I love the darkness of this time of year.
For me it is a time to be quiet, spiral inward, and reflect.
I am forever perplexed by the busyness that goes with the holidays and I annually vow not to get sucked in, but I do every time because I love to give and I love to gather with friends and loved ones. This comes in the form of music, food, dinners, gifts, and decorating.
There are a couple of weeks where I get more busy than any other time of year.
I love the much needed sparkle of lights around my very dark home in the Pacific Northwest. This has been an especially dark winter full of rain, so I can enjoy the lights of the tree and mantle with my coffee even in the morning.
I have many concerts that bring joy to so many people.
I host a Solstice lighting ceremony for the Awareness School, a Christmas Eve dinner, a Christmas brunch with immediate family and then “family Christmas” with friends on the 28th. I know it’s too much, but each event brings together people that I love.
I usually collapse for a few days after that.
I make quince jelly in one weekend in November for teachers, neighbors, family and friends so I don’t go out and do much shopping. I stopped that long ago.
I love to cook so these meals aren’t too much of a burden and more of a creative endeavor that we all get to enjoy.
I have come to realize that the most precious part is having all of my children in the house even though they steal my chargers, borrow the car and leave coffee cups all over the house. They are happy to see each other and I enjoy the back and forth banter of creative visionaries and rebels.
It’s a juggle of light and dark. It’s an inner fight to remain calm against all odds. I act like it is all OK, but inside I get frustrated with the effort and then something gives way. I remember that the spirit of humanity, the hope and good will of our planet is based on caring and giving. Without it, we are lost.
I remember why I am running around and let go of trying to get anything done in a hurry. I accept that it took 5 hours to get errands done. I smile and strike up conversation in lines. I take advantage of traffic jams by praying. I learn to share my private spaces and hide the chargers.
I don’t stress over the third grocery trip in two days for forgotten items.
I am grateful for any parking spot I can get.
When the Solstice rolls around, we as an eclectic mix gather in utter darkness in my dining room; no house lights, no outdoor lights, no cell phones to light our way. I journey deep within as I wait for the guests to fill the room while they stumble over steps, feel around for a seat, some squirming and many stomachs growling. We take in the darkness, a rare treat. We experience stillness together with no agenda except to be.
The first candle lit is dramatic and the glow increases as we call in our intentions with the lighting of each candle. The star represents our personal wishes and collective prayers for humanity and burns brightly into the evening. We are witness to each other in a new way. Each year is different and each year is very sacred.
I cherish the deep reverence I have for the darkness of this special night and the community that has formed.
I wish for each of you a most blessed season of light and dark, of giving and receiving, of effort and rest.
May you find peace in your heart and joy with family and friends this season.