5 Ways to Build Relationship with the Sun
As we reach the crowning height of the sun’s expansive reach over the next couple weeks, I invite you to intentionally track how light, both natural and artificial, impacts you.
Our culture has a challenged relationship with light to say the least. We’ve become addicted to artificial light, and all the busyness and productivity it brings, and yet we run from the medicine of the sun. We’re clinging to light more desperately now, but to a distorted version that doesn’t actually provide us the full spectrum of what we require to thrive.
I recently listened to a podcast interview with Sarah Kleiner, who specializes in balancing circadian rhythms. It was fascinating to me just how much our relationship with the sun and light impacts nearly ever aspect of our biology.
From our sleep/wake cycle, to our hormone balance, to our immune health, to development of healthy vision, to proper weight gain or loss, to mental health, to mitochondrial function and more, our relationship with the sun and light impacts us extensively.
We take light for granted now. We can flip a switch and everything becomes bright. But all light is not created equal.
Not too long ago we cycled with the natural light from the sun, and the morning light cued a cascade of important biological and physiological actions in the body. And then the disappearance of this light in the evening cued an equally important cascade of functions in the body.
We’ve just started to become aware of how we’ve been disturbing this long-standing and delicate relationship with the natural cycles of the sun’s light, especially with the screens we’re staring at most of the day. And especially when we look at screens immediately upon waking, or in the hours before bed.
It feels almost impossible to live fully in rhythm with the sun today, without artificial light, but we can begin to reclaim our relationship with the sun in various ways:
1) Create your own ceremony as a way to build relationship with the sun. (In my Sacred Seasons Summer Guidebook I outline a Summer Solstice ceremony that honors the sun, if you need guidance.)
2) We can also start noticing how the medicine of the sun is far-reaching and deep-penetrating. Can you feel it?
Can you feel the love when you step outside first thing in the morning and feel the sun’s warm greeting upon your face?
How perhaps the sun ignites your energy, or brightens your mood?
Or perhaps you are moved by how the sun dances in creative patterns of shadow and light, bringing to life a landscape, and drawing your gaze in wonderment?
3) You may want to spend some time reflecting on your relationship with the Sun and Light at this time of year:
How easy or comfortable is it for you to receive light?
What happens in your body with the immensity of the amount of light right now?
What changes for you mentally, physiologically, emotionally, or spiritually?
What information is the sun speaking into your cells right now?
What is becoming illuminated? What is disappearing into the shadows?
4) It is also so important for us to receive the sun’s rays on our skin and in our eyes (not directly looking at the sun of course, unless it’s right at sunrise or sunset).
I recently started using an app called D Minder. A sun-tracker that lets you know how much vitamin D you’re absorbing. Depending on your skin type, the app helps guide you in absorbing the medicine of the sun into your body safely. Short sunning periods help build up our vitamin D while priming our skin to build melanin so we don’t burn.
Start being outside in early morning or late afternoon light without sunglasses on to grow your eyes' capacity to take in light.
5) You can also ally with St. John’s Wort medicine to help you learn to receive light into your body, and help you understand your relationship with your own inner light. (Come sit with us in the Plant Wisdom Circle on June 20th to connect with this spirit.)
St. John’s Wort oil is also a wonderful natural sun protectant when put on topically, and has the added benefit of calming the nervous system. (My favorite place to buy this is Mythic Medicine.)
This Solstice season, may the sun's light warm you, and bring you comfort and joy. May you absorb the rich medicine that the sun provides, and take in the teachings of the fire.