Lately I’ve been craving stillness. It has been such a tumultuous year for me, my family, my friends, as well as the world at large, and I’m a bit exhausted from it all.
Excitement, fear, worries, celebration, new ventures, discarding the past, learning a lot, getting to know new people. It all takes energy, which when not recharged can cause fatigue.
“Best of all is it
to preserve everything in a pure, still heart,
and let there be for every pulse a thanksgiving,
and for every breath a song.”
~ Konrad von Gesner
Sometimes we get so caught up in moving forward and doing the next thing that we don’t take stock of how far we’ve come since last year, or even the past month at times.
So since dropping off my art work in St. Charles and Geneva, I have been reflecting a lot on all that has happened this year. When there was a big snow warning Thursday evening I was hoping it would happen, so the world would just snuggle up in its white stilling blanket but we had whipping winds and falling temperatures instead.
It still precluded a planned venture out in the city, and I took a hibernation day anyway. Laying in the dark helped me process a lot of thoughts and truly check in with how I feel about the year’s events.
“In silence, at first, you can hear EVERYTHING you’re internalizing.
It’s not calming, it’s not comfortable, and
if you keep listening to those voices, engaging them,
conversing with them, they will never subside and
allow the possibilities of quiet to unfold.”
~ Princess Lasertron
The next day I walked to the lake to breathe out all the changes, and breathe in the gorgeous colors of the chilly sunset.
This year our family decided that our together time over Thanksgiving was the gift of the year, and none of us need anything else from the store.
Initially it was jarring to not have to get caught up in the hoopla of shopping or checking wishlists or coming up with something clever to give. There is still that trigger with every “last minute holiday deal” ping in my inbox, out in the stores, on the web. But that too, has had me thinking of how Christmases past were focused on things, a tally of what everyone would get, rather than the quality of time spent together and the memories shared (check out the Princess Giving Radvent, by the way). These memories of togetherness turn out to be far more meaningful, several de-cluttering stints later.
“It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes or bags!
And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
‘Maybe Christmas,’ he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!'”
~ Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
So I am glad to spend this Christmas in stillness. I have one present under the tree from a friend, and seeing it along with all the holiday cards each day, knowing it represents all the other wonderful people thinking of me, makes me happy.
I may pull out a movie, or get absorbed in a book, or start working on the 2013 planner I’ve recently ordered. All is well in my little world, and love stretches through time and space across the miles, across continents, and even from beyond.
Amidst all the hurry to get presents wrapped and to your holiday destination, between the shuttling of family members to church services and other events, as you check the timers for your “roast beast”, find a moment of stillness. Watch the flicker of a candle, reflect on the meaning of that manger scene. Ponder the concept of solstice and evergreens. Look for the sparkle of a fluttering angel’s wings. Kiss your sweetheart under the mistletoe just a tad bit longer. Hug everyone a little harder to thank them for their presence, not just their present.
“Learning how to be still,
to really be still and let life happen –
that stillness becomes a radiance.”
~ Morgan Freeman
Wishing you a lovely Christmas time, however you celebrate it.
For more reflections on stillness, look atÂ Princess Lasertronâ€™s fabulous HaikuDeck on Silence (it only takes 5 moments).