Rituals for the darkest time of the year
On the Solstice, I went to an event that I look forward to more each year. I know that more and more of us are turning to rituals and gatherings to mark the darkest day of the year and to celebrate the return of the light. It doesn't matter what your beliefs are; there is room in this tradition for everyone to reflect. And right now, the idea that the darkness will subside is a message we all need to hear.
My friend Debra hosts this event every December, and no matter how I feel going, I always leave feeling like I'm a little more centred for the season. This year she led us through a couple of hours of reflection, readings, poetry and music on the theme of uncertainty. Debra reminded me this year that the darkness is a fertile place. It has a purpose in our lives and the natural world.
I discovered a book I had purchased and never read on my Kindle that same week. (I'm a sucker for those 99c book sales on Kindle.) The book is "Embracing Uncertainty" I've spent the past week reading a chapter each morning reflecting on how I can learn to live more fully with uncertainty.
The author writes, "Nowhere has it been proven that a rich, joyous abundant life cannot exist in the presence of uncertainty." If I were speaking right now, I would pause and re-read that sentence instead of writing.
"Nowhere has it been proven that a rich, joyous abundant life cannot exist in the presence of uncertainty."
So how do you live with uncertainty?
One thing you can do is give up trying to control the things you have no control over. The one thing I continue to remind myself of is that generally, I can't control the outcome of a situation. I can eat all the right foods and still get sick. I can take all the precautions and still get Covid. You can be a perfect parent, and your kids still have challenges. We can't control life. We can't control other people.
It doesn't mean we don't make choices that move us in the direction we want to head. It means we recognize that even though we did everything to make Christmas perfect, our family will still argue about something. It means that our plans for 2022 may not unfold the way we hope. It means accepting that things will change, and even though we are understandably disappointed, we recognize that many things are beyond our control.
On New Year's Eve, I'll be lighting a candle I was given by a friend who is relocating across the pond. She and her husband have sold everything here and rented a home in the south of France. There is so much uncertainty about whether or not they will even be allowed to leave Canada or enter France right now. I told her I would light the candle and think of them on their journey. All the uncertainty of life during a pandemic has been a catalyst for them to choose to live the life they have dreamed of pursuing for decades, even though they don't know how it will all work out.
I'll be thinking of each of you as we head into another year of living through the Covid-19 pandemic. I know that it is not the only challenge most of us will face in 2022. We can be sure it will be another year of uncertainty. I am aware many of you have experienced loss this year and are struggling. Why not join me in this simple ritual? Light a candle on New Year's Eve to remind you that in all the uncertainty around 2022, you are not alone. Like the Solstice reminds us, the light will return.
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