Today, December 21st, is Winter Solstice -- the shortest, darkest day of the year in terms of sunlight. This is a stark contrast to June 21st, Summer Solstice, where the sun shines longer than any other day of the year and if you are in NYC you might enjoy just soaking up some sun at an outdoor cafe. But right now, if you are in NYC, not only is it the darkest, shortest day of the year but the gray skies and pouring rain make the gloominess utterly pervasive.
Winter blues are real, and many people feel especially lonely, overwhelmed and depressed during the holiday season -- a time when we are constantly reminded through the speakers of every store or restaurant blasting Christmas songs to celebrate and be joyful and merry. To those who feel hopeless, this feels like a dismissal of their sorrows.
There are ways to reach out to and uplift others. Giving back in the spirit of gratitude is a boomerang -- it will circle back to you. By taking care of others we assure that we too will be taken care of in our own times of need. And more than anything, giving back feels good! This is one of the main principles and cornerstones of the ETD Outreach Program. We view dance as a healing modality and have seen its power to transform lives, especially of those in more vulnerable communities. Sometimes all it takes to get negative, heavy energy moving is to move your body. This is how my company and I choose to share, give back and spread light but there are a multitude of ways you can use your own skills, passions and open minds and hearts to offer a little bit of relief (and maybe even some joy and festivity) to those lost in the darkness this holiday season. Lending a hand and giving back is truly the gift that keeps on giving.
So I challenge you to take a day, a fews hours or even mere moments out of your hectic holiday schedule to be there for someone else who is in need. And it doesn't have to be glum -- why not turn it into a fun family or friends activity? Getting others involved makes the ripple effect even greater. Giving back is an excellent way to end the year and begin a new one.
Here are some ways to help, please spread the word and share your own ideas:
Donate or Volunteer:
The IRC https://www.rescue.org/
NYC Rescue Mission http://nycrescue.org/
Animal Haven https://www.animalhavenshelter.org/
The Equal Justice Initiative https://eji.org/
Books For Africa https://www.booksforafrica.org/
Meds and Food for Kids https://mfkhaiti.org/
Eryc Taylor Dance http://ETD.nyc/donate :)
Everyone at ETD wishes you all the best this Holiday Season!