Mind Matters — After the Holidays

It’s now January, and although the Christian Christmas season doesn’t officially end until well after January 6th and the arrival of the three kings (i.e., the twelve days of Christmas), the lights of Christmas and Chanukah and Kwanzaa are relegated to the attics once again. And while the solstice of December 21st portends the slow arrival of more sun each day, we may still feel in the dark, perhaps having to contend with gray and cold and snow in the weeks ahead and feeling the letdown of another holiday season past.

What to do? Maybe nothing! With the busyness of holiday shopping and parties behind us, why not take a new attitude of “Don’t just do something, stand there” (or sit if so inclined). Why not take on the wisdom of the bear and hibernate? Or the wisdom of the seed in the ground that lies dormant gathering in nutrients readying itself for spring bloom? Winter is not so about death as it is about the recurring cycle of life in which hibernation and dormancy allow for the gathering of our creative forces/juices. There is something to be said for slowing down and getting quiet to reflect on our lives and to listen to our inner longings. True, we make New Year’s Resolutions at this time of year. But again these are in the manner of “To Do Lists.” I “should” do this; I “must” have that. Why not take some time for Being, instead of doing and having?

It’s risky to stay still and listen to the longings of our hearts and quell the busyness. The busyness helps us avoid facing ourselves, our feelings, and our interior longings. January’s quieter nights and still, gray days give us opportunity for refection on how to BE in life rather than on resolutions for what to do or have. Stop, listen in this season of dormant new beginnings to your own heart’s longing.