Monday, December 21, 2015

December's Invitation

Squishing along the boardwalk in the very wet Jackson-Frazier Wetland a ten-minute walk from my house, I realize that nature is issuing us an invitation in December: to see clearly and rest deeply. The trees have lost their leaves, revealing vistas that are invisible the rest of the year, revealing the beautiful form and structure of the trunks and branches themselves. The brief days and long, dark, cold nights make us naturally want to turn inward and conserve our energies.
I overheard this conversation between two men in the jacuzzi at my gym this morning: “It’s so dark for so many hours! We’re getting close to solstice now. I don’t know why, but I just feel like hibernating.” “Yeah, I just want to curl up with a good book and not be disturbed, and I’m not much of a reader the rest of the year.” I was smiling inwardly and thinking to myself, “I know why. It’s because we’re animals.”
But how many of us consciously accept the invitation? I was glad to learn that an organization called TreeSisters, whose mission is to empower women all over the world and swiftly reforest our world, absolutely gets it. I listened in to their regular full moon call, hosted by founder Clare Dakin, and enjoyed the guided meditation for December. “Drawing our life force back inside is like learning from the trees,” read Clare's invitation to the call, which continued:

Total stillness
In silence
Finally I can hear
The rivers of my veins flowing
And my roots breathing
As I fall back to the centre
Of my Self

Clare asked us to consider “drawing back our energies from all our ‘doing’, to feel what it’s like to really give our energy fully to ourselves.” What it was really like for me, honestly, was feeling anxious, antsy, impatient with myself. I’ve shed the compulsion to Christmas shop, instead choosing to give to charities that feed the hungry and protect the earth, but shouldn’t I be serving on several boards or at least volunteering somewhere? Oh sheesh, I thought as I listened to myself, that programming is so, so stubborn.
But besides that, I’m a single householder, a freelancer, and the sole breadwinner for me and my cat. I need clear examples of how it would look for me to slow down in December and still make the mortgage payment. What it looks like this year is that I focus during the brief daytime hours on projects for my editing clients, who seem to get a little frantic about wrapping things up by year’s end, and when the sun goes down I nap, read a novel, have dinner, play with my cat, go to bed early. I may have to let go of sending out a solstice letter to friends. Will they understand that this year, finally, I’m accepting December’s invitation and doing the best I can to hibernate?