The Summer Solstice: Standing Still
I’m writing this newsletter on the day of summer solstice, June 21st. I notice a lot of my friends in the Lower 48 aren’t as familiar with this observance, but here in AK, we luxuriate in the apex of the long of hours of sunlight. The term solstice is derived from the Latin sol (“sun”) and sistere (“to stand still”) that is, the seasonal movement of the Sun’s daily path (as seen from Earth) stops at a northern or southern limit before reversing direction. That standing still, that pause in our relationship to the light always intrigues me whether winter or summer solstice. In this busy time, especially when the salmon are running, gardens are growing and mountains need hiking, there is a celestial pause.
In this pause, I want to honor the light you bring into our communities with your dedicated listening. The way you still fill the shifts every week, the way you still withhold judgment, the way you still see the person behind the facade, the way you still find an inner quiet that waits.
We have done this listening a long time now, but I never want to take it for granted or lose the awe of seeing your compassion. I tell others about you so often, in general, without names, but when I sense someone really wants to know what the Listening Post is, I speak of you, in 9 places for nearly 11 years. I tell your story and I can almost see their heart open just hearing it.
Today I consulted with Ruth McDonald in Barrie, Ontario who set up a Listening Post at the Busby Center there, a place that coordinates resources for the homeless. I’ve been talking with her for 6 months or so and just this past month, after lots of hurdles, just as we had, they opened! She asked that I tell all of you hello and thank you. Hearing our story gave her the courage to go forward with her own vision for listening in her city. x The last time a big Canadian network picked up the story and came to interview her and one of the visitors. The interviewer asked the visitor what it’s like to be listened to and she said, “It make me feel good.” And then told him her story of singing at her friend Ruby’s bar in the past and launched into a country western song for him!
I take pause to remember the visitors who have sang for us, recited poetry, played a musical instrument, wrote down a story or brought us little gifts.
I take pause for those who smile and give us a thumbs up as they pass our chairs. I stand still in the ways humans connect to other humans and how we foster that natural miracle in our own unique way.
Happy Solstice everyone. Listen as the sun stands still!
With love, Marcia (subbing in for Avie–don’t worry she’ll be back next week!)