It happens to me around this time every year.
Last year, I didn’t post at all in December. In 2011, my final post for the year was on the solstice.
As the year draws to a close and the darkness reaches its peak, I begin to fold inward. I am learning that this tendency is innate; this is the time of year when we all instinctively move inside a bit more. When we evaluate the year that is drawing to a close, and we begin to plan and dream for the year ahead.
One of my teachers insists that we slow down in the winter. “If we don’t take time each year for deep rest, then authentic healing, rejuvenation, wisdom and softening are not possible. It takes so much energy to burst forth into the world and to birth something new. This winter, treat yourself like a pregnant mama. Rest, nurture yourself, rebuild your vital life force, and prepare for the coming of new life. And if you don’t live in an area with a pronounced winter season, you need to be more disciplined about getting quiet. This is also an opportunity to listen to the subtler rhythms of nature” (The Way of the Happy Woman, 237).
She goes on to say that society doesn’t exactly support this slowing down. Let’s face it, our society NEVER supports slowing down. We are a nation of overachievers, pushing everything about our lives to the limit.
And there is a season for that.
But there is also a season for pulling back instead of pushing forward, for taking walks instead of going for long runs, for realizing that all of those items on the To Do list can be checked off another day.
We are conditioned to see the slowing down and turning in as laziness, losing our edge, or falling behind.
I am learning to see it as holy.
It resonates deep within me, that the time we are surrounded by darkness is the time we focus on our inner light and the lights of those around us.
This will be my final post until after the end of the Holy Nights. These are the nights from Christmas to the Epiphany on January 6th; since we will start our celebration tomorrow with the Solstice, my Holy Nights will begin a bit early, too.
I won’t be posting, but I will be writing. I plan to journal each day, to sit in reflection, to scoop out what I need to know as this year ends. There are actual Holy Nights Journals, but I won’t be using something so formal this year.
The only formal thing I will do is work my way through this lovely FREE workbook by Susannah Conway. There is something in me that needs to see my intentions for 2013, instead of having them simply swirl around in my head.
I will also take extra time during this break to be with the people around me. I plan to check e-mail regularly, but I will only be reading and responding to the e-mails of people I actually know. I won’t be reading blogs, I won’t be checking out after-Christmas sales, and I won’t be on Facebook.
The holidays are a fun time to be connected online, with everyone sharing photos of their sweet families on Christmas morning and their Happy New Year wishes…but that isn’t what I need this year. What I need is to be connected in person.
The only thing left for me to say is Thank you.
Thank you to the friends and family who have read my posts from the very beginning.
Thank you to the long ago friends who haven’t seen me in person for years, but still enjoy reading what I am sharing and continue to be so very supportive.
Thank you to those of you who have never met me, but who read and comment, who send me e-mails and help me remember that I am never alone.
Thank you for visiting this space and making it a cherished one for me. Thank you for helping me find my voice.
Here are a couple of gifts from me to you as the year draws to a close.
First, a poem on darkness:
When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.
When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.
Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.
There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.
The dark will be your womb
The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.
You must learn one thing:
the world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.
Finally, an epic song about the dark side of holiness. One I know you’ve heard. One that I collect, artist by artist.
This version, surprisingly, is my current favorite.
May the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 be just what you need. I look forward so much to connecting again in the New Year!
Blessings to you, and much love from the wilds of Wyoming.