“As candles burn and bells jingle,
Remember the dark and the quiet.
They are the reason for the season,
And should be held as dear.”
As I discover anew each year, bustle of the winter holiday season often seems completely at odds with the natural inner pull towards quiet and stillness in the winter. December offers us a quiet invitation for stillness and contemplation.
How do you balance the twin pulls of the season? The go and do in the sparkling lights with the withdraw and hibernate in the dim cave?
One way I have been coping, perhaps counterintuitively, is by making sure I do things that I “don’t have time” to do. Sometimes that sensation of not having time is the most reliable indicator there is that you need exactly what it is you are saying you don’t have time for! Those are often the very things that replenish my spirit and leave me smiling.
I’ve continued to go semi-regularly to a yin yoga class in a nearby town. Even though I practice yoga by myself every morning and have for eighteen years, it is really nice self-care treat to go to this class.
I have also been going to a weekend art circle facilitated by a good friend. At the second circle we drank homemade hot chocolate and colored pictures in a blanket fort. I even just laid flat on the floor on a pile of pillows in the blanket fort for a while doing nothing. It was so nice! During the circle, I opted to color one of our own Brigid’s Grove mandalas (Connection). This mandala is also included in the winter issue of our newsletter, in case you want to color it too.
I’ve noted that my 2019 word of the year is “Listen,” but I’ve been joking recently that maybe it really should have been “Shhh” or “Quiet.”
“Winter humbles us. Winter silences us. Winter wants us to go inward, to reflect, to think, to really know ourselves long before we start opening our mouths and letting all kinds of energy and noise spill forth. We need to learn our truths instead of trying to tell others what theirs are or should be, in any way. We need to know how little we know, and understand that even what we do know doesn’t have to be shouted out all the time. We need to enjoy the sound of silence.”
I also wanted to share some winter-themed articles with you today (apologies to our valued Southern Hemisphere friends! I’m super in “winter” mode over here!):
- This article about a Depth Year has gotten quite a bit of shares/conversation in several groups and from several people I follow recently. IJessica Starr also made a video about the concept that I think you will enjoy.
- This essay from Feminism and Religion is about rest as a radical act. Mary Sharratt writes:
“In this day and age, the most radical act of rebellion we can commit is to take back at least one day of the week, declare it holy, and unplug. Take back our lives and inner space for a 24 hour period…”
We have done “computer off days” as a family on Sundays for about eight years, but I’m noticing that I seem to grant an exception to myself for my phone, taking pictures, doing an instagram update, updating etsy listings, etc. on Sundays with increasing lenience and I would like to re-commit to a tech-off Sunday routine in 2019.
- The article from which I got the quote above is from an article called Sound and Silence.
- one by Jude Lally is called Gather What You Need for the Dark.
- And, one from Trivia at the Crossroads on December Mindfulness.
- I wrote my own essay at Feminism and Religion this month about honoring the completion of the year.
- This article is not winter-specific and I really appreciated its simple, basic reminder. It is about simplifying your practices and is called One Minute at the Altar.
“If…we fill our lives with things, & again with things; if we consider ourselves so unimportant that we must fill every moment of our lives with action, when will we have the time to make the long, slow journey across the desert as did the Magi? Or sit & watch the stars as did the shepherds?…For each one of us, there is a desert to travel. A star to discover. And a being within ourselves to bring to life.”
–Author Unknown, quoted in Simple Abundance