Finding Empowerment and Renewal at Solstice

December 26, 2011 by  

As I begin to write this, today is the start of Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. I used to dread this time of year when the days are so short, the nights are so long, and there is so much darkness. Depression would set in. Irritability, crankiness, weariness and even despair.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that a conversation with a new friend helped me to see the benefits of the Earth’s darkness and of going within. She showed me how this time of year could become a time of renewal.

Pinwheel Girl Solstice Candlescape 2011

In repsonse I created new traditions for spending my time around these short, short days. I began to keep things simple. I started eliminating extra tasks and activities. Instead I began spending more time in reflection, meditation, journaling, and rest.

Now, because of that new way of thinking and seeing, I look forward to Solstice, the shortest day of the year, as an opportunity to light candles, reflect on what I have come to know and learn over the past year, and begin an invigorating renewal process that lasts through New Year’s Eve.

This year I turned 50 years old and I was quite excited. I decided to celebrate with my son, a few friends, and family members in Puerto Vallarta with a special dinner party on the beach in Banderas Bay. It was a beautiful evening of good food and drinks, merriment, toasting, good conversation, sharing and creating memories, making new friends, strengthening bonds, and, of course, plenty of candlelight.

Solstice ignites love and light ~ from within

My motto has always been to live with open eyes, an open heart, and open arms. It has served me well and allowed me to remain agreeable and curious about new experiences and opportunities as well as resilient and strong enough to weather the disappointments and tragedies.

I was so happy the day of my birthday celebration and I will never forget that night. A multitude of candles lit our beachside table just as they now light my Solstice evening table. And a multitude of stars lit up the dark sky of the hot Mexican night just as they now do here in Chicago’s black mid-December evenings. It occurred to me that despite any of life’s disappointments I had fared and survived over the last 50 years, living with open eyes, an open heart and with open arms is the way I will continue to live for the next 50 years.

I firmly believe that this is the best way to a fully lived life — an open heart causes you to open your eyes. Open eyes cause you to open your arms. Open arms allow you to be able to both give and receive.

As I saw the candlelight flickering on everyone’s faces surrounding me at the dinner party, dozens of other faces flashed in front of me also — my parents, the faces of so many other family members, cherished friends and colleagues, and of course people who have been in my heart so deep and for so long they are there now forever and ever. And so through tearful eyes filled with happiness and gratitude, I toasted my birthday guests with this idea of openness.

Light can do that to you. It has a way of making things stand out so clearly.


As I sit here now surrounded by my Solstice candles, I can still see the candles from my birthday party dinner table. Light is a powerful source of energy for healing, reflection, memory, hope, prayer, thankfulness, relationship, and so many of the other truly good things in life.

A long time ago, when I was a very young woman, a young girl really, I used to think that it was the other person who was the source of light in a relationship. Over the years and many relationships of many different kinds later I’ve come to know for sure that I am also a source of Light in a relastionship. We reflect it off of each other. It bounces back and forth between us. It can be truly awesome and of the rarest kind of reflection — illuminating, ecstatic and radiant. It can also be frenetic, energetic, kinetic and a little daunting. Sometimes dim, low and calming, settling, and easy. Light takes many forms between people relating to one another.

I know you...You're an original ~ Stay focused on your Light

I realized that it took me a very long time to give myself credit for the Light I brought to a relationship. That’s what Solstice can do for you.

It can help you learn how to focus on your own Light and rejoice in that.


I have found that some people cannot handle my special brand of Light. I have also learned to just forgive them for that. It’s easier on everyone that way. Including me. I prefer to be happy and forgiveness helps me be happy.

The Light of the Solstice candles give me so much comfort and peace. I know that Solstice is about how the Light of the sun is coming to the earth in more and more quanitites as the days get longer and longer from this day forward. So I like to think about how this is the same for me too.

More and more Light is coming.

The Solstice candles also help me think about how sometimes I have felt alone and in darkness, despairing and grieving for certain things I couldn’t identify. And I also knew that I was grieving for relationships that ended — and rightly so — but still the endings felt so horrible. I thought about how so many could not take the leap and preferred instead to give in to fear and to keep the surprise of their emotions under wraps. I thought about how so many seemed to truly want a connection but just didn’t know what to do to break through some mysterious confinement.

The Solstice candles remind me that darkness is just the other side of Light. It’s not that bad though it seems so at the time.

Darkness serves many¬†purposes — one of which is to make the Light shine brighter.


One thing I know for sure is this…that when you leap, it’s not that bad, there’s usually a net waiting for you. Most people are so afraid to leap. That’s where the open heart comes in handy.

Solstice encourages you to go within and embrace what is calling you

I say a prayer for those who have left encouraging them to live with open eyes, an open heart, and open arms. I say a prayer for those who are still here me — in person and deep in my heart and spirit — and I wish for them the same thing.

I realize that my destiny is not tied to someone who leaves. Or to someone who can’t love me. It’s always connected to those who stay the course, those who do love me, those who can stand in the Light — my personal brand of Light — and not be blinded by it.

I look at the Solstice candles and think “The Light is coming.”

And then I also hear myself say “The Light is always here. It always has been. Within.”

I whisper to myself and to each of you:

“Stay focused on your¬†Light.”

My wish for you is that you embrace every ebb and flow. That you feel the full breath of possibility. That you listen to what is calling you. ~ Kelly Rae Roberts

To learn how to make a Solstice candlescape and to read more about Solstice empowerment, click here.

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