I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from blogging over the Winter, spending time in (mostly) quiet reflection. Time was something I had a great deal of since my internship was also on hiatus due to the changing of semesters.
Some of the greatest adventures humans can take are those we take inward. These are also the most difficult but very few rewards come without being hard-earned. Sometimes the reward is simply being able to catch your breath, take a look around, and get your bearings to discover where you are along life’s path.
My reflection time was spent listening and sensing for signs of the universal flow. A hard thing to try and describe but beautifully simple to experience, the universal flow is essentially experiencing a moment in time when you feel completely at one with, well…everything. A moment in time when whatever it is you are doing is the right thing to do. It is the right thing to do because it just feels right. As if every fiber of your being is humming in tune with a melody only the soul can hear.
I learned to identify and “go with” the universal flow while hiking along the Appalachian Trail in 2011. There were days when the best laid plans were abruptly changed due to one reason or another yet the outcome turned out to be much better than originally expected. It was as if the Universe had other plans for the day and come Hell or high water, nothing you did was going to change them. Once opened to this sensation (Dubbed “universal flow” by me but who knows originally, I’m not taking credit for the term, but hey, it fits.) it became easy to identify times when personal ego must give way to a bigger power or a grander plan.
Now that I am almost three full years away from my hiking adventure, my ability to tap into that flow has rusted. Busy plans for a future career, fulfilling academic requirements to get there, and anxiety about future employment start to add up when a transition approaches. My approaching transition is graduating and putting all this education and training to proper use. But I must be patient.
Each year at Winter Solstice friends and family gather at our house for what has become a holiday tradition. Celebrating at the solstice works well especially when family members are trying to determine where to go for the holidays. We celebrate Solstice so Christmas is open for the in-laws. Works fantastic!
Anyway, the tradition is to bring a candle (or three) that represents a goal you would like to accomplish over the coming year. We place the candles into a cast iron cauldron, the bottom of which is filled with sand, and then light them, stating aloud our intentions. The goals can be tangible, such as a new car or a new laptop, or they can be intangible such as better health or future employment. The point is that the intention and energy behind the goal gets blended with the others, lending energy to each.
As the candles burn a puddle of wax develops that pools across the sand. Wax heats up and candles burn faster. Eventually you are left with a giant, fat, pillar candle. At this point the lid is placed on the cauldron until Summer when the wax disk is removed so the goals are reviewed.
This year I had three goals: patience, wisdom, and faith. With so many changes and potential changes looming on the horizon, my intention was to exercise patience with others but more importantly, with myself. My wish for wisdom was to be able to determine the time when patience has been expended and action is necessary. And my faith motivates essentially everything I do. Faith being separate from religion as I do delineate the two. The funny thing was, was that I could not wait to get that patience candle into the sand. Irony, much?
Now that I have spent time in reflection, sensing the flow and my place in the world, and my intentions are set, I’m ready for a new year. Perfect timing since the new semester has started, full of opportunity!