Just a friendly reminder… you don’t have to do it all. Yes, I know it’s the holidays and the possibilities to “do” are endless. You can make homemade gifts, homemade cards, and dozens of homemade cookies. You can decorate your house inside and out. You can say “Yes” to every invitation, even two or three in a single evening! You can continue to go to work, run errands, do chores, spend time with loved ones, and add all the holiday expectations on top of that while continuing to have the same 24 hours in a day that you had before the holidays came along. Yes, Dear Susan, you can hustle and bustle the holiday season away… or you can be gentle with yourself and let go. BE.
You imposed the high expectations on yourself and you are the only one who can give permission to lower them. Be realistic, be present in the moment with loved ones, and most importantly, BE.
As Lyn Cox reminded me today, we are human BEINGS not human “doings”. Allow the stillness and tranquility of winter to permeate you. Rest, relax, and rejuvenate for while the daylight is returning, this is the time to go within. Trees lose their leaves and the sap slows. Animals tuck in for long winter naps. You need that, too. BE.
Years ago, an amazing college professor introduced me to the world of Greek & Roman mythology. While I’ve regrettable forgotten her name, I vividly recall the myths she brought to life every time she walked into class, hopped up onto her desk, & told us stories as if we were eager grandchildren crowded around her feet. She brought them all to life– Zeus, Diana, Aphrodite, Apollo, & Persephone to name a few. The goddess who comes to mind when I pull in my driveway, the porch light shining like a beacon in the dark is Vesta, Roman goddess of the hearth (Hestia in Greek). Romantically, I envision her lighting a fire in the fireplace & turning on a lamp beside the sofa… beckoning me to come home where I can rest, reflect, & rejuvenate when the windchill dips below zero & the ice lays thick on the dangerously slick roads.
Now I know I’m the one who left the porch light on for myself; yet, isn’t it lovely to picture a goddess tending the fire of the home, making it welcoming, warm, & safe for all who enter? I embody the qualities of that goddess every time I light a candle at dinnertime or leave a small light on in the kitchen so my boyfriend can find his way to make coffee before sunrise. These are all attempts to bring in light where there was none. I’m the keeper of my own hearth. I am Vesta.
I take the image of Vesta step further. Home is often a symbol for our spirit or Soul so could Vesta also represent the flame within each of us? Ovid is credited with calling her “the living flame”. Could I embody this goddess’s attributes, living my life so the Divine spark within me turns into a living flame, illuminating my path & those whose lives I touch?
Yes, I am Vesta but I am also Aphrodite, Athena, Kali, & Kuan Yin. As are you.
As Winter makes a last futile attempt to delay the coming Spring, I sit with a hot cup of coffee & my art supplies, watching snow blanket the blooming crocuses & daffodils… being present… & being still.
Last Wednesday, a big winter snowstorm was predicted by the weathermen. Appointments were canceled & businesses closed in preparation. I could bemoan the change in conditions that compelled me to stay home… or…
I can be thankful for…
the opportunity to stay in my pajamas, while enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee in bed.
the chance to daydream as I savor the beauty of snow gently coating the brown earth & bare tree branches.
the smell of homemade soup simmering in a crock pot while a double chocolate cake bakes in my oven.
time to write in my journal, tucked under a fuzzy blanket.
the inks, handmade papers, & paints that were beckoning me to play in my art studio. (Here’s the result.)
Most of all, I’m grateful for a day to be still & savor the quiet moments that snowfall brings.
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.