Songs for the Solstice


Today, December 21, is the winter solstice – the shortest day and longest night of the year here in Earth’s northern hemisphere. Many celebrate the Winter Solstice, a universally sacred occasion honored for centuries as a time to gather around a blazing fire, cheeks flushed and hearts warmed in soulful celebration. Lyndsey Scott, a prolific artist /yogi / yoga teacher who is also very much a plant-whisperer and song-seeder devoting her Self to “catalyzing the #restorativerevolution in the heartland of the U.S.” gives us songs for that fire and encouragement for finding your own voice, again and again. This is the first of what we hope is many contributions by this soul with such a gift for moving ours.

{{ Everytime i go into the darkness, i return with fistfuls of jewels }}

{{ Midnight velvet wraps all around me; stars glitter brilliant above }}

{{ Dreaming darkness: dreaming light }}



I’ve always loved to sing in the dark. When I lived in St. Louis my art studio was atop the fourth floor of an abandoned warehouse. To feel safe on the traipse up the dark stairwell, I wrapped my voice around me like a cloak and shield.  “Love, don’t worry. Perfect love casts out fear.”


But: cat got my tongue? Somehow, early November, after landing home from a month-long midwestern bike trek “songride”I stopped singing.  This was to my mental health like taking a solid break from teeth-brushing would be to my smile’s chagrin. I sorely missed my two co-pilots and our harmonies and deep kinship. Contrasting my small-town solitude and relative staidness with wild woman open-road spontaneity, I landed home bewildered in a fat heap of writhing existential questions. WTF am I doing Here capital H.  I dropped my guard, got sloppy, let fear swallow me whole, and quicksand sank into a stanky, bonafide funk ~ reliving familiar old patterns of self-hatey-doubt I thought I’d long-since outgrown. MayDay! MayDay! My tools aren’t working!   Full on health scare skin-flare, Netflix-binging, sleeping-bag hiding, woe-is-me kind of Who Turned Out the Lights.  Freaking the fuck out. Stuck in the mud.


Until……..but……. Wait.  Ahaaa. I know this place.  Feeling along the walls in the pitch black. Smell of wet earth and pregnant pause.  Lost form.  Eyes wide.  Let go. DON’T KNOW.  It’s the Fertile Void!  At our Kripalu YTT, they mapped the cycles of spiritual growth in a cute diagram, and voila:  it’s that aptly named space between the total chaos of old paradigm breakdown and the emergence of the next new. ”Hello darkness, my old friend.”  Erase the whiteboard.  Burn the plan. “It may be that when we no longer know what to do,  we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.  The mind that is not baffled is not employed.  The impeded stream is the one that sings.” Wendell Berry


I remember my first indicator toward the gift of this place, as a 22 yr old in a punk house collaging an Adbusters mag that had the same exact pic on each front and back cover captioned differently: “I’m having an emotional breakdown.” &  “I’m having an emotional breakthrough.”  Behold the choice that rests in us to Wait and See. To gather our bravery, let go defenses, melt definitions, and get acquainted with the night.

When I finally opened my mouth and sang in savasana at the close of a recent yoga class, a student commented afterward: “What happened to your voice? It changed. It gave me goosebumps.” Maybe because I was drawing up the pain, singing from the hope but also the shame.  “…..Not the pretty, pretty, pick me, pick me dance /  But the claw our way back into the belly / Of the sacred, sensual animal dance / The unhinged, unplugged, cat is out of its box dance / The holding the precious moment in the palms of our hands and feet dance…..Jewel Mathieson


Longing links us. With our squishy humanness so very exposed, we get to learn that we are lovable in this, our messiest mess.  And because deep calls to deep: we magnet the same sacred, broken brilliance from those we encounter.  “Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”  ― Brené Brown


{{ to go in the dark with a light is to know the light,

to know dark – go dark – go without sight.

And find that the dark too blooms and sings –

and is travelled by dark feet and dark wings }}



Happy Solstice.  The dark in me honors the dark in you.  May we hold space for each other, for the terrifying legs of the hero’s journey we can only go alone.  May we brave to receive the gifts of these uncharted edges, and return so bold to overflow the riches earned. May we know fully, even as we are fully known.

Lyndsey Scott: Born and raised in Rantoul, IL, Lyndsey is no stranger to the strange, plain beauty of small town spaciousness. After studying painting at the University of Illinois, she fled to St. Louis, MO for a decade of community art & rambunctious collaboration, letting kids nurse back the creative soul that art school stole and letting the south side streets be the hard knocks school of social justice. One healing crisis, two superhero bike tours, a yoga teacher training, and a permaculture design course later, she followed insistent gut-tugs to move back and rekindle the home fire. Led by embodied inquiry: “What does earthspeed, restorative culture feel like from the inside?” ~ she weaves a hyperlocal web with song, gardens, yoga, circles, and art — catalyzing Beloved Community and playing attention to choose together the vibrant stories we most hope to embody.

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