"We invite you to listen to your desires, to see the world not as it is, but as it could be. Go ahead and wish. It is what makes the holidays the holidays."
---Starbucks coffee cup
The days grow shorter, the nights are colder, and my body wants more starch, more sleep, moving towards hibernation.
Yet, part of me seeks out the wonder in the early morning sky, the winter constellations bright and close, the faint hint of sunrise an hour or two away. I yearn for this time of creation, and find myself drawn to music making, writing, painting, and the reading of deep, spiritual books. I find myself drawn to my friends, for serious conversation, for truly being with each other, in community. I yearn to go deep, to go inside myself.
This is the time of year to ponder the mysteries of the Universe, to contemplate God and the universal energies and spirits, and to simply be in awe of where I am, who I am, and where I may be going.
We gather with friends, and discuss serious issues: prejudice, genocides, war, child abuse, the circle of life within our families, and of friends far away, but close in our hearts. While doing so, we listen to cheerful holiday music, imploring us to find the joy in giving, in the delights of children in wonder of the world, in the simple pleasures of joining together as family and friends, and celebrate our lives with each other. Bright lights twinkle in town, and in our neighbors’ yards, telling us we are all alive, we are all children of the Light.
Being serious and being in the spirit of joy with others is not incongruous, but rather simply two sides of the same coin of our humanity, our curiosity, our spiritual quest for seeking out who we really are. We are complex, yet, in simplicity and quiet, we can go deep into ourselves, and, in doing so, find true satisfaction, true peace, true understanding.
In sleep, I ponder life itself, and my spirit roams, battling the mythical beasts and spirits of the netherworld. I reorganize the file cabinets of my day’s experiences, and put them in order, tidying up and preparing for the next day’s work. I pull the blankets tighter around me, as the nights lengthen and the breath of winter comes into the valley. My spirit draws closer to me, and I go deeper into my own mysteries, my own cave. The moon rises and sets, stars whirl around Polaris, Orion remaining at the alert, his hand on his sword, as Morpheus carries me along.
Today, I mix my paints, and pick up different brushes to create bright colors, shapes of summer, of times when the sun rose high in blue skies, when cold east winds were but a distant memory. The Muse brings life to the palette, the canvas, and the smell of the oil brings warmth to my heart and to my soul. The hand and the soul dance together. I am just the meeting place.
Tonight, I dance, in the quiet of the cold, stirring the coals of my soul. Night draws close, and I ponder the words on the coffee cup, wondering about hope, what could be. And, knowing it begins with just a tiny spark, on a cold winter’s night.
And, so I light a candle. It begins.
Neal Lemery 12/09