“Holiness is reached not through effort or will, but by stopping;Excerpted from David Whyte’s essay, Finding The Holy In The Holidays.
by an inward coming to rest;
a place from which we can embody the mid-winter spirit of our days,
a radical, inhabited simplicity,
where we live in a kind of on-going surprise
and with some wonder and appreciation,
flawed and far from perfection,
but inhabiting the very center of a beautiful, unlooked for giftedness.”
I hope that this holiday season finds you safe and warm, and surrounded by loved ones (or enjoying blissful solitude if this is more to your liking).
For me, Christmas is a time for rest and reflection, punctuated with my own simple personal traditions. After the decorations are up and the gifts are shipped, I like to venture out on two minor annual pilgrimages.
On Christmas Eve, I make a point to drive around town after sunset to enjoy the holiday lights. My inner artist loves the colorful displays, while my inner child delights in the wonder of nostalgic symbols of the holiday.
Then on Christmas Day, I take a different drive, to explore the California coastline. The weather usually cooperates, offering blue skies and sunshine as the backdrop for redwoods and the Pacific.
I still want to pinch myself when I compare the mild Christmas weather and gorgeous scenery to the grey, chilly days of my suburban east coast childhood. I receive again the gift of living in this beautiful location that suits me so well.
Nature is my cathedral. I find holiness “out there”, which helps me to contact the holiness “in here”.
Above is an excerpt from David Whyte’s essay on Finding the Holy in the Holidays. He speaks of “a beautiful, unlooked for giftedness”, which, to me, can be both the rediscovery of known gifts as well as the first discovery of new gifts.
The photo above was taken four years ago, on Christmas Day. I felt called to find a different route to the coast and ended up on a road leading up and over Bolinas Ridge. The sunlight had an otherworldly quality to it, and the air was infused with magic.
When I reviewed the photos later, I discovered many heart-shaped images and secret messages that astounded me. These were the true Christmas gifts of that year.
As you weave periods of rest with periods of movement through your own holy rituals and traditions, my wish for you is that life will delight and surprise you with “beautiful, unlooked for giftedness”.
In love and prosperity,