :)
*What do I hope to achieve by this time next year? To keep up my yoga practice and my teaching, and add more classes to meet the needs of the growing yoga community here. To hold workshops (already in the works for Jan/Feb!) and retreats. To keep my self-employed lifestyle while still managing to keep my bank account balanced!
What about you? :)