Letter from the Director – December 2023

It’s the last month of the year. December, even with its celebrations and excitement, still feels like an ending to me. The weather is getting steadily colder, the nights, longer and darker, the air, drier. Something in the stance of December invites me into deep thinking, contemplating my place in the world, my purpose, and my future. There is a somber tone to the month, even as I enjoy the bright lights and rich food of the holidays. I balance the cheer with quiet nights reading or creating art, pondering, and holding deeper thoughts and emotions. If I watch December end, will the new year bring new beauty?
 
I think we serve ourselves well when we allow these moments of introspection to move into our receptive mind and speak what we need to hear. If we listen carefully, we’ll often discover truths that are necessary for our next step into ourselves. The past has a tricky voice. We can’t live there, but we can hold its lessons and benefit from them. We can only change and grow in the present. Ponder that for a while!

I’ve recently experienced a painful ending. As I was journaling about it, a thought fluttered through my brain and onto the page. It said, “Welcome the pain.” My first inclination was to dismiss those unruly words, even scratch them out hard, but I didn’t. I sat with them, much as I sit with my art supplies when I’m preparing to create something new. I repeated the words to myself and then said, “Hello pain, come in.” I offered it comfort, space, and grace, and the ache that was like a knot in my gut began to loosen and ease. I think it’s true that when we don’t resist what we need to move through, moving through it becomes easier. Not easy, but easier. 

In 13 days, the Winter Solstice will occur. It’s the shortest day of the year. It is also the longest night. As the solstice approaches, I’m pondering two hard thoughts:

  • Sometimes we have to hold the deepest darkness with us as a friend before we can welcome the ever-increasing light. 
  • Being in the shadow space of a situation isn’t easy, but there are lessons inside it we can’t learn anywhere else. These lessons are important.

As I’m sure you can guess, I don’t have answers or conclusions for these thoughts. The only thing I know for certain is that they are worth pondering. Perhaps, that’s what I take with me into the new year, which, by the way, is sure to come, and which will have a new and perfect beauty all its own.

What are you pondering this month?