– and fun and frenetic and FOOD and – farewells. (Those will happen far too soon.)
The holidays have been a delightful dance of train and airport pickups and drop offs. With three out of four children living at a considerable distance from the family home, these times of confluence are beyond precious.
As we each create our unique choreographies in our own home bases, there is always a little period of adjustment when we come together once again, and find out how to dance together now.
Listening. Observing. Connecting in the dance.
What a blessing!
…and for cancer. We just learned last night that a close family member received a diagnosis a few days ago.
There’s a kind of lie that we all want to buy into at Christmas – that everything is good, and whole and full and there is an abundance of overflowing joy and goodwill. We want to freeze-frame all this and live what we see on the front of the Christmas cards that drop through the mail slot. We hang on to this vision with desperation – a bulwark against encroaching darkness and chaos: war, terrorism, pestilence, even our own bodies, turned against themselves.
Where is the light?
We are fast approaching the shortest day of the year. The longest night. And then, the balance will start to tip back… gradually, gradually. We will slide toward the longest day, the shortest night, and then… Nature see-sawing from light to dark, with us along for the ride, trying to derive some sense from the cryptic, never-ending process.
Light and dark, and all the pairs of opposites, disappear under closer scrutiny. C is also for cyclic, and continuous. There is only flow punctuated by our moments of blindness as we look at it.
It’s that time of year.
Right now, it’s 4 in the afternoon and the sun is already low on the horizon. At 7 in the morning it’s still dark and I curl up, pull the covers protectively over my ear, and dissolve into one more dream sequence.
The deepening darkness awakens a thirst for the light. I have unpacked my crêches and put them on display, surrounded by candles. Advent is a celebration of the birth of the Light into a world of shadow.
I hold a warm cup of tea, sip, and savour this season and the perspective it invites.
My Thursdays have a comfortable predictability about them: drive to Merrickville to visit my Mom at Hilltop Manor, stop in at my sister’s in Kemptville on the way home for tea ; do my grocery shopping in the afternoon; and – every second Thursday – volunteer at the Detention Centre in the evening.
But today a flat tire created the possibility of an entirely new narrative.
Another volunteer generously offered to take my evening shift. Then, instead of feasting on those quick-fix food items that I traditionally sneak into my grocery cart (samosas! chips!), I looked around the kitchen and thought it would be the perfect day to make a huge batch of soup and use up some of the veggies that were being tacitly ignored. Oh – and a big apple crisp to use up those apples… and when this was done, I realized that I had more than enough of both for our household, and took some over to a neighbour…
It felt as if some greater power had seen the need to redirect my day’s energy. Instead of a day of disappointments (no visit, no new groceries, no yoga class at the detention centre), it became a day of discovery (soup! apple crisp! connecting with our neighbour!).
when life gives you a flat tire – make soup!
The clouds pass. I see their leaden mass, their backlit edges. What is behind it all is perfectly unfathomable.
And this is good. This is fine. This is just as it should be.
I will pass, (am passing), like the clouds.
There is a profoundly moving beauty in all of this.
I do not understand, but I can dwell in this beauty, be carried by it, dissolve in it.
When I was birthing my children time ceased to flow in a tic-toc way. It stretched and meandered and became something entirely organic – not at all linear. Time was measured by the arc of contractions – something that I had no voluntary control over. The universe inhabited my body – I was well and truly a part of something infinitely greater than myself. Surrendering to that process I tasted bliss.
The last time I gave birth was to my fourth child (eighteen years ago!). Very near to the time when he would be born I put on the song Alegria (Cirque du Soleil) and — danced — an act that was totally unplanned, totally improvised. I danced with the force of nature that would soon bring my son into the world.
“There is a love in me raging! Alegria!”
In the practice of yoga and tai chi this is the place I ultimately seek: a place of surrender into the mysterious flow of abundance, of joy and sorrow, that flows in and through me.