On the Side of the Good

Celebrating and seeking all things on the Side of the Good. Humanity at its Best.

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Stand Still

Here it comes! The Longest Night of the Year is upon us. The darkest and quite often the coldest night is coming! The night when Legend tells us that ancient gods and goddesses were born. The Egyptian goddess, Isis, delivered Horus, the winged Sun, during the Winter Solstice. The Japanese Goddess of the Sun, Amatersu was also born on the Winter Solstice. As was Saturn, the Father of Time. The Hindu goddess of Knowledge, Sarasvati was born, you guessed it, on the Winter Solstice.

Solstice is Latin for “Sun standing still.” The Ancients believed it was a time for Visions. The word Yule is derived from a word meaning birth or rebirth of the god of Light in fire’s form. Ancient and modern Yogis practice 108 Sun Salutations on the Solstice to acknowledge the changing world around us, and to set an intention. 108 is a mystical number—there are 108 names for Shiva, a Hindu god and there are also 108 names for Buddha. There are 108 prayer beads on both a Tibetan Mala and on a Catholic Rosary. 108 is the Chinese character for “man’. There are 108 Vedic texts. The distance between the Earth and Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Sun. (And my little boy will tell you THE most important 108—are the 108 stitches on a baseball.)

So why is there all of this mystical fascination with the Sun Standing Still, this Winter Solstice? Is it because we, like the Ancients, need to stop and ignite more love and warmth inside of ourselves? Is it because we all seek balance? Do we need a beacon of Hope when Life is Darkest?

Perhaps it’s a reminder to enkindle what brings us Life, Joy, and Light. Perhaps it’s the cosmos reminding us that if the Sun can stand still, so can we. During the Darkest Night, we have an excuse to draw closer to those we love and just Be Still. We can snuggle close to that which brings us enlightenment and appreciate its warmth. In the darkest times, we learn the most about ourselves. At the tender age of 87—the winter of his life—Michelangelo proclaimed, “Ancora Imparo!” which means, “I am still learning.” As we stand still for the Solstice we can set an intention to draw closer to those we love, to those we treasure, to those who teach us about ourselves--to those who bring the Light.

Why We Travel

On Imported Blog

 

One of the most introspective pieces on travel. This is a repost of the original article featured in Salon.

By Pico Iyer

'We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again — to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.

The beauty of this whole process was best described, perhaps, before people even took to frequent flying, by George Santayana in his lapidary essay, “The Philosophy of Travel.” We “need sometimes,” the Harvard philosopher wrote, “to escape into open solitudes, into aimlessness, into the moral holiday of running some pure hazard, in order to sharpen the edge of life, to taste hardship, and to be compelled to work desperately for a moment at no matter what.”

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