05 December 2019

The gift of light


We are now in the early days of the busiest time of the year, or what feels like it.  I don't know about you but I suspect that I am busier in the summer months but because it is warmer and the daylight is around for much longer you don't feel busy in the quite the same way.  This time of year is not supposed to be a time for being busy, it is a time for slowing down, for quiet time and going gently, perhaps that is why we can feel frazzled when we try and do so much, it is difficult to say no when there are so many wonderful things going on around us.

The past two years we have avoided all this hustle and bustle by going away, last year for the whole of December and the year before the week leading up to Christmas.  Both these trips were to places where we were hidden from the crazy, busy of this season.  We are not going away this year so I have been thinking about ways of doing the same whilst being at home, while I ponder how this will work I do not want to be paralysed by the thoughts that we need to hide a home to find the peace and quiet.  It is a difficult balance.

I spend a lot of my life planning, making sure that each week is a balance of time at home and time out and about, a balance of quiet and busy, all the time I am holding that space making sure it works for us.  I have learnt the hard way how important it is to include the quiet time, the peace, the time for breathing out.  As I head into this time, with a month of many illnesses behind me, my planning has become drawn towards the quiet, being at home more, interspersed with time with friends or going to events - but as always only one thing a day.

If I am going to celebrate or observe an event or festival in some way I need to feel a connection to it.  Over my years as a parent I have searched for a way to observe the weeks in December that were more than a build up to a day of eating large amounts of food and giving and receiving gifts.  I found what I was looking for a few years ago and have continued to use this, changing it slightly each year to reflect the changes in the children.  We use this time to think about our connection to the world around us, focusing on one aspect each week.  The first week we consider the mineral kingdom, our connection to the Earth the physical foundation of a life, the ground we stand on.  The second week we consider the plant kingdom celebrating the bounty and nourishment we receive, the growers who make this possible for us, the rain and sun that creates a balance of growth and decay,  the life of this kingdom unlike the still, solid mineral world.  The third week we consider the animal kingdom, we remind ourselves of our relationship with animals, how we share our capacity of movement with them, consider their traits and how we might be like particular animals.  The final week we consider Humans, how all the other three kingdoms contribute to our existence, our place in the universe, how we are with other people, how we can support each other and look after each other.  We explore these themes, ideas and thoughts through stories, poems, songs and now that the children are older we have been talking about what they mean to us.  It is not a time to be critical, it is a time of thinking,

The four weeks of December is also a time of moving through the darkness to the return of the light, the last few weeks of the days shortening.  It can be hard time especially if you live somewhere like me where the sun is rarely seen, with heavy grey clouds filling the sky day after day.  Staying positive is hard.  Somehow the chinks of positivity can be found, by being grateful, for thinking about all the wonderful things we have done this year,  spending time with those we love, what we could do in the future, the possibilities, maybe sowing the seeds of a new beginning.

The gift of light 
I thankfully hold
And pass to my neighbour
Its shining gold
That everyone may
Feel its glow,
Receiving and giving
May love and grow

How do you celebrate and stay positive at this time or year?

23 comments:

  1. What a lovely idea. And very thoughtful too. For me it is the quiet times, by log fires that are so special in this month. Coming together for meals with the family too. Sharing laughter. I do go into a frenzy mode for a few days before Christmas but I’m getting better at doing things methodically so I don’t feel overwhelmed. Hopefully the next few weeks will be kind to you. B x

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    1. Thank you. I love the quiet evenings in by the fire, we have a few of them this week but not as many as I would have liked. It is better to do things methodically isn't it, anything to avoid the frenzy.

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  2. Just like yourself I strive for balance. I don't get caught up in the madness but, instead, I enjoy the season through simple traditions and time spent with family and friends. X

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    1. It is so lovely to know that there are folks out there who feel the same way. I love to create our own traditions but spending time with family and friends is very important to us too.

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  3. Oh my Dear, what a lovely, lovely post.... -happy sigh- Your words paint beautiful word pictures. The mark of a true writer.

    Please, explain the amazing photo, on your post. I downloaded it to my iMac Photo Ap. and lightened it, so I could see details. This beautiful labyrinth is laid out on a cloth, on a floor, and on 3 sides of it, are chairs. It must have been for a lovely Celebration of the Returning of Light. I'd love to know more, about it!

    How amazing to be able to go away, at this time of year. I must go back in your archives, and see posts, about those times. -smile-

    I don't have SAD problems, but my husband has some. So I understand how people, can be depressed by the darker part of the year. Mostly, to me, it is cozy-at-home time, which is lovely.

    I am fascinated by this time of year, in that Nature goes to sleep. And since I love to pay attention of the Seasonal Changes of the Year, I want to hibernate and slow down, and "go inside", at this time of year. Don't have it *Perfected* yet of course. -grin- But working on it, is lovely.

    Love your 4 weeks of noticing different aspects. -happy sigh- I feel so few people, in this fast paced world we inhabit, take the time to pay attention to so many things, which are part of Nature, and therefore, part of us. It makes me happy, to see you and your family, doing such.

    Again, what a wonderful, and full of ideas-to-think-on, post! Thank you so much. We all need such, at this time, when 'the world' wants us to fill it, with frenzy.

    And I so love such a post, full of beautiful works, and ideas, and things to ponder. When I find one, it feels like coming upon a rare jewel, in Pretty Blog Land.

    Posts about our daily lives, are fine. No one can 'wax poetic' all the time. But oh how happy it makes me, when I come upon one!!!!!

    🎄 😊 🎄

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. The photo is and Advent Spiral that we went to on Sunday 01 December. When we all enter the room (or in this case a barn) the spiral is in darkness save for the middle candle which is lit. One by one we are given candle, we make our way into the spiral to the light, we light our candle and then make our way out to the next silver star without a light and place it there. It's a celebration to symbolise the light in the darkness, we walk to the centre to search for the light and then spread that light throughout the spiral bring the light into the darkest days of the year. The spiral itself symbolises the cycle of the rebirth of nature and the seasons and the journey to find the light. I hope that makes sense. A friend of ours hosts this every year, this is the seventh we have been to, it is beautiful and magical even it was very very cold.

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    2. Oh thank you!!!!!!!!

      How very lovely and moving and delightful!!! In this "Deep In Darkness" Part, of the Turning of the Wheel of the Year.

      Thank you.

      🎄 🎄 🎄 🎄

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  4. We are away over the Christmas week this year, for the first time in a while. Christmas for us is usually not to hectic. There have been Christmas days when we have spent time with family and others when we have been out with friends. One Christmas we looked after friends pets and went to the Indian for something to eat. I like your idea of celebrating minerals, plants, animals and humans over December. :)

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    1. I am so glad to hear that you have found way to celebrate Christmas without it being hectic. There does seem to be an enormous amount of pressure to do things a certain way, but I love to hear how people do it differently.

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  5. I need to come back and read all your past posts on the different celebrations when I have more time to take it all in. I strive for balance - probably never achieve it though - life has a way of taking over my best made plans.

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    1. Thank you, I hope you can find the time and that you find them interesting. I do hope you can find the balance that you are looking for.

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  6. I think finding a balance in the madness of December is very important. I find the winter months quite hard, I don't like the cold nor do I enjoy the darker evenings, so I try to get out and about as much as I can as taking a walk away from all the hustle and bustle can certainly help.

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    1. I hope you can find a way to get through the Winter months which are so hard for you. I am glad to hear that you have found ways of coping with them.

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  7. We do not travel for the holidays and stay home and we started the tradition when our second child was born. My husband has lots of time off during the holidays and it's the only time he can completely relax. The rest of the year we visit so many relatives that it takes up a lot of long weekends.

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    1. I love this idea Karen, I am guessing that you also had no visitors either? My house is not big enough to host my whole extended family hence we often travel to be with family at this time of year, but I love the idea of always being at home and travelling to see family during the rest of the year.

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  8. What a beautiful and thoughtful way to move through December :)

    Every year we simplify a little further...say 'yes' to fewer and fewer things so that we can keep that very important balance of quiet and busy. We love our various family gatherings but they can get to be so overwhelming...and with two ASD kids, we have to be super mindful of sensory overloading!

    I enjoy the darker days up until about the end of February and then it starts to weigh me down. I actually think it's more to do with not being able to get outside that plummets my mood, rather than the daylight hours. This year, though, I invested in a SAD lamp and both my daughter and I are using it every day. I feel as if it's definitely making a difference and I figure it can't hurt!

    Wishing you an easeful season...xoxo

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    1. Thank you. Yes family gatherings can be overwhelming especially if they don't do things in the same way as you. It is hard to go against the tide and do less at this time of year when everywhere/one around you seems to be doing the complete opposite. Somehow we have become the odd ones.

      I hear you on the not being able to get outside, I call it cabin fever when you really one to be out there but when you look out the window at the weather you realise it is not the best idea you have ever had.

      An easeful season, I do like that.

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  9. Love this post as it's so thoughtful. I don't like this time of the year at all, I don't suffer from SAD but I do feel lethargic and out of sorts. I hold on to the thought that by the 21st December we're half way through the dark days and we're then on the way (in the northern hemisphere) towards spring, my favourite season.
    Margaret P

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    1. Thank you. Lethargic and out of sorts is a good way to describe the feelings we have at this time of year. I would love to know a way of dealing with this to make peace with these dark months. I seem to flip between feeling like this and the complete opposite which can be somewhat exhausting.

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  10. A beautiful, thoughtful post, I did enjoy it and shall reflect on it. Balance in life is everything and often so difficult to achieve.xxx

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    1. Balance is difficult to achieve isn't it. Thank you for your kind words.

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  11. Wonderful the way you have separated December into these four distinct weeks in a way that works for you and your family - very inspiring! I hear you re finding the balance at this time of year, I find that coming back to myself, eg focusing on my breathing whilst washing up or making a point of NOT multi tasking (a temptation) and just doing one thing at a time is important for me.

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  12. That's an interesting way to approach it! I like it!
    for me, I am so busy teaching Christmas music as part of my job that I am totally immersed in that!!

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