The days are shorter, the nights are longer, the air is chillier, and the body begins to turn inward.
It’s such a conundrum that at the very moment our wise bodies long to be still and quiet to prepare to enter the deep sacred silence of Winter Solstice, the world is jumping up and down exhorting us to shop and decorate and cook and celebrate and, well, I get weary just typing the words.
I love December. I just don’t love the commotion and obligation that whirls around the holidays.
I started tapering down when my son was little and I could not afford to buy gifts for my parents, brothers, sisters, and friends, on top of my husband and child.
I worried about this for a couple years and then one November I sent an email announcing I was no longer sending presents. No one fussed.
Next up? Christmas cards.
The divorce brought cards to a screeching halt. I used to send dozens of boxes of exquisite cards carefully selected to match the personality of the recipient.
Each year I set up a decorated table with a beautiful basket to hold all the cards we received. But the year of the divorce, there were five cards in the basket—all from family. My seven-year-old couldn’t understand. He kept circling the card table asking when the cards would come. They never came.
Despite the financial strain of the divorce, I continued to buy and decorate a tree. But when my son went to college even that expense was too much.
So I sheepishly told him that there would be no tree when he came home for Christmas.
And no presents.
And no fancy meals.
Just Jerry and me.
When he came home, I told him I’d make anything he wanted for dinner. He knew exactly what he wanted, Chicken Piccata.
So on Christmas Eve we sat across from one another at the dining room table.
No tree. No lights. No stockings. No gold table linens. No dress up clothes. No company. Just the two of us. Talking.
We talked about life, about politics, about college, about his deep love of history and philosophy. We talked about him. And he wanted to know about me, too.
Mid-sentence he stopped eating, looked me in the eye, and said, “Mom, this is the best Christmas ever.”
And that was the end of commercial Christmas for us.
The whole Black Friday, cyber Monday thing has no hold on me. I am officially oblivious. I do not shop. I do not buy presents. I do not decorate.
The one thing I do, the one thing I love, is to invite a few close friends for a dinner party. We talk about life, about politics, about history, about books, and of course about the mystical life. We talk about them and they ask about me.
Once I settled into my no-holiday holidays, I found that I heard the voice of my body more easily.
There was time and space and silence to listen to what my heart wants and my body knows. I began to look up at the moon more often. And listen to an internal craving to learn about the real holiday of winter, Winter Solstice.
I love the Winter Solstice. I see now that she has been talking to me my entire life.
While I was busy working myself into exhaustion trying to create a pastiche of the happy family fantasy, she was beckoning me to stop and rest, so I could hear the tiny voice of the life that wanted to be lived in and through and as me.
The Voice of December.
I did some deep soul writing today and noticed that beautiful things get born every December!
- I made the decision to get a divorce in December 1997.
- After losing my home in the divorce, I moved into my townhome in December 1999.
- I came nose to nose with bankruptcy in December of 2009 and stumbled upon the teachings of Buddha and Jesus on how to create a truly beautiful and abundant life.That sacred December breakthrough became the book everyone loves this time of year, The Lotus and The Lily.
The December magic continued.
- In December of 2012, a Peregrine Falcon sat on the wires above my street. She had quite a message for me!
- In December of 2013, I visited my son in federal prison where he was being held by a judge in an attempt to force Jerry to name other activists. That experience brought me into a deep experience of forgiveness through Ho’oponopono.
Then came the biggest December gift of all.
- On December 1, 2014 I got sick. All I could do was sit in my writing chair and read. As perfect synchronicity would have it, all the books on my reading table that winter were about the divine feminine.
- On December 26, I started soul writing and after 17 years of writing to “Dear God,” out of my hand came “Beloved Vibration of Sophia!” (Complete with exclamation point.)
- On January 9th, I woke feeling like myself again, full of energy and ready to work. It had been (duh) 40 days and 40 nights and I had been through a unique and personal initiation by the Divine Feminine.
- That initiation created the space for me to wake in the middle of the night last Winter Solstice, hearing, “Sophia’s Voice.
Do you see what I mean!
Each December brings a gift, not in silver foil wrapping paper, but in the sacred gold of mystical alchemy.
So what is THIS December bringing?
Well, if you’ve been reading these Notes from the Field, you know I am going through a complete rebirth as a “Prayer Artist.”
New podcast, new prayer intensives, new live events, new partnerships with musicians, new website. I may be 70 but I feel like a newborn. And I’m so in love with life, I can’t stop smiling.
What message does December have for you?
What gift is the Winter Solstice waiting to give you?
I know you don’t know the answer to that question. Not yet.
But there are things you can do to begin to hear December’s Voice, and receive her golden gifts.
You don’t have to strip your holidays down as radically as I do. To find what’s right for you, tune into your body. If you’lre not excited about something, turn to your gut and see if you really want to do it or if it’s more of an obligation.
If it’s a sacred desire filled with joy, then yes, have at it.
But if it’s an obligation, a performance, an expectation….maybe it’s time to say no.
Other things you can do to hear December’s Voice:
Give yourself plenty of silence.
Go for long walks.
Sit and stare out the window.
Go to bed. Early.
Keep a notepad on your nightstand.
Ask to hear the Voice of December.
And December will speak.
I bet she has something important to say.
to hearing the Voice of December,