Winter Solstice Reflections: The fine mingling of letting go and holding on

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“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” Nelson Mandela

Mandela on Day After Release

Mandela on Day After Release

This quote was brought to my attention recently and I couldn’t help but recognize it as execeptionally fitting given not only Mandela’s passing, but also my heightened sense of personal growth as it relates to letting go of habits, thoughts, and feelings that no longer serve me.  In order to live the life I’ve been blessed with, I need to activily let go of what no longer serves me.  ( most noteably- habits Ild developed as a single mother- of a divorced person, of an economically challenged life, of constrained gender expectations…)

This past year has brought me many changes, a supportive partner and co-parent, a new home, a different job situation, opportunites for creative expression, and deeper relationship with the Earth. The future is very much unwritten, with endless possibilities- I dont want to cloud the possibilities with the heavy heart of a painful past… part of my growth has been the recognition that how I choose to move forward  is very much a choice. That recognition is the first of many difficult steps towards becoming the woman, mother, partner, teacher, and writer that I strive to be.

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Fittingly, the month of December is a time that  highlights the need to let go while honoring what brings us joy. It was clear to me that although I’ld already come a long way from the me from last year, it was clear I still needed had some personal work ahead of me.  For example, transitioning from single parenthood towards a trust filled, healthy partnership was a huge shiftt in the day to day routine ( oh so i dont have to work nonstop all day? Dinner is already cooked? like whoa.)

That was something I was able to immediatly feel relief from.  But, on a deeper level, I still had a lot of letting go to do.  I was still prone to jump into autopilot when it came to craming house work alongside childcare instead of simply asking for help, still asumed the worst during those times of exhaustion /heightened stress that my co-parent was not going to have my back or would react in an unhealthy way.  I found myself replaying scenes and dramas from long ago, times where I felt like I needed to downplay my exhaustion in order to shield my son from the less patient co-parent of that time. That was a  short, yet highly emotionally charged time where my protective instinct overpowered my desires of self care. These past traumas-as brief as they might have been, (and as logically picked over and sorted as a leftover thankgiving turkey carcass), still had power over me- still controled the way I shaped my reality.  

And that was the last thing I wanted, to live in a self imposed prison…

December 17:  Use this full moon to expand your sense of what could be. The time between this full moon and the Winter Solstice should be honored and quality time should be carved out to do what brings you joy. What needs expansion and more inspiration?

 What do you need to let go of?

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December 21: Winter Solstice-Do a ceremony around honoring yourself and your own truth. Your desires should be given top priority. Don’t be afraid to dream big. If you are still feeling the weight of what you have carried, changed, released, processed, started or created in these past months, release it somehow in a fire or other ceremonial way.

For more, check out power path-  http://www.thepowerpath.com/index.php/power-path-home/the-power-path/monthly-forecast/583-december-forecast-2013

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“The art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”  ~Havelock Ellis

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Kindness poem by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is you must lose things,

feel the future dissolve in a moment like salt in a weakened broth.

What you held in your hand, what you counted and carefully saved,

all this must go so you know how desolate the landscape can be between the regions of kindness.

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How you ride and ride thinking the bus will never stop,

the passengers eating maize and chicken will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness, you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho lies dead by the side of the road.

You must see how this could be you,

how he too was someone who journeyed through the night with plans and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,

you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. You must wake up with sorrow.

You must speak to it till your voice catches the thread of all sorrows and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,

only kindness that ties your shoes and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,

only kindness that raises its head from the crowd of the world to say it is I you have been looking for,

and then goes with you every where like a shadow or a friend.

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Creating that balance…

Letting go...

Letting go…

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