As the winter solstice came and went, as the great conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter came and went, as all these auspicious times of the holidays are coming and going, and as New year’s is upon us…. I want to offer my take on these times right now between the solstice and New year’s.
I have been reading the book “Wintering: The power of rest and retreat in difficult times” by Katherine May. I have been feeling and experiencing my own ‘wintering’ and leaning into it. Moments of anxiety, and other moments of grief. This year, like many others, I have lost a lot; and, I know I am about to lose more because I’ve already been told so. I’ve lost loved ones to this awful virus, and I’ve lost all the physical spaces that I used to move and “be moved” in. Along with all of these experiences, is the ongoing experience of uncertainty. Will my husband be back inside his high school teaching come January? Will my son be in his school for kindergarten come January? What will my own schedule need to look like then?
And, through all of this, and more, there have been brilliant moments of connection. There have been enormous leaps and bounds of change and transformation in very positive and heart opening ways. I am deeply humbled, and grateful, for all of these experiences because it has shown, and ingrained in me, more of what I already knew, and more of what I knew I needed to learn.
All of this is to say, I’ve been receiving a lot of advertising emails recently that state the words “I’m ready to put this year behind me”! And while I don’t find anything wrong with this, it’s not where I am. I don’t want to put it behind me in the context of my learnings. I don’t want to put behind and forget the names of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and so many more. I don’t want to just simply put behind me the experiences and learnings that I received around racism, history, the country I live in, police brutality, climate change, environmentalism, ageism, sexism, economic disparities, health care inequality, family care inequalities, immigrants, Native Americans, all the people of color, LGBTQ+ rights, womens rights, spiritual bypassing, representation, how business is done, and how business can be done, and so much more.
I don’t want to just simply put it behind me, I want to remember and let it be part of a new foundation from which I grow!
I don’t just want the “Light” to swallow everything up. I don’t just want to go around and say “bring in the “Light” and let’s move on”! Something about that isn’t sitting right with me. What has been more resonant with me lately is the word ‘gentle‘. Even nature doesn’t switch overnight to having long, summer days right after the winter solstice. Nature has this slow move towards those long days. I recently told a friend that I was grateful for this because then I wouldn’t get “sunburned”; I was speaking metaphorically there. I don’t want to be ‘burned’ by the light, by its brilliance. I don’t want to be blinded by it. I don’t want it to burn out all that I have learned, nor burn out all the darkness that I’ve been experiencing in my life. Nor do I just want to be ‘burned out’, period.
I want to be gentle with myself and continue to feel all the feelings that I have been feeling, and just allow the light to come in slowly and incrementally. Breath by breath, step by step, day by day, a little at a time, little fractals and rays at a time, little shards and touches of warmth. This thought reminded me of two weeks ago in our ‘peace’ intention class; that was the week leading up to, the winter solstice. Buddha said, “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without”. And so, if I am to experience such peace, and if I have the desire, which I do, to share that peace and shed that light with all who I come in contact with, then I need to start with myself. And in doing so, be gentle with myself. To have the courage to honor all the parts and pieces of my experiences, feelings, and thoughts. As Mark Nepo supports… to be that dedicated to my own soul as I am dedicated in supporting others souls; I’m paraphrasing. This brings me to this past week’s intention and passage from Mark Nepo out of his book, “The book of Awakening: having the life you want by being present to the life you have”.
“To Marry One’s Soul”(Nov. 13 passage):
“Being true to who we are means carrying our spirit like a candle in the center of our darkness.”
“If we are to live without silencing or numbing essential parts of who we are, a vow must be invoked and upheld within oneself. The same commitments we pronounce when embarking on a marriage can be understood internally as a devotion to the care of one’s soul: to having to hold… for better or for worse… in sickness and health… to love and to cherish, till death do us part.
This means staying committed to your inner path. This means not separating from yourself when things get tough or confusing. This means accepting and embracing your faults and limitations. It means loving yourself no matter how others see you. It means cherishing the unchangeable radiance that lives within you, no matter the cuts and bruises along the way. It means binding your life with a solemn pledge to the truth of your soul.
It is interesting that the nautical definition of marry is “to join two ropes end to end by interweaving their strands.” To marry one’s soul suggests that we interweave the life of our spirit with the life of our psychology; the life of our heart with the life of our mind; the life of our faith and truth with the life of our doubt and anxiety. And just as two ropes that are married create a tie that is twice as strong, when we marry our humanness to our spirit, we carry a life that is doubly strong in the world.”
Will you join me in making a commitment to yourself this year? To be gentle with yourself, no matter what?
I am considering how I can make this vow more real and concrete. Maybe even make a plaque and write my own vows to my Self. Maybe buy myself a ring. May symbolically tie two ropes together and place them on my alter space. How might you make a ritual for this bond? Speak your vows out loud in front of witnesses? How will you carry this in your heart and thoughts everyday?
So, that’s my take. Wink, wink. 😉
I send you blessings for a truly bountiful new year! And to allow the Light to come in, as you shine your Light from the inside out!
Here is a little meditation that came thru me during these ‘Soul Marrying’ classes:
Become quiet, and find a comfortable place to sit or lay down. Take a few slow, deep breaths to support calming your nervous system and quieting your mind. Allow, and invite, your physical body to rest. When ready, close your eyes, or carry a heavy gaze. Float back into a natural rhythm of breathing.
Begin to imagine a single candle in your mind’s eye. Watch it’s dancing flame, flickering with life. Behold its colors of blue, yellow, orange, and white. Watch the way it moves about.
Imagine now, your hands lovingly wrapped around the flame. Just close enough to feel it’s warmth and life, but not so close that you put it out. Just close enough that your hands protect it from any winds that might snuff it out, but not so close that you prevent the dance to continue!
This flame is an infinite flame. It is fueled by everything you love! It is fueled by everything you cherish. It is fueled by everything that brings you joy.
As you are nourished, the flame is nourished. Because, this flame is you! Protect it, love it, allow it to dance, give it room to move, fuel and nourish it well. Let it Light your path. Sit with it a bit longer before getting up from your meditation. Write about the experience if you wish. Repeat it as often as you can. Hold the candle precious, because you are precious.
Breathe and Believe.