new year's day...

Today is quiet and private: no church, no phones, no outside interaction; just inward reflection and rest. Life in the world will resume quick enough tomorrow with house warmings and church rehearsals for the Feast of the Epiphany. So today we sort through more of our "stuff," cut loose some of what binds and weighs us down, and take time to simply share the day together. 

Last night, at a late mezze spread in our home, we each spoke about what we hope for in 2016 and a recurring theme was: simplicity and solitude so that we might love others more profoundly. I have a growing interest in both spiritual direction with those that want to explore the paths of Christian mysticism; and, I am eager to find new venues for mixing musical and interfaith solidarity events as a tender alternative to the current cultural epidemic of fear and hatred. Di, who is on her own journey of the heart, yearns to touch and heal the lives of children who are lost and discarded. We both realize that in order to embrace these inspirations within, there is a lot of stuff - physical, emotional and professional - that needs to be put aside and let go. So, after brunch, we descend to the basement to kick-up another round of sorting and disposing of things that no longer bring us joy, hope or value.

The master, Parker Palmer, writes that such is one of the charisms of winter:

Winter clears the landscape, however brutally, giving us a chance to see ourselves and each other more clearly, to see the very ground of our being... In winter, one can walk into the woods that had been opaque with summer growth only a few months earlier and see the trees clearly, singly and together, and see the ground they are rooted in...(And) if you live here long enough, you learn that a daily walk in the winter world will fortify the spirit by taking you boldly to the very heart of the season you fear.

As others in the North Country have told me:  "Winters will drive you crazy until you learn to get out into them." To do that requires guidance - and the right equipment - and friendship and a deep trust.  So, as we trust and share the day with one another today, we take another step in stripping off the unnecessary so that our love can grow deeper.


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