While the calendar year still has more than a week to run, for many of us, the Winter Solstice is a time of reflection, and marks the end of the year on a much older calendar. Half way between Samhain and Imbolc, the shortest day (and longest night) of the year is traditionally a time for renewal of hope -- in the certainty that the light will return, that the days will lengthen, and the power of the cold is slowly weakening (although often, some of the worst weather follows the solstice.)
This has been a year of many transitions and inflexion points, both for myself and some around me. I've learned a few lessons, and have had to grapple with some challenging topics, some of which are previous topics in my blog. Business has had its ups and downs (especially with the extreme delays in decision-making by some customers), but I haven't ever regretted leaving my last job, more than seven years ago, and running my own company (for the third time.)
Another characteristic of the solstice is that everything around us in Nature is showing signs of death or decay. Trees have lost their leaves, grasses and plants have died away, many birds and small animals have disappeared. But all is not what it seems, because we know that the green shoots of spring are not far away. Gradually, the ground squirrels and hedgehogs will come out of their hibernation, and the birds will return, along with the insects, frogs and lizards. I guess there is a lesson there, although it doesn't make it any easier to climb stairs, or get out of a nice warm bed on a chilly morning. Perhaps it's because we all have slightly different rhythms, and suspect the renewal of spring isn't always an option.
Still, I feel that our beliefs and internal dialog are important characteristics of making our journey through life a positive one -- the old Hermetic axiom, "As a man thinks, so he becomes."