Cream with sparkling white and golden light and the scent of balsam in the invigorating air. This says December to me. This month holds so much for all of us. And what it holds has changed over time. Certainly as children it went by slowly,, as the presents and parties and school vacations did not happen until the very end. I can remember the contentment of my sister and I watching our favorite children's Christmas shows - "Rudolph...", "Little Drummer Boy", "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", among others -- in our pajamas on the living room carpet with a bowl of popcorn between us. Later, I remember the excitement and the feeling of being so grown up as I helped to arrange presents for my younger sister. Fast forward to so many special times as my own children were growing up. The warmth and tear stinging heart tug when my daughter opened up a very desired gift, raised her tear-filled face to the sky and said, "Thank you, Santa, you got it right!" Or when my son, inevitably, each and every year, says, "This is the best Christmas ever!" December shares so many gifts. These days , our practices are in a phase of shift and change as the children have all grown and begun stretching their own celebrations to accommodate significant others and new desires. I find my joy in new ways also. The solstice has taken on more significance for me, as has the continued practice of creating a Nativity Tray. Planning a winter fire ceremony for a group or just a few brings in December energy. with the recognition of all it has and does stand for.. Deciding which coat and treats to arrange on the beautiful glass serving dish and put out on Christmas Eve has become my year's end prayer and offering. I love to take evening walks in the cold air and look at the lights on and in the various homes. They are beautiful, now clear, now blurred with the fog of my breath in the cold. Always they offer their sparkling glow as a reminder for me to let the love in my heart shine out and shower its own grateful glow to all around me.
More Fall Thoughts
October in The Berkshires is a glorious time. The warm reds, vibrant golds, and radiant oranges of the changing leaves reach their peak of color. Harvest celebrations pepper many of the weekends. Apple picking and warm cider donuts are in season. New colors and rich flavors are now available as all the root vegetables and foliage gently ripen in the late, low slanting rays. Early morning and evening walks bear the fragrance of wood smoke and frost. Squirrels scamper up the trees to their snug shelters and warm, cozy light spills out of the neighbors' windows. It is a time of complete abundance before the cold of late autumn and winter sets in. A time of pre-Thanksgiving, if you will.
It is a good time to count our blessings and notice those aspects that do not serve us anymore. Expanding awareness of self always helps us and everyone around us. We can release and let go of our "old growth" as easily as do the deciduous trees their leaves. The trees don't try to hang on to their past leaves. They know that those leaves served them and brought them to the new regrowth that certainly happens in that next season. We can learn from this. Do you "own" what does not serve your highest, best good? Many people use unconscious language that keeps their bodies stuck: my fibromyalgia, my bum leg, my (insert diagnosis here). The body, like many things in nature, goes through seasons, because it, too, is natural. Current science and medicine are still learning about how wondrous and self-regulating the body truly is, always working to achieve its equilibrium of perfect health.
Let us take stock this month and notice what we would like to release. Do so gently and with gratitude. In this way we are all filled with the recognition of our many blessings and can continue to open our hearts to both receive these blessings and share them with others.
September brings a quickening and a comfort. The cool in the air hastens our steps, especially in the morning. Like the fat-cheeked squirrels, it reminds us to hurry and get ready for the winter months, whatever that means for us. Whether it is cutting and stacking wood, harvesting the last of the garden vegetables, canning or freezing those veggies or simply checking out your vehicle's tire tread, there is some "do-ing" to September. Conversely, there is also the start of "be-ing" in September. The simple act of, once again, donning socks and shoes brings a comfort to that early morning or evening walk. Seeing the stacked wood pile just outside the door or by the fireplace reminds us of the warmth and comfort of staring into the flickering flames. Orange and yellow usher in September as sure as many leaves turn to these colors. There is warmth and power in these colors, and we can feel our own warmth and power at this time.
As you enter this month, image orange and yellow. Eat orange and yellow foods. Focus on your second and third chakras. Bring into your core self all the warmth and power that these colors embody. Stand strong, tall, and spread the sunshine of orange and yellow out into your world.
Inner Child Healing
“Shhhh, there, there, sweetheart; it’s all okay; you are so precious.”
Would that we all truly heard or received the above phrasing when we were children. Maybe some did hear words to that effect. Maybe others did receive that soothing. Hopefully more of us have been able to pass on that healing to those in our care, even if we did not receive it ourselves.
Healing the inner child is a phrase that has, at least, entered the lexicon. Many therapy sessions begin with childhood as it is such a formative time, and what happens during this phase, sets the stage for our future outlooks, relationships, lives. If you are not sure what inner child healing is all about, or if you know, but don’t feel you have addressed it or that this focus has not helped you, or that you are not someone who needs it, let me pose a question: How have you responded to recent world events? There is no judgment here, but self-honesty is crucial. Were you in fear? Did you do some research of your own or tune in to the television? Did you wait to see what the government or governing bodies were saying? Did that direction provide you with a sense of ease or comfort? Did you ask your peers about their opinions? As many adopted compliance with mask mandates, how did you feel about those who were unmasked? Were you upset, angry, frustrated? Did you want to report them? As many volunteered to receive the Covid 19 shot, how did that make you feel? Did it provide you with a sense of safety? What about those who did not want to receive the Covid 19 shot? Did that alarm you? Did you ask them why not? Did you feel annoyed or fearful?
Again, reflecting on this without judgment, and regardless of what stance you take on this issue, this time has shown all of humanity that it is healing its inner child on the collective level. Looking to governing bodies is, in essence, similar to looking for parental approval and direction. Feeling impatient with your fellow humans and their choices is akin to sibling rivalry. If you wanted to “report” someone, if you felt compelled to “educate” someone else, perhaps you needed to receive affirmation that the way you were feeling was the “right” way. You were being the “good” child and doing the “right” thing.
We know that what we experience in childhood has lasting effects into our adulthood. We often do not know how it shows up for us. Reflecting on feelings and reactions and responses to this time brings some personal clarity. Desiring support for our decisions and wishing to connect with others does not tell us that we are not yet adults, but it does show us how comfortable we are relying on our own internal compass versus checking in with someone else. And, our reactions to others who may be expressing different responses than us, is very telling. What that tells you is for your own self-reflection.
Scoping out and looking at the planet as a whole, this time shows us that humanity is trusting in nature, believing what people in authority are saying. It shows that humanity is very caring, in that no one wanted anyone else’s grandma to be sick. And, it shows that humanity is incredibly strong and resilient. This year was tough on many, and still we stand, and encourage each other to do what we think will benefit all of us.
Meditation for Non-meditators:
I know; I get it. You are way too busy, it’s not your thing, no offense, it just doesn’t work for you. You can fill this page with a gazillion reasons why you do not have a meditation practice and you would be right. Truly. I was there. As I look back, I realize I was never not on a spiritual path. I had interests as an elementary kid and later as a teen, that raised eyebrows. Not in a “danger zone” way, just in a “what’s a young kid doing thinking about that stuff” kind of way. So inevitably, I knew when I had reached the point on my journey when it was time to add meditation. And, boy, did I resist. “Truly, I don’t have the time. I’m a single mother, full time English teacher, and I’m getting my Master’s Degree,” I would whine. All true. “Seriously, I think I have undiagnosed adult ADD, I just can’t sit still and focus that way,” I would lament. “Meditation isn’t for everybody,” I would proclaim. This went on for years, literally. I would be reading books on meditation. I would be trying out walking meditations, meditating as I was jogging, listening to guided meditations, anything to avoid actually beginning my own practice. Finally, I set the alarm a bit earlier, did some yoga stretching and a bit of a flow, and laid down to meditate. I began with just a short amount of time: some mornings ten minutes, some three, but always on my mat. The ceremony was appealing, as was showing up for me, not to mention the increased ease and patience during the day.
I am proud to say that I have a meditation practice. The benefits of this are innumerable. It is the gateway to get your thoughts and emotions back in check, quiet your mind, relax your body, get in tune with all aspects of self, and deepen your spiritual growth. The trick is to literally just do it. If you are breathing deeply and aware that you may have to mentally shush yourself and refocus that you are breathing deeply, you are doing it “right”. Go ahead. Start your practice today. You will be so glad you did!
(As a healing facilitator, and a former meditation procrastinator, I love helping people begin their own meditation practice. Get in touch and together we will find the starting blocks that work for you.)