is author of Awake in the Wild. He has studied Buddhist meditation since 1984. He is a Spirit Rock meditation teacher and has led wilderness meditation retreats from Alaska to Peru. Mark is also a coach and therapist.
Following ancient traditions on this winter solstice, we will take this poignant time to retreat, slow down, and enter stillness, silence, and inner exploration. While the natural world appears to be dormant, the inner realms are alive with transmuting the passage between the old and the new. The solstice asks how we stand open hearted in face of the darkest night while holding faith in the returning light. On a practical level it is a time of sorting what wants to be released that is no longer serving our potential, and what wants to be called in to help us fulfill that journey.
Awareness and love (metta) are essential and beautiful aspects of any spiritual life. Awareness as developed through mindfulness practice leads to clarity, insight, and understanding. Love opens the heart, allows a kind embrace of ourselves, and connects us intimately with life. The fusion of love and mindfulness supports a compassionate response to the pain that we encounter in ourselves and in life.