Here’s the problem with the holidays, and an invitation to solve it.
There is a basic conflict in the way we have come to celebrate these winter holidays that creates stress and problems for a lot of people. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to understand this phenomena, with the goal being to find your own true way to the peace and joy we all need so much.
All of non-equatorial life on this planet evolved to the cycle of summer and winter energies. When the sun is hot and the day is long, living things are busy and productive with the business of sustenance. When the nights are cold and long, living things survived by going inside, underground and dormant. This was a time to embrace the darkness, rest and conserve one’s resources to emerge with the returning of the light, restored and ready for the business of the warm months.
This urge to hibernate also serves an important role in emotional cleansing and spiritual awakening. The slow, dark elements urge us to inner exploration, to release and resolve the many pressures of life for which there’s little time to process in times of great activity.
But we are by nature afraid of the dark, and therefore of the depth’s of our psyche in the invisible world of all that we feel but cannot see. Our comfort zone is in the external, the physical, the busy and the bright. So human cultures developed traditions to keep spirits bright during the dark winter months with fire, lights, food, family, heightened by elevating stories and conversations of love all to feed the spirit.
But maybe we went too far. We developed electric lights and 24/7 Walmart shopping opportunities, in other words, the resources to avoid the darkness. We find ourselves getting super busy when nature is inviting us to be quiet. Social coziness becomes social demands. Simple sharing becomes lists of stuff to do and to buy. Gratitude becomes obligation. And exhaustion replaces restoration. Any interest was lost, stress is the cost.
Love and joy need a source of fuel just as your body needs calories. When a person is tired and at the end of their resources – physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually – she or he is in a survival mode in which generosity of the heart runs out of juice. When emotional batteries are drained, we can’t force and artificially create good will. Rather, it must flow naturally.
So my challenge to you is to examine this conflict within yourself, this misuse of resources. How will you find your balance this winter in this holiday season so that your spirit shines forth warmly and naturally?
Please send me your ideas about how you can, or begin to, find your natural rhythm and restoration of the Spirit. Next week I will share your ideas with everyone along with my own. Together we can forge our own spiritual traditions to create, at least for ourselves, peace on earth.