My boyfriend gave me the simplest yet most profoundly wise advice after I rattled off my holiday “To Do” list, which included cookie baking, house decorating, gift wrapping, tree trimming, card writing… (see where I’m going with all of this?), he simply said, “Just do what makes you happy.” It makes perfect sense. Who said I had to spend a fortune on gifts? Who said I have to make dozens of cookies? Why can’t I take this time of the Winter Solstice to do what comes naturally– get quiet, reflect on the past, & look ahead to new possibilities that will come with the returning light.
Our earliest ancestors did this instinctively. They knew that to everything there was a season & lived at one with the Earth & her cycles. Recapturing that respect for nature, I honor the time of darkness as I do the time of light, knowing each balances the other. As nights grow long & cold, I line my nest with cozy blankets, sip warm drinks, & create hearty one-dish meals that comfort & nourish. I read books… lots of books. I reflect on what I’ve accomplished this year, who I loved, & who loved me. Like Janus, I look back while also looking forward to how 2012 can be even richer with love, laughter, support, & equal measures of work & play. I’ve suffered a lot of loss this year but each loved one who passed left me with countless cherished memories that float into my consciousness on a stream of bittersweet tears. I recognize & honor that flow of emotion, too.
So, we put up a tree covered with lights & natural ornaments to bring in the light until the sun returns. No cookies, no holiday knickknacks cluttered about, & just the amount of shopping that I can afford. By removing what doesn’t matter, I’ve made room for what does– my family, friends, & peace. Peace & love I wish for you, too.