Rain pounding rooftops

Rain pounding rooftops
Comforting, rocking souls to sleep
Smiles enter dreams

This time of year is time fraught with peril for some of us.  It is a time that is inherently ceremonial for some and yet for others has become a time to dread.  I fall in with those for whom it is inherently sacred. I love this time of year! I love the weather and how cold and rainy it gets here. I love hunkering down in front of a fire and pulling out last year’s unfinished knitting projects! I spend hours in the kitchen canning, jamming, baking and creating sweet treats for people I love. I love bringing in a tree and decorating it with white lights and crystals that reflect the light and make me feel starry eyed.  I love taking the time to wrap gifts for those I have spent the year with, taking the time to honor and celebrate the individual without having to explain why. It is a time of peace for me and deep, deep nourishment. This isn’t true for many who struggle with the whole idea of Christmas and the commercialism/have too-s that surround this time of year. My challenge is: how do I integrate my love of this time of year with those around me who don’t share my passion?  How do I honor and integrate the differences in how we approach this time of year without squashing my enthusiasm?  I love giving presents.  I love living into the magicof December and celebrating the solstice. I love how the houses come alive at night with all the lights. I love the mystery of endings and beginnings.  I love Christmas morning.

This is what I practice and I offer it to you as a way of engaging or shifting your relationship with this time of year especially if it is fraught with peril and distress. It is a beautiful time of year in spite of all the cultural overlays. It is a time set aside for going in and reflecting on the past year, of where shadow and light meet in you. It is a time when the dark is greater than the light and in the wonderful words of Carl Jung, “We do not become enlightened by…but by making the dark conscious” This can become a time when we can consciously relate to the dark as we light our fires on the Solstice and take a turn with the earth back towards the sun.

It is December first and we begin the days towards the longest night and the turn towards the light.  As tradition has it in my life I count the days by opening a window into a simple mystery of the day on an advent calendar or a simple gift or delight is given or received. I would love to invite all of you to share in this time with me as it is a favorite and though many find it stressful – take the time to fillit full of love, light, giving, creating and filling life with beauty.

With each “window” that is opened, or each day that passes, think about a deed that you can participate in that helps you to give, as well as receive. People love to create, feel useful, and feel appreciated. Here’s are some ideas:

  • Bring flowers to a neighbor or friend.
  • Practice random acts of kindness.
  • Draw a picture and send it to a relative or friend far away.
  • Make kite or wax paper stars to hang on your windows, and extras, for neighbors and friends.
  • Make popcorn chains and hang them outside for the birds.
  • Paint pictures and make your own gift cards- make extras to share!
  • Join others to sing in the light.
  • Think nice thoughts for an ill friend.
  • Use beeswax to make candles to give as gifts.
  • Bake for the holidays.
  • Make a simple gift for a friend.

Have fun, love, spread your creative wings far and wide and lead with a full and grateful heart for all we have been given. Make it a practice.

Here as an exploration designed to put you on your own personal quest:

Make a list of ten challenges that reliably show up for you.

List how you can creatively meet those challenges in ways that transform and forward your evolution.

Do them!

Here are someof my challenges and creative solutions:

                Speed:  I start moving too fast and fill my plate too full with projects and ideas and I forget that I live with others who want me, present, not running around all the time.
Creative Solution:  I have to slow down – it is as simple as that.  To do that, I temper my excitement and enthusiasm for doing with the essence of this time of year which, for me, is about sharing and listening.  I slow down enough to let my heart lead the way.

                Commercialism:  WOW! There is a push for consuming, consuming, consuming and as unconsciously as possible.  Some people simply push this time of year away because of that.
Creative Solution:  Connect your heart with your hands in action.  Christmas has a year-round quality for me and rather than feeling overloaded during December I am making and baking throughout the year as well as thinking of what I want to make and/or give to others all along the way.

                Obligation:  This isn’t one of my challenges but it is definitely a challenge for those around me. There is the pressure/obligation perform in some way or another when December rolls around and to ‘buy’ into the whole gift-giving game.
Creative Solution:  Identify your values and align your actions with them.  Truly connect your heart with your hands and give and receive in ways that honor you, your beliefs and let yourself lead with enthusiasm and appreciation for yourself and all those around you!

This is a magnificent world we live in and the universe is always flowing towards us.  Remember to let yourself flow in response whether it is in gift giving, serving others, receiving love, giving love, generating love, leading with gratitude…whatever it is, make it yours!

I celebrate each and every one of you in all your glory!