Thursday, December 30, 2010

Solstice, solace and Spirit

I am planning a winter sabbatical soon. Time away with no distractions and the chance to delve deeply into my real work: my book and myself. When I'm here, things easily get in the way and the book patiently waits.

I also think this very forceful nudging is a response to the holidays: the expectation, obligation and tradition as well as weeks of a big push all for ONE day. Yes, I find Christmas Eve magical, but the day after makes me shake my head in wonder. I agree with early Quakers that every day should be lived as if it is sacred, not just one or two days out of the year.

I have really cut back on gifts, commitments, cards, baking and a whole lot else. I do more trimming every  year and each Dec. 26 I feel more and more like giving up the tradition completely, but I am not certain how that would sit with other family members. I may need to find out.

I am certain that I need to live more simply and that begins with me getting away by myself to a small place in the woods with only my book and the bare essentials. Who knows, I may be climbing the walls after the first day. I do believe it will take a few days to find my rhythm; the one warped by our culture's mushrooming pace.

I did it once before, but with a different intention. I spent a week in Italy alone to immerse myself in the culture, art, food, language and people. It was a tough lesson and I texted my best friend at midnight the second night: "Why did I think I was an introvert?"

This time, I hope I am more prepared. I'll have even less distraction. I believe winter suits this. I'll be holed up, but that's where my spirit calls. I heard an amazing musician on pbs yesterday say winter is for reflection, which has always been my reaction. We're forced inside literally and figuratively. It's also the time I feel more alive, more embodied and in tune. It's the season of my birth. A season that suits introverts.

It seems as if I am the only one among my friends who welcomes the solace and hunkering down; they're ready to keep making merry with large groups well after the holidays. Not I. I am so very ready for the quiet of my own spirit. And the quiet in which to seek Spirit's direction.

• How do the holidays leave me feeling?
• What type of break do I need after?
• When, where and how does simplicity call me?
• In what way(s) can I invite that into my life?
• In way way(s) can I invite Spirit deeper into my life?



so that a time and space
once reserved for
reflection, gratitude and praise
becomes something else entirely

something from which I
wish to disengage

so I may re-engage
with myself and, mostly,


  1. Cathy, I think you will find the condo on the frozen lake to be perfect for this. There is a small store nearby for essentials and a restaurant/bar within walking distance at the clubhouse for when you really need to be around people. Otherwise, peace reigns.

  2. You are not alone in your appreciation for winter's call to turn inward. Though I cherish the increasing light since solstice, the cold, wet, and gray of this season in the Pacific Northwest are welcome reminders to slow down and reflect. Animals and plants know the wisdom of hibernation. I, too, am going to retreat the end of February, away from home and work in the seclusion of a friend's apartment. I'm going to the city, to be anonymous, to write, and to follow my own rhythms for a week. I look forward to comparing notes about our respective times of solitude.

  3. How wonderful, Iris! We are kindred spirits and I look forward to comparing notes as well. Blessings, always dear friend!