The Compass Blog

The Winter Solstice: A Time of Reflection and Hope

Patty Ceglio

The Winter Solstice – December 21 – is the day of the year with the fewest hours of daylight, and it marks the start of astronomical winter for the Northern Hemisphere (and Summer for the Southern Hemisphere). After the Winter Solstice, days start becoming longer and nights shorter as Spring approaches.

The Winter Solstice is considered a turning point of the year in many cultures.

For Seasonal Employees and Job Seekers, this time of the year is also a relevant turning point. If you’re working a Winter Seasonal Job, you might be just opening doors to guests, pinning your name tag on your new uniform and trying to remember how to clock in!

Summer Employers are just beginning to dust off their recruiting messages and stare at 2021 Staffing Plans. Those hoping to work in a Great Place for Summer 2021 are watching CoolWorks daily and checking out the possibilities.

Did you work a REALLY interesting summer gig? Maybe you took a step back either because you made that decision or your employer did, or when Mother Nature voiced her opinion during the long and harsh wildfire season? Given the challenges that Summer 2020 presented, you might be A.) exhausted and enjoying a break after a long summer of  B.) crazy ready to move on, C.) anxiously awaiting this year’s tumble in the Solstice turnstiles, or, D.) somewhat confident about taking a swipe at “next” as you look ahead to a new year. Kudos to you for being where your feet are – for arriving here, today – however you got here, wherever “here” is and whatever it all means to you. We hope that you and your family and friends are healthy and working to stay that way through these winter months.

Solstice offers us the gift of mark-making. Of pause. Of reflection. And intention. A time when we can work to quiet the roar of all that is swirling around us, and focus on this unique opportunity in time and space.
Fire and light are traditional symbols of celebrations held on the darkest day of the year.

On my bucket list, I want to bear witness to the magical occurrence of the sun rising through the giant boulders of Stonehenge in jolly ol’ England the first morning after Winter Solstice. This time honored traditional gathering gives energy to the hope that better days are just ahead, as the days grow longer. Good weather will come back and “seeds will be sewn” for the new growing season. Life will, indeed, move on a little more brightly every day.

What inspiration will help light your way through the darkness of winter? Give that some attention with a glass of mulled wine, or your journal, or a good long, soak in hot water. Or, while one of your musically inclined pals is strumming away on their guitar. Or you know, if you’re really lucky, all of the above.

Lantern Festivals are another means of celebration at December Solstice, inviting attendees to let go of old thoughts and find new possibilities for the coming year. 2020 has forced our hand to think differently in so many areas of our lives. The way we live. The way we work. And the way we play. Have you had to revamp pieces and parts  – or most all – of your seasonal employment lifestyle “plan”? Or, heck, of your daily existence? Most employers would never have planned to offer you a Private Bathroom or Grab & Go EDR meals for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. But here we are – making it up as we meander along and making the best of whatever challenging situation arises. Whether there’s an actual lantern set aloft or not, CoolWork-ing Seasonal Employees rock this tradition when celebrating the end of one season and looking ahead to all that will be new in the next. 

Consider a virtual Lantern-esque Festival with your coworkers or friends or family. (Safety first – no flaming lanterns in your forest or neighborhood!) Think “candle”. Think “fireplace”. Think “campfire”. And then let those old thoughts and fears and stressors go. (Let it go. Let it go.) 

One final note. When researching Winter Solstice, I was awestruck by the idea that this is also an occasion to recognize and celebrate the spirit of cooperation and partnership that helps communities survive difficult times. How fitting is that for us – this Community of Seasonal Employees?  It actually gave me chills. The camaraderie of a “seasonal family” has long been one of the draws of this lifestyle. We are all stronger when we stand together, lean on each other and make contributions to our communities of choice – family, friends, quarantine-pods, current or past co-workers, college alumni, neighbors, and your city, state, country and world.

May you embrace the mighty spirit of the Solstice. Recognize that you’ve done your best in trying times. Rest. Reflect. Reset. Seize the opportunity to welcome the new light, fresh energy and promise of all that is to come. Cheers – and Happy Solstice!