Tag Archives: New Years

As the page turns….

I have this thing about Dec 31st-Jan1st.  Maybe it’s memory from my early childhood of going to sleep with my friend among layers of coats while our parents were downstairs (maybe playing cards) “ringing in the new year”. Maybe it’s the remembrance of ham and cabbage and potatoes, what I remember as “the smell of Gramma’s” on New Year’s Day, which I try to replicate as a tip of the hat.  Maybe it’s the smell of a new calendar (whether or not I’ve already go events on it).  Whatever it is, there is something almost superstitious about my intention (and often actually accomplishing) changing the sheets, cleaning the house, finishing the laundry, tidying my workspace before the stroke of midnight.  And being a “deadline” kind of person, it’s usually the last day or two that it happens.

What gets me most is that I don’t think of myself as a superstitious person.  What is it about turning a page on a calendar that compels me to act thus?

But it doesn’t feel like superstition; it feels sacred.  These idiosyncratic rituals feel like an offering of myself, of gratitude, to the Source of Life.  Sometime during those two days, I recite a Jewish prayer that contains the phrase “who has kept us and sustained us in life to experience this time”, not because I feel personally picked out, but in recognition that I am here to bear witness to this moment.  That’s not something I was intentionally taught as a child, so I wonder where does it come from?

Is it the human spirit’s need to notice times of transition?  Is it a recognition of our smallness but importance in the universe?  Acknowledging our/my part in the great cycle of Time Turning?  I don’t know.  It feels like a ‘thin place’ in time, an opportunity, if I pay attention, to feel extra connected with That Which Is Beyond Our Self.  There is something that affirms life, that offers a new start, that is downright grace-full about the ritual of marking the Georgian calendar’s New Year.  About turning the page.

How do you face the transitions? What do you do to mark it?

I am ambiguous about the ritual of making resolutions. Do you make them?  How is that work for you? Does it keep you accountable, or is a burden abandoned (like most of us) within six weeks?   I like idea of making an intention to live in grace and wholeness, so that I can love myself and others who touch my life in a variety of ways. I also hope that I can make it to midnight this year.

So before I run off to go change those sheets, and put up the new calendar, may I wish you Happy New Year, my Friends.

henry4shcool

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12 Days to Wonder

This time of year is so spiritually full for me, I want to burst.  The time of the Longest Night at Solstice, literally watching the sunlight come back…the lights of Christmas…the laughter of feasting and the silence of the winter nights. Sacred Time.12-days-aliexpress-com

And of course those aren’t one-off days. The ubiquitous 12 Days…from Solstice to Hogmanay, from Christmas Dec 25 to the Epiphany (or the Visit of the Magi, or “Little” Christmas) Jan 6th.  Days of feasting and friends. Days of looking back over the year – was I the person I wanted to be? do the things I wanted to do? And looking forward into resolving something for the coming year.

And its made possible because of the beauty of Deep Winter. This week was a perfect example of it. That latest blizzard, sidetracking so many plans, brought Awe.  Watching the snow come down, and blow furiously, I mellowed into a deep gratitude.  The plans were shot so it became a “free day”.  I got to really look at the beauty of the snow, and the power of the Wind. And be in awe of the amount of snow (even when I was shoveling it). I was taken aback, brought to tears blowing-snow-janicelukes-caeven, by the sheer magnificence of snow blowing across the 256.  The power, the beauty of the muted colours, birthed in me such a sense of wonder and awe, connecting in my heart to others who have walked this land: how did Indigenous people endured prairie winters without the benefit of coal, oil or gas? and what depth of perseverance of the early European settlers to stay.

That pull-you-back-to-reality kind of humility reconnects me to the rhythms of growth, rest & renewal, and new beginnings.  It seems that it is mostly when I am confronted by the “you’re-not-in-control” weather, and in the starkness of the season, that I am overwhelmed by the Power that sustains all of Life.  The Sacred Mystery that holds us all together, that has been there in the past, and will be in the future, but mostly is known in “the Now”, seems just that much closer.

A gift, for me, of the starkness of the landscape is to be reminded not to be sidetracked by the pizzazz around me. It’s really easy for me to get sidetracked by colours, food, busy-ness and the TV-marathons of the season.   Instead the bare trees invite me to spend time this week sitting in the relative darkness, watch the lights and candles, the small fragile lights straining against the darkness that threatens to overtake them, yet lighting up the room. The starkness invites me to see the gift of looking at my life stripped down with honesty: who was I this year? what am I grateful for? what do I wish I had done differently? what gifts did I receive from the mistakes I made, and the not-so-smooth parts of my life? And to look forward to a new year, with it’s 2nd (or 3rd or 116th) chances to begin again, to be the person that is at the core of me, to live connected to the deepest yearning of my heart and the Mystery of Life that sustains it.

The gift of time to look back and be grateful, look forward with hope. And just be here Now in this Sacred Time, for 12 whole days.