Gathering Strength

Welcome to December. 

I say that without an exclamation, but with an open heart. We have reached the last month of the year. How has your journey through the year been? 

It has been a year of ups and downs. This year, like every year since good old 2020 rolled around, has brought us deeper into our lives physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. 

It’s been a year of healing and revelation. It’s also been a year of dipping into some of the deepest of our own muck. It’s important to remember the reason we have encountered this mock is because we had gathered enough resources and strength that we can make it through. 

Now, as I write this, my mind argues – not all of us made it through! 

This is true. 

But you did. 

You’re reading this. You’re here, still standing, or more likely, sitting, and trying to orient to the world we all find ourselves in. 

It’s been a lot, both personally and collectively. 

That doesn’t mean it’s all been bad. 

It’s simply been a lot. 

And now it’s time to rest for a moment. 

Rest Begets Rejuvenation 

We often think of rest as this big effort — getaways, retreats, things more elaborate in nature. 

This month, rest is a slowing down. You’ve (we’ve) been practicing this in micro doses all year. If you response is, ‘no I haven’t,” then this is your personal memo to get to resting. 

Our nervous systems have developed over millennia in tune with nature. Nature has a rhythm. It’s quiet, then slow, then it bursts into creation. It basks, offers, then retreats. 

Nature isn’t linear, it’s circular. Cyclical. And you are, too. 

It’s time to rediscover your own rhythm and what rest means to you. 

Rest begets rejuvenation. 

It’s doesn’t mean you hibernate for a month, but you could if your heart desires it and your life allows it! 

I’m going to encourage you to use the term rest as in slow down, pause and refuel.

This may mean compassionate immobility, but it also may simply mean switching gears. 

What would it be like for you to prioritize time that makes your heart radiate and your soul sing? Would you know where to start? 

This is the territory we’re in for this holiday season. It takes a shifting of what we see as productive. In the plant world, in winter, the energy stops moving up and starts moving down into the roots. This is what we mean by rest. How do you nurture and nourish your roots. 


Rediscover Your Roots

What even are your roots? 

Now, you may not have words to describe what your roots are, but you probably know the feeling. These are the things that make life worth living for you. Have you been nurturing that as you’ve been moving forward this year? 

Many of us can find what we hold dear in this world. These are not necessarily things, they’re probably more like ideals – or values. 

If this is hard for you, I’m encouraging you to look at what was important to you when you were young – very young – 4-8 years old young. If you can’t remember, this may be a good time to brew a nourishing drink, find a comfy spot and have a little chat with the inner 4-8 year old you. You might be surprised what they find important. 

You could start a dialog with yourself with these questions:

  1. What did you love to do most at this age?
  2. What made you feel most safe and secure? 
  3. Who were your ‘best friends’ and what did you do?  

Give yourself a moment to rediscover what feeds the light within and brings a smile to your face. As much as you can this month, let yourself have these moments of delight and pleasure. 

Even as the world burns. 

This doesn’t mean we don’t care. We can still do the actions important to us. Especially around the current genocide (yes, genocide) we are witnessing. Speak out. 7 billion+ humans pushing back against a corrupt system will make a difference. 

Also, the attacks on Israel on Oct 7 were horrific and absolutely crimes against humanity, too. Horrific and brutal. No room for yah, but or what about this or that responses here. Trauma healing requires witnessing. We can’t rank one horrific crime against humanity above another. We can hold both, and say that they are wrong.  

But, if we stay solely wrapped in the traumas of the world, then we don’t leave time or energy to create the possibilities of another way. 

We can’t fix everything. We’re not meant to. We’re meant to work with the way we’re made, and add our unique mark to the world. 

If we have privilege, we get to use it. If we have resources, we get to share what we can. If we have a voice that we’re called to share, we get to speak it out. 

We get to care for one another. Humans as a species are wired for empathy. And love…when we’re not in survival mode. 

It’s important to apply this care and empathy for ourselves as well. Are we caring for ourselves as much as we care and do for others? 

We have to take time to refuel, and gather strength. This next year promises new possibilities. But we have to pace ourselves. 

And remember, the revolution begins within dear hearts. 

With An Open Heart and a Squinty Eye

Speaking of hearts, part of our challenge in this world is to keep an open heart. 

As Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes says, by way of Aunt Edna — keep an open heart, but also look at things with a squinty eye. The squinty eye simply means to look more closely and see what’s true. 

This requires using our heart, gut, logic and intuition. We don’t accept all of what we see and hear at face value. It takes practice to use the squinty eye WITH an open heart. 

While we are moving to a more transparent, heart-centered and benevolent world, we’re clearly not there yet. 

Have you closed your heart off to the world? To others? To experiences? 

If that’s the case, you’ve probably been in overwhelm for too long. Our systems can only take so much of survival mode, then we shut down and close off. We’re not meant to live this way. 

Part of the remedy for this is to reach out to others that know how to help. 

Overwhelm and burnout are their own forms of trauma. We don’t have to stay in this place. In fact, this place of overwhelm and burnout, if sustained, often leads to illness of one kind or another. Our bodies are not designed for that much friction in our systems. 

So we invoke the squinty eye to look at things as see them for what they truly are. Not what we’re told they are or what we want them to be, but what they truly are. 

When we develop this skill, we learn discernment and differentiation. We learn to set boundaries and hold them. We learn to say no and mean it. 

So my dear, beautiful soul, what are you going to do with this one wild and precious month? How do you wish to spend it? 

If you find yourself already saying, “I can’t rest, I’ve got too much to do,” then I encourage you to take some time with that inner 4-8 year old. They’ll let you know what’s important. 

Remember, even if it pisses you off, or you doubt it, you were made for these times.