Or in which I admit my own humanity...(aka, oops, this post was meant for the beginning of the week!)
It’s been a long month, at the end of a long year. In many ways, at least for me, 2021 has been a harder year than 2020. In 2020, I could simply do what was needed to keep myself and my family safe- my kids were home schooled, my husband, who teaches at a college, was remote, and me being a stay at home mom taking courses online, never had to leave the house. It was boring, and restrictive but it wasn’t that hard for us. The hardest part was cancelled plans and the postponing of things we had really looked forward to. In 2020, that included 3 different concerts, and a trip to California for a geeky time at a video game fanfest with friends we don’t ever get to see in person outside of that setting, as well as a few much-looked-forward-to pagan/witchy events.
It also included a loss that still aches to this day.
This year has also been weird, almost as 2020 was some sort of liminal year, and 2021 is a new universe. I don’t know if it’s just me, but the feeling of discontent is strong. The air seems to buzz with strong emotions and discord- and I don’t mean the app. Things feel off, at least to me. Looking back at the year as a whole, the only really good time was every time my family and I went camping, or when we visited Charleston, South Carolina to visit family and go to the beach.
Everything else that I can remember was hard- homeschooling all three kids from January to June, and then the last minute decision to homeschool my youngest in the Fall. To be fair though, that’s going a lot better and I enjoy it- it just keeps me incredibly busy, making my own stuff harder to get to each day. We have our own rhythm now, my youngest and I, but I have a feeling that like last year, getting back into it after Christmas vacation will be hard. And I do miss being able to focus on writing and spiritual work, and building Liminal Raven Ministries. Working without interruption for a few hours at a time is something I really took for granted prior to 2020!
#21WinterSolstice has been going well, but it hasn’t had the effect on me that I was looking for. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been enjoyable, and if anything has kept me still connected, it was actively seeking connection. But I’d be the first to admit how exhausted I am. I am shielded, and protected, but I’m worn down, emotionally, psychologically and maybe even psychically. The downside of being empathic is that when there is a large scale and long term cacophony, there is only so much we can handle before we begin to break down.
“Normal times”, if such a thing existed, we’d get breaks and ways to replenish and restore. Times such as these, when we are dealing with strong, chaotic forces, rampant ignorance and strife, a pandemic that is thriving on the uneducated and willful disregard and obtuseness, and the clash between oppression and freedom- between those that are standing up and those trying to push others down. It’s harder to get breaks, particularly now when our news is 24/7, and the span of our vision worldwide.
For empaths, at least in my view, we don’t just care about our towns, our friends, but the world itself. We can see tyranny in far away lands, we can hear the cries of victims on the other side of the world. We are also bombarded by hate, and vitriol- even the most “wholesome” internet community can get blasted with trolls and haters. And I think for many of us, the violence against the Earth itself- and all of it's side effects, effect us. Climate change and wild fires affect and effect me- not having snow this December (or having so little of it) has been weird, and the smoke we had over the summer was disconcerting to say the least.
Disconnecting from the internet is good, but it also can be lonely in these times. My friends are scattered across the world, and my “in person” group is restricted. Especially in the winter, when meeting outside is very cold, and options like camping are off the table unless I travel. Which I’d love to do, but I’m also poor, lol. Solstice, Christmas, New Years and 3 kid birthdays in the span of 16 days is an expensive venture!
This is also one of the years I’ve been able to be open, honest and allow my true emotions on the season to sit and be. That might sound odd- but in a season focused on joy, I have a lot of deep, sad emotions associated with the season. And normally, I push them aside, deny them and create a fake mask to wear- but not this year. You could almost say that I’ve sat down a few times this season and had tea with these emotions, allowing them to run their course. I mean that literally too- I've drank a lot of tea this December, thanks to my love of tea and the fact that I bought a tea advent, decided I wanted more "seasonal" teas and went out and bought another one. So much tea- so much therapy in it's own way.
So what I’m trying to say in this lengthy, and late blog post is to not force the season, or the expectations of the season on yourself. If I can be human, so can you, and with our humanity is perfect imperfection.
Take it one day at a time.
Take care of yourself.
Be GENTLE with yourself.
Let your emotions flow- give yourself permission to feel.
Don't strive for perfection, simply give what you can in the moment
Find joy in the natural of things- a smile given, love shared, a warm moment, snow, sunshine, a leaf dancing in the wind
When all else fails, reach out