They aren't here now, but I still feel their energy, the energy of wise women who gathered together for a day-long retreat in our home. A retreat to mark the beginning of a new year. A day inspired by Nollaig na mBan or Women's Christmas, which originated in Ireland and is celebrated on or near Epiphany, January 6, the end of the Christmas season. Women's Christmas began as a day when women could rest from all the tasks women generally do at Christmas and a day when women could celebrate and honor each other. And that's just what my women's spirituality group, Wise Women, did as we enjoyed time for quiet reflection and time for sharing with one another.
We each came with our own hopes and thoughts for the day. My role was simply to provide the space, along with a basic plan and questions and suggestions to consider. After an opening meditation together in the den, we each found a place in the house to spend the morning. One in the sunny guest room, the Girlfriend Room. One in Bruce's den where she spread out her yoga mat. One in the lower level office area. I was in the Mama Chair in the living room, my normal location in the winter months for journal writing, meditating and reading. Quiet energy filled the house as wise women reflected on their lives.
I had prepared for my participation in the retreat by rereading my 2012 journals --always a good way to remind myself of where I have been, along with the patterns of the last year, the growth and the need for further growth. I discovered almost a total preoccupation, at least in the journals, with selling our home as part of our plan to downsize and eventually retire. Coming into the new year I was feeling one-dimensional already, but reading the journals certainly reinforced that impression. With that in mind my hope for the retreat day was to clarify and set my intentions for the new year. I started by opening a new journal, always a good place to start!
I asked myself, "What is the invitation of 2013? Will it be a year when I surprise myself? How will the paradox, 'moving forward and standing still' be manifest in my life? In what ways will I choose to use my gifts, and how will I be called upon to use those gifts? What do I want to read in my journal at the beginning of 2014?"
I realized how much of the past year had been spent waiting--waiting to sell the house before I take the next step, whatever that step might be. I have been patient, but when is patience and waiting not such a good thing? What is the shadow side of waiting? How has being patient impeded me from living life fully?
And there it was: Live Life Fully.
When I Live Life Fully, I am aware and engaged. I do what I love. I love more fully. I have more energy. I am clearer about what is needed and what the priorities are. I am capable of growing and giving.
When I Live Life Fully, I am in the present moment.
Last year's intention was simpler and clearer, and even measurable: write a letter every day. 365 days and 365 letters.
This year's intention to Life Life Fully will evolve, and its meaning will transition as life changes and as circumstances present themselves. In Mark Nepo's words, "the heavenly pivot," or "unplanned unfoldings." Being with the Wise Women reminded me that when I ground myself in my ongoing spiritual practices --meditation, journal writing, reading/studying -- and when I choose activities that support my body, mind and spirit, including exercising daily and eating well and spending time with family and friends, I just naturally Live Life Fully.
At the end of the day, Wise Women gathered in the den to offer safety and support as we shared learnings and discoveries from the day. We honored each other and the wisdom we each possess. May we each Live Life Fully.
Note: Thanks to Jan L. Richardson for introducing me to the idea of Women's Christmas. See her site http://sanctuaryofwomen.com /blog/women's-christmas-the map-you make-yourself/