In previous centuries, before the advent of electric light, winter was a time of rest, relaxation, and hibernation. These were times when people depended upon a good harvest of their crops to make it through the cold season, and there were no grocery stores around the corner to stock up on food supplies. There was not a whole lot to do on the short, cold winter days, once the harvest was in, except to read or work on handicrafts by the fire. There was a natural alignment with the seasonal rhythms, an alignment that I am keenly aware of in this 21st century.
Even living in the tropics, I am deeply tuned in to the earth’s seasons and rhythms. About this time each year, I rebel against the escalation and craziness of the Christmas holiday season. What I want more than anything is to dive deeply into the dark, quiet peace of the winter solstice, go within, and hibernate like the wild, furry mammals of other species. It’s no easy task in these times, to disengage from the bright lights, the parties, the shopping frenzies, and the loud and raucous celebrations that welcome the new year… but somehow, I do. It helps to live on Maui, where Christmas is pretty mellow and low-key. I can’t imagine living in a city during this time of year, although I have in the past.
I know, you probably think I’m a Grinch or maybe just a party-pooper. I admit that I cringe at the thought of Christmas shopping and receiving gifts I don’t really want; at tacky tinsel in colors I’m not fond of; of all those irresistible sugary treats appearing at once; of spoiled children whining for MORE PRESENTS; and of stressed out people over-extending credit card balances. I also admit to having a favorite Christmas song, to loving the smell of evergreen fir boughs, to enjoying light displays on homes, to appreciating the deep peace of the high holy day itself, and to acknowledging the birth of the Christ Consciousness in its pure, un-religious, energetic form. The gifts I want to give and receive are quality time and presence with people I love, quality time with myself and my inner being, small gatherings of friends to catch up on each other’s lives… no credit card bills necessary. I want to get quiet enough to feel my own heart beat and I want deep connection with my beloved, at a time when work and the internet can be set aside for a few days and the whole world feels blanketed in peace.
I don’t begrudge those who celebrate the holidays in whatever way they like to. I simply choose, most years, not to engage. I’m more than happy and willing to make the occasional exception, such as a Christmas with my in-laws in the upper mid-west. I’ll be due for that in 2013 and I’ll enjoy it for what it is. But for this year, after the kind of year I’ve had, filled with underpaid overwork, extreme stress, and a magnificent, monumental, successful effort to bring Divine Feminine Institute to a close gracefully, I will descend delightedly into the dark in the way of my ancestors of long ago. I will rest, recover, and repose. As I emerge into 2013, having shed the skin of the past 7 years, I’ll be refreshed and ready for what’s next. And what’s next promises to be amazing and magical.
Happy holidays, whatever your fancy.
Love & blessings, Amrita