Yesterday I spent the morning taking down and packing away all of our indoor Christmas decorations. It was a task I performed with a bit of a heavy heart, because even though the house always looks surprisingly fresh and uncluttered when returned to its usual state, it also feels somehow empty and dull once the cheerfully twinkling holiday lights are gone for another year. (My four year old niece also understands the wistfulness of this change: my sister-in-law told me today that when her daughter came upstairs to find her mom and dad undecorating their Christmas tree, she started crying in earnest, and telling the ornaments and the tree repeatedly that she would miss them. So sweet and sad!) This act of undoing is a pressing reminder that the days of the family hanging out together at home are soon coming to an end for awhile, and the now unlit evenings make me feel the weight of everyday worries, things I had forgotten about while we relaxed and celebrated, creeping slowly back in. It's difficult to hold on to the optimism and lightheartedness of the holiday season when months of cold, dark winter loom endlessly ahead of us.
This is the time of year when I find I need to create my own inner light and warmth to keep my spirits up, by listening to what makes my heart happy and making plans based on that. I've been taking some time in these last days of the holidays to come up with ideas and activities that will excite me, make me laugh, help me to relax amidst the busy-ness of everyday life, and challenge me to grow in positive ways in the coming months, and I'm taking concrete steps to ensure that I will follow through with them.
I've got several things lined up now that I'm really looking forward to in the next while. I mustered up the courage to register for a year-long writing course offered by someone whose work I admire, as a means of encouraging me to take some bigger leaps in my own work this year. The first lesson will arrive in my inbox this coming Monday, and I'm eager to explore various aspects of writing from a new perspective. I'm also going to be part of a book club with a great group of friends this year, something I've wanted to do for a long time but somehow never got around to. It will be good to have a reason to spend more time discovering new favourite works of fiction this year! I've signed up for another session of yoga classes beginning next week, so that I can continue to feel the physical and mental benefits of a practice I've grown to love these past couple of years. I bought a new cookbook by one of my favourite chefs last week during the Boxing Week sales and have already bookmarked some delicious looking new recipes to try. (I also pre-ordered this book written by one of my favourite healthy food bloggers, so I'll have more inspiration arriving in my mailbox in another couple of months.) And yesterday, Matt and the boys and I made plans to spend a weekend with my sister-in-law and her family at their home in Ottawa during Winterlude in February, so we've got some more great winter fun with family to look forward to.
It may seem that none of these activities are huge things, but having these varied simple pleasures to occupy my thoughts and fill my time happily will help to keep a spark of excitement and the warmth of contentment lit in me throughout the rest of the chilly winter.
What will you do to keep your inner lights glowing brightly this season? I'd love to hear your plans!
humorous and heartfelt stories ~ healthy recipes made without gluten, dairy, or eggs ~ ideas for living well
My youngest son Will has an endearing little habit of filling his pockets with the many "treasures" he encounters in his daily adventures. I don't always understand the value he sees in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks can one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one is beautiful and important. His habit got me thinking about how life is just like that on a larger scale; we gather up the precious bits of our many experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you will find a little something among the stories and ideas here that you'd like to keep in your own pocket. Thanks for visiting!