By this point, my kids are grown and out of the house, I work at home, and there's a pandemic happening - all of which means I have ample opportunity, during the day, to be Still. It hasn't always been this way, and I understand the idea of having "ample time to be Still" sounds like a crazy luxury for those of you who are currently juggling kids and insane schedules, for instance. I can remember many days, when my kids were young and I was running a theatre company (while also working to abolish the death penalty in Tennessee), that I ran from the mintue I woke up until the minute fell into bed. (To be clear, I don't recommend this; my chronic busyness, combined with some tough life experiences, precipitated a health crisis from which I'm still recovering, decades later.) How to find Stillness during the busy years? Start slowly. Start by carving out five minutes in the morning, if that's all you can manage. Eventually add five minutes at night. Wake up five minutes ealier, fall into bed five minutes later. Work up to ten minutes... Make a trade with your spouse or partner. Post-pandemic, trade Still time with a neighbor or friend. At work, slip out duirng your lunch hour to sit silently in your car for a few minutes, or work with your boss to establish a place to go at work that's quiet (imagine if every office had a "quiet room...") Finding ways to be Still duirng the day might require some creativity in the beginning; but the Stillness, especially in busy times, pays such huge dividends. Let us know how you carve out time for your practice.
I love everything about the dark, still months, beginning with the darkness itself. In fall/winter, the archtypal Wild Woman - near and dear to our Still/Wild hearts, obviously - ushers in the darkness (just as she sings flesh onto the bones again in springtime). She is the Life/Death/Life force as Clarissa Pinkola Estes reminds us; the incubator. As such, she encourages us, during the cold months, to create warm spaces inside that are favorable to resting/developing. The cold months, we might say, are STILL, the hot months WILD.
For our part, we depend heavily on our wood burning fireplace. Honestly, we light a fire almost every night from November to April, beginning with our family's annual First Fire Night. Fires call for old friends and old stories and, of course, mulled wine, which Jimmy and I have in the crock pot all winter long. (Recipe below.) This table was set last December, when all the kids were home for the holidays. (We happen to celebrate Christmas at our house.) Those bowls would soon be full of roasted pumpkin soup... Until next year, spring/summer. Hello again fall/winter! Our favorite Mulled Wine recipe, minus the brandy. (Feel free to add it back in if you feel so led.) One bottle red wine, 4 cups apple cider/juice, 1/4 cup honey, 2 cinnamon sticks, 5 whole cloves, 4-5 cardamom pods, zest of one large orange, juice of one large orange. Put in all in the crock pot and enjoy! Warm, fragrant, comforting.