Mindfulness of Nature

Solstice reflections: entering the fire, together

Dear friends,

The longest day of the year is upon us… Happy summertime to you all!

I’ve just returned from our “Mindfulness around the campfire: Celebrating the summer solstice” evening which I held here in Cambridge.

Thanks to all who joined me for another special evening of mindfulness, reflections, games, poetry and delicious fire-baked Bannock breads and honey!

This weekend, I’m departing for my first ever week-long silent ‘deep rest meditation’ retreat in the French Pyrenees. Before I go offline for it, I wanted share this poem by Mary Oliver that I read tonight around the campfire.


You can
die for it-
an idea, 
or the world. People 
have done so, 
their small bodies be bound 
to the stake, 
an unforgettable
fury of light. But 
this morning, 
climbing the familiar hills
in the familiar
fabric of dawn, I thought 
of China, 
and India
and Europe, and I thought
how the sun 
for everyone just
so joyfully
as it rises 
under the lashes
of my own eyes, and I thought
I am so many! 
What is my name? 
What is the name
of the deep breath I would take
over and over
for all of us? Call it 
whatever you want, it is
happiness, it is another one
of the ways to enter

In these social and political times where the “fury of light” may take hold of many of us in very understandable anger, frustration, protest, anxiety and division…

What if today instead we stood still (‘solstice’ comes from the latin ‘sun standing still’ as we pause in reaching the full maturity and abundance of light for the year) and turned towards receiving this light-giving star we all share, the trustworthy sun?

Perhaps we could open up to celebrate another – deeply natural and real -way for us to “enter the fire”? Not alone, not divided, but with a sense of true belonging, here, in our natural home, together?

If we “entered the fire” together, what might we then be moved to do?

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