“Back to life, back to reality…”

Song quote from Soul II Soul, Back To Life (However do you want me)

It always comes with a bump, the return to ‘reality’ after the suspended animation of Solstice/Christmas/New Year. My festive season stretches out to 3 weeks, to incorporate all three, which is the better part of a month and quite frankly far too long for me to be living on the cocktail of excitement and anxiety that it brews in me. My nerves feel shot and I’m craving crap food and fresh water in equal measure. I’d also like to sleep for the better part of this month to properly recover my senses… but no such luck. I was back to work on the 2nd, dealing with crabby customers by the 3rd and it has quickly become apparent that despite last weeks festive cheer we are all now suffering from festive withdrawal.

What frustrates me the most is that we have no choice but to accept this sorry state of affairs; to strap on a smile, pick up our feet and plunge back into life, pressing ourselves into the same mundane cycle that we have been working so hard to escape these past few weeks. I feel like an escaped convict returned to her cell, breathless and desperate. The proverbial stuffing being forced and cajoled to fit myself inside the turkey’s arse.

I know I’m not the only one; thousands if not millions of us will have felt the same way over the past couple of days or will (if you’re lucky) have that joy waiting for you on Monday. This is not some sort of childish pity party I’m attempting to throw. I simply want to shed light on the fact that I (and so many others) am being forced to suppress my needs – physical, emotional, spiritual – not for my own good, not for survival, but in the pursuit of something I can’t eat, can’t drink, can’t breathe and that doesn’t give me warmth or shelter or love.

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My Mum swore by these when she was giving up cigarettes

If I had a New Years wish I would be able to give up Money as part of my New Years resolutions. It would be a dirty habit that I could kick given some perseverance and a jumbo packet of Fisherman’s Friends. Then I would be free to rest my weary brain, relax these strained muscles and allow myself and my home to recover from the December madness and make way for the possibilities of the year ahead.

Instead I have already started selling my time and my mood to people I’ve never met in the hopes that I can scavenge together enough pennies to keep myself in food, water and warmth – things we are told are part of our basic human rights.

I didn’t think I’d be starting 2014 in such a grouchy mood but the sky was grey this morning, my nose was cold and my hubby far too warm and cosy to leave on the train when we reached my stop. For a while I did feel like a petulant child, one who hoped that enough ranting would get her what she wants, even if that is a new version of reality. Perhaps I spent a little too much time with my 18month old niece these past few days? Or perhaps I’ve been listening to too much 90s pop? Either way I am here, there’s a whole year ahead of me and I’ve got 363 days to kick these withdrawal symptoms.

“Back to life back to the day we have
lets end this foolish game
hear me out don’t let me waste away…

… back to life back to reality
back to the here and now yeah”

(lyrics)

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If you would like a more uplifting New Years read I can heartily suggest checking out the wonderful Janie Rose at Beeswax and Broomsticks. This post is a heartfelt and uplifting call to shine in the year ahead.

The greatest gift of all…

Tomorrow is the Solstice and I find myself sitting here shaking my head, utterly disbelieving that we’ve reached Midwinter already. The last month has flown by and suddenly I’m faced with a solid fortnight of visits and celebrations, people and presents that I have (in all honesty) been somewhat dreading. Not because of the people or the absolute joy and blessing it is to spend time with those I love, but for all the extra reasons to expend energy I don’t have and the struggle to somehow maintain a sense of Spirit amidst all the tinsel and turkey and talk.

It can be hard at the best of times to find opportunities for quiet reflection and deep thought. When playing host to friends or being a house-guest for others it becomes almost impossible. So I find myself staring through the darkness towards Solstice day and worrying that despite all my talk of taking notice and walking the Wheel I might not be able to fully appreciate this still moment in the year.

Now, starting the new year feeling disappointed in myself does not sound particularly appealing. But nor does the prospect of barreling into 2014 without taking some time to assimilate and rest; I can’t fully explain why but it feels important to do so, this year more than in years passed.

It has been a year of growth and change of new titles and new connections that all need some settling. And as I said before my energy levels are depleted and need a chance to refresh. More than that though it feels like I need some time in a dark and undetermined space to dream the dreams that will somehow shape my upcoming year. I feel a little lost at the moment; but not the fun kind of lost where you have a compass and daylight and a sense of adventure. More that heavy, sinking feeling when the compass is broken and you are surrounded by mist, unsure whether your next step will touch land at all.

I am desperate for some dream time and some dream food to feed it. I want to let my mind wander and my heart sing, to be soft and silent and still…

Instead – in the coming days -I will become some desperate, demented diva who skirts the edge of over-controlled madness and a rather messy nervous breakdown. She’s the one who writes lists, makes schedules and loses sleep over room plans. She so desperately wants to ensure that everyone has a great time, is happy and well fed and has all their needs met that she blocks out her own. An impossible task you might say, but this crazy lady doesn’t let such paltry things as possibility hold her back. She’ll dance in circles and jump through hoops and try her hardest (and then some) to be everything everyone wants or needs her to be.

But the Solstice is a time for the Self at its most stark, most bare. The land – if we dare to look – is revealed in its most basic forms: stone, wood, water, warmth and brutal cold. The trees silhouette against crisp winter skies and we breath air honed to a knife-edge and know that Death is clean and close; and that Life feels all the more vital and vibrant because of it.

In the face of such clarity we shouldn’t be spending energy on making mockeries of ourselves. That energy can be used to nurture the seed in our soul that carries our truest thoughts and deepest desires. In the winter darkness our simplest, most basic truths can be unearthed and the beauty of our unique self can be revealed if we let them. Right now we should be focusing on who we are regardless of the expectations, others’ or our own. Only then might we see where our dreams truly want to take us.

So perhaps this Solstice, instead of wishing for silence, stillness and solitude in my environment, I can cultivate them within me. I’ll carry them inside myself, to all my encounters and allow them to feed my soul with the energy of the season. And knowing that they are there, held safe within, I will wrap the seed of my Self in winter darkness and sit with it through a long night, trying to trust that even though my attention might not always be with it, that seed will will stir, it will absorb. Finally I will take a (fallen) leaf from the deciduous trees that stand so bare and so beautiful at this time of year and dare to expose my bare self to those around me. I’ll let them see the delicate connections, the startling similarities and the determined differences that make up my snowflake Self and allow them to meet me without the ditzy diva causing distractions.

Perhaps this is the best gift I could offer anyone this Solstice.

I only hope it is well received.

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This will likely be the last post of 2013, so to everyone who has read or followed this blog over the past month: Thank you! I hope you have a merry festive season and look forward to walking the Wheel with you in the New Year. 

Be blessed 🙂

UPCOMING POSTS IN 2014:

* Why I Walk The Wheel... – How following the Wheel of the Year has impacted on my life for the better

* How I Walk The Wheel – Looking at the core practices behind my Wheel walking

* Small StonesWriting Our Way Home is running a Mindful Writing Challenge throughout Jan 2014; see my input here

Copyright

All written materials and images, unless otherwise stated, are property of Kelly Tomlin 2016.
We gather together to Walk the Wheel; to share with one another and be inspired.