Lighting My Way

My friend Donna sent an email with all the things she loves this time of year. I smiled and felt an strong connection to everything she mentioned.

I immediately thought of all the ways I try to bring calm and cozy to my life in December.

  • This was something I didn’t even know I needed. But I’ve turned it on every day, and I can’t imagine winter without it!
  • White lights- everywhere! We have battery-operated table candles outside on the deck, in the bathroom, at the front door, and on every table top. Outside we string white lights on the porch and around the door.
  • Turmeric tea after dinner. I started it for my joints. Maybe it’s my imagination, but I think it’s helping me fall asleep :)
  • I never would have bought this for myself. One, it’s not my style. And two, well, it’s not inexpensive. But now that I have it, I can’t live without it, wrapping myself up in it whenever I sit on our sofa. The dog and cat love snuggling on it, too!
  • Warm socks: Donna recommended these, and I’ll have to try them. I’ve found these work great for me, too.

Most holidays are fairly meaningless to me. (I’ll have to deep dive into that sometime.) But Christmas usually makes me feel light and joyful. I have my moments when darker thoughts make their way into my emotions, but I think all the white lights and soft piano Christmas music we ask Alexa to play, keeps me level.

Last night we went to River’s Edge Yoga for a sound bath. White lights reflected off the brick walls, and Lynn, the owner, had put candles everywhere. We lay down under blankets feeling immersed in sound. Some say white lights give us a dopamine kick, but I find I breathe deeper and feel more connected to humanity.

Whatever the reason, I know I feel changed when the lights come on in December.

The Season

There’s something about this season I love. You’ll not find me decorating for easter, halloween, or thanksgiving. But when it’s time for the white lights to come out, I’m in.

Perhaps it’s the cold that has layered itself on us, or maybe I like the light/dark metaphor so evident this time of year. Whatever it is, I find myself jumping in with tiny trees around the house, greenery everywhere, and those white lights. I find it’s easier to take breathing moments (it’s what I call my meditation in short bursts) and relax with a cup of hot anything. And I’ve settled into this mantra: you don’t have to be perfect.

This week several items of note need saving:

  • For those who are tired of self-care, self-help therapy, Elise Loehnen has written a short piece that better describes why knowing yourself IS important:

I think that self-help is a social good. And I think we need to rebrand the concept as “personal responsibility.” Specifically, personal responsibility for collective health and wholeness. It’s akin to managing your own trash so you don’t pollute the whole neighborhood. Plus, once your own trash management is in hand, you might have the capacity to help others with their trash as well. Or at least not add to their burden by dumping your dog poo bags in their yard.

Elise Loehnen
  • About that perfection? Here’s another push to try something new.

Until next time….

When Everything Comes Together

I am back to my morning routine, and it’s amazing how much better I feel. First, coffee and reading, then exercise and a podcast. This is followed by some journal writing (usually throw it away after I’ve finished.) Then a healthy breakfast and I’m ready to start the day.

I wonder why it has taken me so long to get back to the routine. But a friend shared this today, and it makes sense:

“Life is a series of seasons, and what works in one season may not work in the next.
What season are you in right now? What habits does that season require?”
– James Clear

My winter/spring seasons require my morning routine.

Other tidbits I’ve been reading/thinking about:

  • A quote from Jocelyn’s newsletter:

I’ve mentioned before in this newsletter how, at the end of my morning meditation, I often ask my angels/teachers/guides/ancestors, What would you have me know today?
Jocelyn K. Glei

  • And, finally, the concept of “after.” When I was a runner, I didn’t enjoy running. I loved the half-marathons when I did well, when I could measure my time against myself and others, and I loved when I finished. So I began to say the word “after” whenever I wanted to quit, sometimes even in the middle of a practice run. These days, I often have to say the word to myself when I am facing a busy weekend (after the weekend, I will have my alone time), or when it’s too cold to walk the dog but I need to go out (after the walk, I’ll be glad I did it). Somehow, just saying the word helps me remember that hard things end, eventually. And often I am glad I did them.

Later, friends….