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It's Oh So Quiet

This title seems ironic given the way this season feels, which is the opposite of quiet. If you head into the mall this time of year, there is a distinct feeling of unhappy frenzy. It's easy to get caught up in it. Funny how we have some idea of a Christmas season, where certain gifts might be just the thing to bring joy and connection between us and our families and loved ones. And yet, there is some kind of disconnect in our being, as we rush from store to store, try to make all the events, and feel financial worry and feelings of 'not-enough-ness'.

So what is real connection made of? It requires a certain amount of space. A gentle space for people to unwind and settle down into the quiet of winter. We aren't very good at sitting quietly these days. The hand itches for that little shiny machine when we have a moment that isn't full to the brim. We are scanning the calendar of events in our mind, thinking about what comes next.

Winter has gifts to share with us, if we open our perception to what is offered. The still, dark sky full of stars puts our big concerns in perspective. The cold wakes us up and helps us to remember our vulnerability and our need for others. In a world where many of us don't need to worry about where the next meal will come from, or how we will stay warm at night, we may develop the idea that we are alone and that being alone is preferable to being with others. Others are so much WORK, right? But spirituality or some idea of enlightenment doesn't count for much if you can't just be a decent human being to the people in your own life. It is work, no doubt. Arguably our least favorite kind of work. The work of being present, being compassionate, being kind. This is the foundation of real connection with the people we care about. And with those we don't, because they have plenty to teach us as well.

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