A Winter Solstice Meditation on Cancer

The winter solstice often symbolizes the return of light – the return of life – after the deepest dark. Today, for me, it is the beginning of a journey of healing after receiving news of cancer. The dark blotches will be replaced by light.

Sunfire on the Snow

The squirrels in my head keep running around. I awoke this morning at 4 am – unable to sleep – again. It has become an exhausting pattern since I received my diagnoses. Notice it is in the plural. In the last three dark weeks, I have been told that I host three cancers: bladder, kidney and prostrate. Since then, worry, anxiety and sadness have dominated my spirit.

It is dark outside as I arise from bed. Today is the winter solstice. I wander aimlessly through the quiet house. Well not quite. The cats demanded that I feed them – so it is quiet after I fed them.

I usually start my day with a mild yoga routine to get the kinks out. However, somehow, I felt today needed a deeper more meditative practice.

A winter solstice honors the return of the sun. The days become longer from this day forward bringing with it the hope and promise of spring. After some breathing exercises, it felt right to start with sun salutations.

Slow deep breaths and deliberate movement. Nothing rushed, I feel each pose. During my second sequence, I begin to weep. Sadness is overwhelming as I lay prone on my mat crying. I let it come… let it out. Yoga does that. It gets your mind-body-spirit all integrated and in-touch. I guess this is why I felt I needed my  practice this morning.

At that moment, on the mat, just wanting to stay there and cry, I realized the lesson of the sun salutation on a winter solstice morning. The sun salutation is a sequence of moves – one after another – that touches all parts of your body. To achieve its benefit, you must complete the sequence, pose after pose – deliberately – until the end of sequence.

The lesson: I am beginning a new journey – one of healing that starts today. I must go through each step deliberately until I am healed – until the darkness in my body is released and replaced by light.

I have doctor appointments to attend – starting today. The plan for healing is emerging. Surgery is scheduled for mid-January with biopsies to follow. Decisions to made in the future.

As I finish this post, the sun is rising. Winter solstice is here – I walk a new beginning into the light.



  1. I read your post this morning as I started my day. A beautiful reflection of this leg of your journey. I am holding you in my thoughts and visualizing blasts of vibrant light chasing away the darkness. Happy Winter Solstice and may the blessings of this day be yours.


  2. Please know that I am thinking of you at this time. You face a difficult journey ahead , but it is one that is still filled with hope. Don’t despair!


  3. I should add: where there is sadness, find joy. Where there is darkness, find the light. Alan, I wish you lots of positive energy in your life right now to surround you over the coming days, weeks, and months ahead!


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