Summer Solstice is a particularly busy time for nature as the days lengthen and everything is taking advantage of the light to grow, forage and create. Before I recognised what it was, I sometimes found it a bit too intense – everything feels ‘busy’. But there is also lots to enjoy. The contrast between the short hours of night and the long hours of light could not be greater and this year it has got me thinking about polarities – how extremes can be difficult for people but also that those extremes have a lot to teach us.
Before I take you through my own meanderings with this, I wanted to share this video featuring Gabor Mate who speaks of how we can grow from our trauma and move into compassion for ourselves and others.
There were a great many gems but one that stood out in relation to what I have been thinking was his observation that:
‘As long as you don’t allow the fear to be there, you will always be working to get rid of it…what if you say, “The fear is there. I’ll let it be. There’s enough space for it to be part of me”?’
How often do we identify something we really hate (fear, anger, being seen as pushy, not being good enough, being unloveable, having dark secrets, being lazy…) and keep it as far away from ourselves as possible? We also do the same with what we want to be, so that it becomes something almost unachievable.
There is a whole different conversation to be had around where those beliefs come from and how they embed themselves in our lives but for now, just let us take a (very over-) simplified example:
“I am a lazy person – I wish I ran my own business”. They are two polarities. And the more we hate ‘being lazy’ the more we use our energy up on resisting it and the more obstacles we have to overcome. The other extreme is running our own business. How about getting our tax returns done on time before we start worrying about that? We can narrow the gap by not identifying ourselves with either extreme. We may be lazy sometimes and we may want to run a business in the future. What does being lazy have to teach us? It means that when we get to running our own business, hopefully we will get help with it, take breaks and not burn ourselves out. And those ‘lazy’ spaces are often a great incubation time for creativity.
Our journey could be to allow those polarities to come together at their own pace and with acceptance. We would not criticise a baby for not being able to run or do anything other than celebrate their transition from lying on their backs to completing their first egg and spoon race. As soon as we embrace where we are, rather than fighting it, we can take the step towards where we want to be with more freedom and ease.
A wonderful video by Teal Swan talks about how we are fragmented and seek unity. The fragmentation comes from our inner vulnerabilities which we develop strategies to hide. So, we might be sensitive but live in home where it is not safe to be sensitive so we become a ‘coper’ and tuck the more vulnerable parts of ourselves away. As we grow we are drawn to those who are in touch with people who express the parts of us we hide from ourselves. These people may aggravate us because they are able to be the bits of us that we are not able to be. In other words, they express the polarity that exists within us. Polarity is the same as magnetism – it is trying to draw the contrasting parts of ourselves together. The healing comes from seeing that we can integrate the parts of ourselves that we suppress or deny.
A beautiful tarot pack has a card called the Spiritual Warrior – the message of that card is that the real spiritual warrior is peaceful within and does not fight with himself or others. Our strength is allowing enough room inside ourselves to hold all of the different aspects of ourselves, without judgement.
As we go through the longest day it may also be worth remembering that solstice comes from the Latin words which translate to ‘sun stands still’ – at the peak of the extreme there is a still point, before we start to move in the other direction. Just as a pendulum has to reach a certain point before it swings back. As we become more integrated and fight less with ourselves, these oscillations decrease and our still points are reached more quickly.