Our family Christmas card this year read simply “Happy Everything”. We’re blessed to have such a diverse group of loved ones who celebrate anything from Hanukkah, to solstice, to Christmas, to their own self-created holiday…remember Festivus?
Amidst the preparation and celebrations there is one word to describe it all, holiday, holi-day, holy day. So many celebrating their own version of holy day this time of year, it begs the question why? Why do we gather around the darkest time of year, the last days of fall, beginning of winter to participate in our rituals?
My sense is that even though the traffic and parking lots explode with cars and rush, we are in the quietest time of year. Winter brings the yin, the slowing down, the hibernation. The yin is the feminine energy which is most conducive to the cultivation of creativity. It offers pause for us to quiet our minds, hearts, bodies enough to take stock of the last year, process it, clear it, transmute it into bright new endeavors for the coming 365.
The day of solstice we walked along Bolinas Ridge, an undulating ridge line which acts as final divider between the 3000 ft altitude of Mt. Tam and the sea level of Bolinas Lagoon. We caught the last light of day as the sun sank deeper into the Pacific horizon. It struck me how quiet it was up there where the hawks flew beneath us and more importantly, how necessary that quiet was for what I personally want to create in the coming year.
The quiet can be found in the most interesting spots if we simply open our awareness. The pause between and inhale & exhale, the drift between waking and sleeping, the early morning hours before birds find their song. It’s in these quiet moments where the richness of our true state can be glimpsed and are often the gateways to indescribable peace. This is holy.
I found this piece from poet David Whyte, “Finding the Holy in Holidays” which so eloquently captures the time of year.
“Holiness is the center that holds all peripheries; the ground beneath feet running to look for gifts, the held note of a song that leaves a listener silent in the busiest most glittering street. Holiness is a simultaneous form of invitation and gathering and a radical letting alone, of family, of food, of perspectives, the holy is reached through letting go, by giving up on perfection. Holiness is the rehabilitation of the discarded; the uncelebrated and the imperfect, into new unities, perceived again as gift. Holiness is the bringing of the outside into the inside, from where the inside can give again, transformed as if by its simple act of breathing in and breathing out, back into the world.”
Wishing you all a joyous, peace-full holy days in the final days before the new year.