Following the Sun: How Sunsets Become Therapy


The Sunset Is a Beautiful Place to Be

Long shadows draw themselves across the beach, the pavement and the water, transparent and telling of the surrounding landscape. Reflections illuminate the sand, animating the beach with the glow of life in the evening air. An ocean breeze licks at lips with a salty kiss while lovers embrace, facing west as if this might be the last time they see the waning sun. Kids splash their last goodbyes to the beach as parents call them from the shore; surfers stab their boards into the final gasp of waves before the moon has its moment.

This is the sunset, the end of another day, and people gather across the globe, all the time, to breathe it in – and let their troubles go. Sunsets are therapeutic, healing and transient – which is exactly why we should embrace them as such.


We Live Our Lives by the Light – and Gather Our Stress

We might take it for granted, the fact that we have the sun, but we look for it each day like a best friend. It hugs the earth with a warm embrace, let’s us know it’s time to rise, and guides us through the motions of daily life. We follow it out the door and into the light of dawn with a realization that we have another moment to live.

We do everything by way of the sun, and although many of us love the night, most sleep during the hours of darkness and live by the light. Some cultures worship the sun as a god. It’s the reason we have the words daytime and nighttime. We gather our hopes, fears, jobs, love, pain, comfort and confusion by daytime, to the point that we have become stimulated beyond stress by the time the sun leaves us, and many of us keep those with us through restless sleep and hours of nighttime contemplation.



The Sun Sets at the End of The Day – So Should Your Problems

One thing that strikes me is that the sun never truly sets. In fact, it doesn’t really move in relation to us at all – we revolve around the sun. In this sense, the Earth actually lets go of the sun and brings us into darkness. Similarly – the way we let a good friend leave our house, knowing that they will return, or when we kiss a lover goodnight, trusting they will be there in the morning – we trust the sun will rise when we wake up.

So if we can let our friends, lovers, and even the sun go, knowing that things will be ok, why would we not let our problems go as well?

We are all under the same sun, experiencing the human condition, vying for happiness, yearning for truth, disappointing ourselves with so-called “failures,” thinking that what we experience needs to be “better” somehow. If we can come together under that sun to watch it set, we should be able to collectively let our problems go with it. Releasing stress on a daily basis and meditating on the idea of closure to what we experienced that day gives us the opportunity to wake up with a fresh perspective. If we carry our problems to bed, we carry a burden that need not weigh us down.



Create an Evening Ritual

The next time you watch the sunset – which should be often – do yourself a favor and let go.

Gather all of your worries, thoughts, failures, successes, current issues, or whatever it is that’s got you wired, put down your phone, and look towards the sunset.

Breathe in deeply, crushing all of those thoughts into a little ball, and as the sun rolls slowly down the horizon and out of site, release your breath – and the ball – into the sunset. Let your thoughts diffuse into the nighttime air. Relax and know that all is well. This simple five minute meditation creates a space to find peace with the day and relax throughout the night.

Sure, you may have things to do that night, or problems may arise after the sun sets, but with each setting sun comes a new day, and new obstacles to conquer on our path around that big, bright, beautiful sphere. If you consistently take time to unburden your heart and mind, there is less buildup and more time for reflection – and resolution.



2 Responses

  1. Katie Garramone

    Very wise advice. I will view sunsets differently now. Thank you

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