Thoughts At The Winter Solstice

I often feel that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do all that I want and need to do. I imagine that you sometimes (or often) feel the same way. For most of us, the holiday season adds one more layer of busyness to our already full lives. At times like this, I remember the wise words of Mother Teresa, who encouraged us in moments of difficulty to begin again, to stay on task and to focus, always remembering to love fully in every moment. In this way, moment-by-moment, we create our destiny.



In one of my favorite quotes from Mother Teresa, she said, “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” As I reflect on her words, I let go of concern about all that I have to do. I focus my attention on the present moment, and I remember that I have plenty of time for what is most important—because what is most important is simply to love.

Again, I recall the words of Mother Teresa: “I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?’ rather he will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?” This, for me, is the essence of a life well lived. No matter how busy my life, I can take the time to approach all people and all situations with a loving heart.

In this very modest way, we change our relationship with time, our relationship with others, and our relationship with ourselves. Bringing ourselves back to the present moment, over and over again, and remembering to love everything and everyone in this moment is the simplest and most direct way to transform not only ourselves, but also the world.

The cold, dark days of winter are a natural time for inner reflection and introspection, and a time to replenish our physical, mental, and spiritual energies. This period of restoration provides the space for dreams and opportunities to arise and be nourished. Taking time in winter for quiet reflection and meditation is a gift of love to ourselves that will replenish us for our work in the world. If we use this time well, living in harmony with the season, we then will have the energy to move outward into the world when spring comes, and everything begins anew.

As this year ends, let each of us take a moment and celebrate all that we have accomplished in our lives up to the present, and especially in the past year. At the same time, let us leave thoughts of failure and regrets behind, with the understanding that it is the times when we struggle that we are stimulated to grow and change. Could it be that the times that have depressed, frustrated, and disappointed us were intended to elevate and enlighten us? Yes, for we gain strength from those experiences. In emerging from challenging experiences, we feel a sense of renewed faith and hope.

All of us are blessed by sharing this life, and by the unique gifts that we bring to one another simply by being ourselves. Let us bring this year to a close by remembering to love one another and ourselves, and let us prepare to move forward into the New Year with deeper understanding, compassion, and a loving heart.

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