Some folks choose a word of the year. When I revisited this poem recently and felt it resonate and zing down to my bone marrow, I decided I’m choosing this as a poem of the year. Or perhaps just a poem I will hold in my heart and aspire to live into for as long as it takes.
Here’s the poem:
Inside my life resides a simpler life,
And inside that another, concentric
Russian dolls of happiness, each
Waiting for me to show them sky,
Birdsong, rain, the gifts of plain days,
Until at last my innermost original
Shrugs off all husks of complexity
To wake singing in this world.
I wonder if reading this poem pulls on your heart and soul like it does mine. If you heave a giant sigh of relief just reading this possibility. Oh, to shrug off complexities. Oh, that simpler life inside this one. Holy yes to this, from every cell in my body. This is exactly where I’m aimed in 2023 and beyond. Doing less with more presence and more wholehearted affection. Carl and I are in the creative throes of revisioning our work offerings and fresh ways we can share with you from this spirit of that tiniest doll, singing her heart out, from the center of a simpler life. By the way, if you’re drawn to a poem of the year, I’d love to hear what it is!
Savoring the dark half of the year was a practice for me for some years as someone who used to struggle with winter and I’m happy to say it’s now a spontaneous pleasure. I find such a relief in the pace of this darkening season, in the cozy meals, in candlelight and twinkle lights and in going to bed ridiculously early. Why not?! It’s been dark for hours by 8 pm.
And then waking ridiculously early as well. Why not!? I love to linger in quiet mornings with no electric lights, sitting in the dark with a candle or two, sometimes a cat on my lap, letting my mind wander, maybe writing, or sitting with strange dream images; simply taking my waking slow.
I have been savoring Katherine May’s wonderful book Wintering
and this quote sums up some of what I love about this season.
“In the twenty-first century we are awash with light, not just from the pendants and lamps that deliberately light up our homes in the evening, but also the ever-glowing legions of electronic devices that flicker and pulse and glow to tell us that they are doing something. Light, nowadays, can feel like an intruder, always seeming to carry with it a unit of information, or an obligation.”
This darkening season for me is a seasonal breath of relief from exactly that intrusion of light as information and obligation. There’s too much of that for my taste and the chance to linger in the quiet spaces that are free of its demands? Utterly precious! I love that this season gives me more opportunity for just that. The darkness offers another way to shrug off husks of complexity. I’m in love with it.
Here’s another gem from Katherine May. “When I started feeling the drag of winter, I began to treat myself like a favoured child: with kindness and love. I assumed my needs were reasonable and that my feelings were signals of something important. I kept myself well fed and made sure I was getting enough sleep. I took myself for walks in the fresh air and spent time doing things that soothed me. I asked myself: What is this winter all about? I asked myself: What change is coming?”
I feel change coming over here. Do you? What might it be like to enter the dark season, or the season of shedding, whatever the weather, with this kind of respect?
Last year we developed what came to be a routine in our home. Carl or our boy would say, “Gosh it’s only __ o’clock. Why am I so tired?” And I would say, “Because it’s winter and you’re a mammal!” And as we repeated it to one another again and again (because we literally kept stumbling around wondering why we were so tired so early), it became our mantra of acceptance and kindness, aligning with the vibe of the season and our animal bodies’ wisdom.
However you spend the season, dear mammal, we’re wishing you well in it. You carry unique soul medicine the world needs. Take sweet care of yourself so you can pour that medicine out generously. May you be rich in the gifts of plain days.
A few links just for fun:
I’m planning a unique and spacious live/online retreat day aligned with the power of quiet, rest, and wintering. I’ll share details soon.
Blessings on the darkening for my fellow northern hemisphere friends and blessings on the lightening for my southern friends. We’ll be swapping seasons soon enough!
With love and tenderness,