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Archive for December, 2010

That may seem like a strange title, but this year I felt the need to bring more joy into the holidays.  I did all of my shopping and mailing early, so I did feel less stressed, but I also had a strange feeling of not being invited to the party since I was not out there rushing around like everyone else.  But crowded stores really bother me now, and I almost felt like I was going to have a panic attack standing in line in the crowded post office.

I also wanted to explore the meaning of Christmas traditions to bring more meaning and less commercialism to my Christmas this year, since I was staying home.  I made an Advent wreath, found a wonderful Advent calendar, and did some reading and research.  I was amazed to learn many of the Christian traditions are based on pagan ones.  It did make the season more special.

That isn’t to say I did not spend too much money.  There really is so much pressure to buy, and of course I had to have some presents to open “from my dog.” Those were books and CD books, and I have sworn never to buy more.  But they give me more pleasure than anything else, and I found some real treasures this year.  I decided I would read them and in some cases pass them on if I felt someone else could benefit, unless they are something I mark for future reading.  I used to not want to make marks in my books, but I realized that was ridiculous.  It does not ruin the book; it only shows how loved it is.

I did decide to reduce my Christmas CD collection.  I usually added one a year, so I decided it was too large because I never played them all.  I kept the ones I really loved, and I gave the others to a woman who adopted three families for Christmas and a young military wife whose husband is deployed.  She was thrilled because I also added some children’s DVDs I had bought for when my nephew comes to visit, but he has outgrown them.  I’ll spare you a cliche on that, but it did feel good.  And I will make my Advent wreath on something less tacky than tin foil next year.

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The Wisdom of Trees

Last week as we were walking towards my favorite trees, I noticed their leaves were finally starting to fall.  The other trees were almost bare already, but these trees shed their leaves last.  As I stood in the grove, I felt a sadness knowing they would soon be bare and it meant winter was coming.

Then I realized, they aren’t sad, and they aren’t resisting.  The falling leaves made a whispering sound as they gently glided down through the branches.  

“Winter embraces the land, and trees surrender their leaves in an act of holy supplication, extending their arms upward in prayer. I see in those bare branches, the beauty of things brought back to their essence,” wrote Christine Valters Paintner on her beautiful web site, abbeyofthearts.com.

Trees have always seemed strong and wise to me.  I come from a logging town, and when I went back there it broke my heart to see the logging trucks constantly roaring down the highway in back of my grandmother’s house.  Once there was a picture in the paper of a lumberjack who had cut down the first tree in a stand that was over 100 years old.  He was grinning like he had just climbed Mount Everest.

“I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.”~~Willa Cather
 
 The older I get, the more I resist change, which is futile.  Especially in these times, I need to remember to live in the seasons, not in the past.

 

 

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“I did not fail at being a basketball player nor did poetry fail me.  More accurately, my inwardness evolved with enough life experience, so that moving bodily in the air evolved into the poet’s dance of feeling which then evolved into the spirit’s grace of being.  I no more failed in my desire to be a basketball player than the cocoon fails the butterfly, though the form of the dream was painful to lose.

 “Living up to a dream is rarely as important as entering it for all it has to teach.”

~~Mark Nepo, “The Book of Awakening”

Reading those words this morning made my heart sing.  Lately I have been so full of regret for the dreams that I let go, and even have been trying to bring them back.  He goes on to give a list of questions to ask yourself about the dream(s).  This will be so helpful as I sort out what to let go of and what to pursue again, perhaps in a different manner.

I almost didn’t buy this book, which is supposedly on Oprah’s nightstand.  I thought it might be over my head.  But the more I read it, the more I realize it’s going to be another daybook I read over and over (like “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach and “The Awe-Manac” by Jill Badonsky).   I want to create my own daybook for my personal use, because I have been collecting quotes for many years.  I decided I want it to have my own photographs, so that will take some time, but it will be fun and a way of preserving what speaks to me.

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Blue Christmas

“Christmas is a time when you get homesick – even when you’re home.”  ~Carol Nelson

Lake Hayward

The quote is from a post on “Christmas Blues” by Cindy LaFerle.  Like me, she feels nostalgic for Christmases of the past.  As I always think about the holidays, “There are just too many ghosts.”

I was going to be all ready this year and have a plan.  Then it was Thanksgiving, and I had not done one thing.  So rather than feeling rushed and behind, I’m looking at all my holiday traditions and asking myself what they mean to me and if they are worth keeping.

Actually, there is very little I HAVE to do.  I chose to send out Christmas cards because I love receiving them to see what’s going on in everyone’s lives.  It will be interesting to see if being on Facebook takes away some of the pleasure.  Other things I do because I’ve always done them, so those are the traditions I will be looking at changing or not doing at the advice of my mentors.

And I know, there’s the whole “give to others and you will feel the joy of the season” advice.  That does help, at least temporarily.    But the crass commercialization of the holiday weighs me down.    I am trying to tune it out as much as possible.

I once suggested to my family that instead of exchanging presents, we should go up to the White Mountains (here in Arizona) for an old-fashioned Christmas.  They weren’t interested.  I’ve also thought about spending Christmas somewhere it wasn’t celebrated, but I never thought of somewhere like that where I would want to go.

For the first time I made an advent wreath, and I’m trying to celebrate the real meaning of the season.  I’ve been using the calendars from Living in Season because I’m tired of the months going by in a blur.  I’m trying to be more present, especially when I’m out in Nature.

I’ll “muddle through somehow.”

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