Sunday, December 31, 2017

Endings and Beginnings: The Cycle Continues

And so 2017 is drawing to a close. In a few hours, 2018 will begin. This is all arbitrary, of course, and simply a quirk of culture as some folks in some places at various times decided to make up calendars and choose one with which to mark time. I tend to live and think seasonally. Spring and summer are my difficult seasons and I continue to improve my coping skills. Autumn and winter are my best seasons and I continue to get better at celebrating and appreciating them--October, November, and December in particular. Things were particularly nice this year, after being ill last year from living in a moldy apartment. I was determined to do everything I could to enjoy my season this year and I did. We've stopped celebrating Christmas because it simply no longer worked. It was never a religious holiday for me and the cultural aspects of over-consumption, waste, and all that goes with it were not things we have participated in anyway (please note that I am NOT saying that everyone who participates in a Christmas celebration is engaging in these things--just that this is presented as the cultural norm and thus what is desirable). We stopped doing a big meal decades ago and the tree went almost 20 years ago now. When we moved to Ireland, I left behind all of my Christmas decorations. I've made some here, but they have been more winter/nature based than Christmasy and this year, I made more autumn bits to hang in the windows for October and November. I enjoy making them and looking at them. Basically, I thought about what it is that I like about the time of year and kept those things. I've developed little rituals that work for me. I have certain music that I listen to in October, other music in November, and still different music in December. From listening to the radio, I've become interested in choral music in a way I wasn't before, so there's a whole new area to explore. We stopped exchanging Christmas gifts--this is the second year for Bill and myself and it's great. It seemed so arbitrary to have to get something because the 25th of December was coming up. I can think of better times in the year to give people a gift-the time will be different for each person. I have some plans for the year ahead in that regard. As for Bill and me, he picks up little stuff throughout the year when he sees it or when he gets an idea about something I'd like, but the truth is, I could not think of anything I want right now that I don't already have. My wish list is devoid of things that can be purchased. That's a pretty great thing right there.

Usually at this time of year I am a bit depressed because my best time is behind me and we are heading into the difficult months and gaining daylight each day. I can't say I am looking forward to that, but I am not feeling the same sadness that I usually do. I think part of that is having had a very restful and satisfying autumn/winter season. I am also curious about what the next year will bring and excited about the possibilities, without grasping for any particular outcome.

One of the first tasks of 2018 will be to finish off this little motif and hang it somewhere.
It is 4 of these little motifs put together to form a circular shape--one for each season in the year.
For me, it symbolises what I hope for myself and everyone--inner peace, outer peace, and lovingkindness--through all 4 seasons of the year. May it be so.

Happy 2018!

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