The holidays are a season of celebration, traditions, and gatherings with family and friends. Yet, it can often be a season that one merely tries to get through because of the many externally imposed expectations. How can this season be different? Here are a few suggestions to capture the joy and meaning of this season.
As daylight saving time approaches, a noticeable shift is taking place between the hours of light and the hours of darkness. This natural rhythm invites us to notice the animals preparing for the winter months and observe the trees shedding their leaves, resting for the new life that will blossom in spring. Nature seems to know how to anticipate this season of darkness and welcome its purpose without resistance.
Even though summer weather has been lingering outside, it is officially the first week of fall. School is back in session, stores are filled with autumn-themed décor, and football season has begun. The shift from one season to another is clearly defined in our annual calendars, but the seasons of our personal lives are much more ambiguous and unpredictable. While we may recognize a general pattern of life development, we each have a unique experience that doesn’t fit neatly into a timeline.
“So…what is spiritual direction?” is a question I am often asked. The words seem to escape from the questioner with a tinge of embarrassment for not knowing yet backed by a heft of genuine curiosity. I can appreciate this sentiment, as Spiritual Direction is something that is both defined by words, but also experienced, and one understands it more clearly as it is experienced.
Thankfully, self-care is getting more attention these days than it did just a couple of decades ago. However, I often find myself wondering if the general message I see is getting at the heart of it. Is the “you deserve it” mantra really true when it pertains to chocolate, wine, Netflix, or tools? When seeing the advertisement I’m easily drawn in for the moment. The idea of respite the ad offers is welcomed in the midst of whatever harried moment I might find myself. But when I really think about it, I wonder, “Is that all I am worth? Chocolate. A Netflix binge. A new power tool." Sure those things might be nice, but when conflated with self-care we are losing something much more powerful: true self-care.