There is a Season

“To everything, there is a season.” 

(from The Byrds song  “Turn! Turn! Turn!”)

It’s the last day of 2012 so naturally, I feel a bit like Janus, the Roman god with two faces looking into the past & the future at the same time.  (A fitting god to inspire the name for the first month- “January”.)

Janus

A bust of Janus from Vatican City
(image from en.wikipedia.org)

“To everything, there is a season”, the Byrds sang in the 1960s.  So what is this season for?  The time between Winter Solstice (Dec. 21st) and the Spring Equinox (March 21st) is traditionally a time to retreat into the darkness, hibernating & being introspective while also celebrating the return of the light & anticipating new beginnings.

I dislike the term “New Year’s Resolution” because resolutions have a history of being broken as soon as they are made.  Instead, I ask, “What do I want in my life in 2013 & how can I make my vision a reality?”   For example, I want to deepen my connection to nature & provide food for those I love so organic gardening will continue to be a priority.  I’ll also provide for wildlife by planting more native species that shelter & nourish.  When food is hard to come by, bird feeders will remain full for my feathered friends.

Dinnertime

Back Yard Buffet

Bird Lunch

Just Hanging Out

I also want to continue creating artwork that reflects both my respect for the Earth & deepening spirituality.  Here is a sneak peek of the new series…

Root Project

“Roots” symbolizes grounding & connection. More about these pieces later.

Everything I want for 2013 is united under the banner of “LOVE”… love for those I want to share my life with, love for the earth & all sentient beings, love for creativity in all its forms, & even love for my Self.

May 2013 bless you with what you hold most dear.

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Being Still

When I tell people that I’m grateful for being sick with the flu for a few days, they tend to give me confused looks & change the subject.  It’s really not that odd when you stop to consider it.

For 2 years, I’ve been getting the same message whether I journal, journey, meditate, or pray- “Be Still.”  I thought by meditating & praying I was being still.  Apparently not.

It wasn’t until I got sick that I understood the magnitude of those words & came to appreciate their profound meaning.  For days, I only did what was needed to survive- sleep, drink ginger ale, & try to eat a few crackers.  There was no artwork, no writing, no chores, no errands… not even any spiritual practices that I lovingly do daily.  My mind was completely still.  I didn’t even dream!  (That’s highly unusual for me as I can recall between 2-5 dreams per night on average.)

Stillness is so important for balance.  Think of your typical day; where is the stillness?

I believe the Divine speaks to us in a gentle whisper, at first.  However, if we ignore the message, it speaks more loudly to get our attention.  The flu was a way to get my attention.

For many of us, being still is a real challenge.  I’m asking you to give it a try, even for just 20 minutes.  Sit somewhere in total silence & listen.  Is there a message that you need to hear?

Sanctuary

When I see the same unusual word three times in less than 30 minutes, I believe it’s a clear message to heighten my awareness of something very important.  SANCTUARY  Not that it’s an unusual word… it’s unusual in that it rarely comes up once in my typical day, let alone 3 times in a half hour!

It began with a Rumi quote, “Remember, the entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you.”  It was soon followed by the arrival of the most recent issue of SageWoman magazine- Sanctuary being the theme of the issue.  Lastly, I pulled a card from a deck I like to use for my contemplative practice… and “sanctuary” was the caption on the card.

So what does the New Oxford Dictionary have to say about “Sanctuary“?

1.  a place of refuge or safety

2.  a nature reserve

3.  a holy place

Aren’t those all within our Selves?  Isn’t the dictionary ultimately agreeing with Rumi?

I’ve spent several years studying earth-based wisdom of cultures around the world, divine feminine spirituality, & shamanic practices of peoples from Europe to the Americas.  They all have something very important in common; they agree that we are holy & that which makes us sacred connects us to all else that is sacred.

So, when I see the word Sanctuary appear over & over, I’m reminded to look within for truth & guidance, trust my intuition, & value my Self as divine.

Thoughts Become Things

Am I living a life in alignment with my authentic Self?

Whether it’s the darkness, the cold, the end of the calendar year, or just the fact that I’m not getting any younger, this is a period of rest, reflection, & redefinition for me.

Rest:  I put great care into making my home a sanctuary, a cozy place where I can be still to listen to my heart as well as the great Spirit of which we are all a part.  I take stock of everything in my home, from clothes to decorative objects scattered about.  Do these material possessions speak to who I am now?  Or, should they be given to charity to be appreciated by someone else?  I declutter my home & my spirit.

Reflection:  Through various techniques, I reflect on my values, priorities, & hopes for the future.  Anything in my life not aligned with my authentic Self needs to be seriously reconsidered & possibly discarded if it can’t be transformed.  This period of soul searching isn’t easy.  Not at all!  Change is scary.

Redefinition:  I ask questions such as “What is important to me?” and “Where do I want to be a year from now?”  The challenge of turning my thoughts into actions occurs at this stage.  I can’t simply sit passively, waiting for life to happen.  It doesn’t work that way.  I have to take the first step so the Divine (call it Fate or Destiny) can meet me along the way, illuminating the next step.

It all starts with thoughts… then thoughts become things.