Today, as you probably know, is the darkest day of the year. I've mentioned before that my family has had a tradition of lighting candles on this day, and in the lighting, bringing our intentions to light the dark in our lives, and saying aloud our hopes for light and air and warmth as the sun returns.
We've turned the wheel again, or perhaps it has turned us, and merry Solstice to you.
When we started this tradition, life was good. We were planning a family, and our hopes for the new year were very specific and tangible. A baby, please. As that process became more complicated, and hoping got more difficult, I lit candles for keeping our dreams alive, for learning acceptance, and yes, for the small hope that someday we might have our wish come true.
It did, of course, and six years later the kids can light their own candles and dream their own dreams for the coming light. I love to watch them imagine themselves into the future, even if the wish is more Santa than Solstice.
My intention, though, feels like my own turn of the wheel: not moving forward so much as coming around again. My intention this year is to have intention. Somehow in the crush of life and kids and jobs and stuff, life has gotten to be less what I make it, and more what it makes me. While I have no illusions of control or linearity, perhaps I might be happier, a better friend and mother, and live a more meaningful life, if I moved through it with a bit more purpose, instead of letting myself be buffeted by the winds of the many things and people and forces that act upon my life.
I'm struck by how cyclical this all is, how life is never attained, but rather maintained, and how doing it well never gets easy. In my twenties I thought I'd figure stuff out. I went to therapy, I read and thought and imagined who I wanted to be and then went to try to be that person. And I got sort of close, and it felt pretty good. The amazing thing is that it's not about doing it once, it's about doing it over and over and over again. And then not stopping for a moment because if you do, you'll lose all the presence and awareness and wholeness you were going for, and you'll start all over again. I suppose the Buddhists really do have it right: you can't get attached, because then you're not really doing it, you're just holding on to the idea of doing it. It's not about the idea of awareness. It's about awareness. And it's the work of every moment.
Man, that's not easy.
But I suppose that if anyone ever said anything about life, it's not that it's easy, huh?
So my intention to light this day's dark is this: to carefully kindle the small flame of my intention--of the person I want to be--as I walk through the windy world. I will step carefully, and my hands will grasp less and shield the flame more.
May your own darkness be lit by the returning sun. I'll hold your intentions, spoken below in the comments or held close in your hearts, for the coming year.
Bright blessings all...