Long ago, people intuitively knew this was the season of slowing down. In ways we don’t remember, spirituality was connected to the earth and the seasons. When the days grew shorter and the nights longer, people knew to go inward for the gift of their own inner light. There was a hush – you can imagine. How do we reconnect with this hush, this stillness that connects us with our selves, and our family and friends?
Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa, the traditions of the holidays are meant to nurture and nourish us. They are meant to help us feel connection with each other and to our spirituality. If we get caught up in fulfilling all the traditions in some kind of holiday fantasy of perfection, it won’t nurture us – it will have the opposite effect. It will stress us out.
In the writing circles we allow ourselves something called “poetic license”, we let go of the critic and the rules of writing. As the holiday season approaches, we can give ourselves permission to let go what no longer works. There is a funny story of tradition, it goes something like this…One holiday a woman was placing the roast in a pan after first cutting off the end and placing that in another pan. When her daughter asked her why she used two pans, she said, This is how you cook a roast, we have always done it this way”. Not satisfied, the daughter went to her grandmother and asked, “Why do we cut off the end of the roast and place it in a smaller pan”? The grandmother too said, “We have always done it that way”. The daughter, went to her great grandmother and asked, “Why do we cut off the end of the roast and place it in a smaller pan”? Her great grandmother said, “I always did it that way because I didn’t have a pan large enough for the whole roast”.
Three years ago my daughter, Carrie, and I started writing a book, which we eventually called, A Child’s Way: Slowing Down for Goodness Sake. We wanted to encourage parents to pay attention to their own internal wisdom and to the wisdom of their children.
We started with the possibility that we all come into the world with talents to share and with three gifts. Those gifts are wisdom, courage and sense of humor. In the birthday story told in Waldorf Kindergartens, the little angel sees a family on earth and before going to be with them as their child, she must first visit the house of the sun, the moon, and the stars.
From the sun, the child receives the gift of courage; it is placed under her heart. From the moon, she receives the gift of wisdom; it is placed under the soles of her feet. Finally, from the stars she receives the gift of the twinkle in her eyes, that she may always see the humor in life.
With courage, we can let go off perfection and give ourselves permission to create the holiday we desire. With wisdom, we pay attention to your own inner knowing and with a sense of humor, we can accept ourselves. On your death bed, you’re probably not going to say, Dang, I wish I had cooked a better turkey in 2009. With these gifts, you can notice what makes your heart sing?
Another important aspect of slowing down is creating a sense of rhythm. For children a rhythm is something as simple as a bedtime routine. As adults, we need a rhythm too; yoga class, a walk on the beach, and/or writing morning pages. During the holidays create or keep some kind of ritual that keeps you happy. This is the season to go inward to experience your inner light and to radiate love. Be sure you know where you are getting your bucket filled – create time to rest, mediate, pray and write.
So this year whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, or a holiday specific to you, it is time to make this holiday season what YOU want. Tap into your wisdom to decide what is important to you, your courage to let go what no longer serves you and your sense of humor to enjoy your life and let your light shine.
If you would like more time to experience the stillness and to tap into your wisdom, courage and sense of humor in a creative way, you can join me in a retreat on December 13. Click on Calendar in Events and Calendar for details.