Marking Time

It’s a wild world of holiday hoopla at the moment…

Do you feel it, too?

My days are full of bakery, the light is short, the nights are long. Many of my daily meditations of late have been taking place in the dark…

IMG_8989…which is inviting a whole new perspective of this time of year.

This is the time of year that I would rather nestle into the darkness, cook and eat comforting foods, create comfortable spaces full of flannel and down, hunker down in front of a fire, snuggle and be still. To travel inward as the life force of Nature moves inward to re-energize itself for another season, another cycle.

We need this time of rest and replenishment, too.

This year, I’m feeling it more acutely, this need to mark time and not let this beautiful invitation to follow our natural inclination to slow down, to pay attention, to be rather than do pass by without acknowledgment.

Without reverence for what a gift this quiet time of the year is and could be if we honored our connection with the earth and what it asks of us regardless of what frenetic activity is going on around us.

I heard something in passing last Sunday about Advent and how the candles in the Advent wreath are traditionally lit each of four Sundays leading up to Christmas. I never grew up with this sort of religious tradition, but the idea of establishing a ritual — a touchpoint to mark the passing of time through the season — intrigued me.

So I looked at the calendar and saw that the fourth Sunday before Christmas is the 21st…Winter Solstice.

Perfect!

As someone who sits outside meditating each day, I am more aware this year of the ever darkening days and welcome — as my agriculturally-connected ancestors before me — the return of the light. Solstice is that sacred still point between light and dark, the turning of the tides so-to-speak, which deserves a light ritual all its own.

So I put together my own version…

IMG_8976…in the middle of our dining room table.

The three small candles all represent the Sundays leading up to the big candle, which will mark the longest night of the year. One small candle is lit each Sunday until the 21st when the bigger one gets lit at sunset and will hold space in the stillness for light to return again.

Fullness abounds, and though I often wish for the busyness and the one-more-thing after one-more-thing of these crazy days to end, I will embrace this time with rituals of daily outdoor meditation and this lighting of candles as a deliberate honoring of time, the season, the solitude and nourishing darkness, and a creating of space to Be as we are, wherever we are.

Sometimes, one little moment of recognition, one deep breath in the chaos, one nod to the natural cycles that speak to us, is all we need to stay connected to our own light, the divinity within that is our true source of joy.

IMG_9032

What rituals have you and your family created to stay connected and grounded this time of year?

I’d love to hear.

Wishing you the space to enjoy all that lights you up this holiday season…

IMG_9004