The holiday season has passed, and we trudge now into the long stretch of winter. This period is a quiet one. Sleigh bells and doorbells (and that deafening bell at the grocery store entrance) have ceased ringing. Choruses of voices, lulled.
Daylight hours are short. A gray sky presses upon our shoulders, icy earth crunching beneath our boots. The cover of snow swallows our shouts before they have a chance to become echoes.
In December, we ran here and there — to parties, galas, shows and celebrations. We reached out to others, sending stamped well-wishes to friends far and near. We sent our hearts into the world with light and song (and gingerbread and eggnog and candied pecans — oh, my…)
Now, in the time of year where our home is furthest from the sun– from our physical source of heat and light — we hunker down. We come inside from the cold and cutting wind. We stay inside to get our bearings. We’ve been riding a wave of togetherness for weeks, but in these early days of the new year, it’s time for us to touch back down. It’s time to find the reset button.
Maybe resetting means a seven-day cleanse of melon water or overhauling our closets. Maybe it means cooking a whole bunch of food that we just like instead of worrying about someone’s walnut allergy and someone’s aversion to anything
with flavor spicy and someone’s inability to digest foods with seeds. Maybe it’s drinking hot tea and wearing cotton instead of polyester and itchy things that sparkle. Maybe it just means remembering how to be alone.
Alone, where we notice…
Alone, where we perceive…
When we are finally alone, we might observe the soft light behind the screen of our closed eyelids, the way the colors and textures morph and change as we relax the muscles of our eyes and faces (and try not to imagine our dads’ velvet tiger poster circa 1970).
We might even marvel at the miracle of breath – the subtle rise of the sternum as we mindlessly prompt airflow into the lungs, as we allow the universe to push oxygen into our willing bodies. We feel the rush of heat as we exhale, listening to the warm hiss from deep within our throats.
We might notice other movements and sensations of the body, the rumbles and gurgles of the day’s fare journeying through our abdomens (hmm, was that the broccoli rabe?), nourishing our needy bodies. We tune in to areas of tension, focusing on those places, considering the why and how behind the symptom. Then we release them, breathing the burdens out of our bodies (and perhaps releasing other things too…isn’t it fantastic being alone?)
If we can confront the clunky nature of our physical form and train our harried bodies to achieve some semblance of peace and stillness, to melt into our cushion, mat or bed, then we might just be able to push through the visceral realm and confront the intangibles of intellect and spirit.
We slow our bodies in order to open our minds.
When we are quiet and alone, we can finally examine who and what we are. We hold our souls out before us, turning them over in our hands like pieces of stone. We notice their color and texture, the places where they sparkle and shine, the scuffs and deep scars of injury and experience.
We interrogate our own ideals, asking questions that lead to hard work, and more questions. Why do we believe what we do? How can our actions and words more truly reflect those beliefs? Do our habits reveal their position of priority? What qualities do we wish to cultivate within our own character? How can we not become our parents?
When we are alone, we strike a match and step into the flame. We feel the warmth and heat of vision. We reverberate with the energy and promise of a newly birthed dream.
Or perhaps, we need no match — we courageously venture back into our deepest caverns in search of a remembered bed of coals. Yes, there will be bats and spiders and unknown crawly things, but we
spray them with some sort of aerosol can while screaming shrilly heroically sweep them aside. We fan the embers of inborn passion, re-igniting purpose and promise.
Alone, we reconnect with our creator, with our spirit. We make time for important wonderings. What worthwhile practices do we wish to keep? What divinely orchestrated surprises may already await us? Whom may we better love this year? Better serve? Better honor?
And then we stop asking so that we may start listening. In that silent place, we are reminded of our worth at this exact moment, our unfathomable meaning to the people with whom we are connected, the souls with whom we have been masterfully entwined.
Alone and silent, we observe and we marvel. We question and affirm.
Alone, we reimagine. Revisit. Resolve. Reset.
Now is the time. Where have you come from and where are you going? Who do you wish to be? Who were you created to be?
Ask the questions.
Do the work.