There are many different paths to enlightenment. Many different teachers. But for me, at this time, the greatest one is parenting and my greatest teachers are my three children.
Holy Nights of Parenting. The exhaustion, frustration, and then complete letting go as you hold your young baby during another sleepless night in the early months of parenting. The worry and devastating love you feel when you nurse your child through a night of illness. The contemplation, awe, and wonder you feel when you sit on the bed watching your child peacefully sleep. The way that you hold your child — literally, at times, and figuratively — all through the night.
As we move towards the winter solstice and Christmastime, I feel a pull inwards and a desire for contemplation of this work I am doing at home. I have dedicated myself to my family in a new way these past four months – although my deepest devotion has always been with them – and I am drawn to set time aside to reflect on this experience.
There is a practice in anthroposophy to create a conscious space for meditation of the past year and inspiration for the year to come during the 12 holy nights from Christmas to Epiphany. Surely, it is not only within anthroposophy, but that has been my personal study.
There is so much work, anticipation, and excitement during advent – preparing for Christmas. So many fun activities, family visiting, Christmas lights, parties, presents… And then Christmas happens. Afterwards, there can be a bit of a void – not a bad thing to me, but a feeling of quiet and stillness. I wonder how I can I open myself up to this gift – to this time of reflection. And how can I offer it to my children.
So, for this year, I plan to honor this time in a new way.
Review the past year
Each night I want to reflect on the corresponding month from the previous year. I can see how it would make sense to have it start in January and go through December. But, this year, I am going to try this calendar for the holy nights.
Free form journal
I often overthink everything in my daily life. So, to try to escape this, I am going to journal during this time in a more free form and creative way. I am inspired by the creative journal of Sally Haughey of Fairy Dust Teachings and want to incorporate drawing and collage into my own reflections.
Spiral of lights
My family has taken part of the advent spiral at our Waldorf school every year. But this year, since we are not attending school, we did not go. It hasn’t felt right to do it on our own just yet, but I am starting to imagine having a large spiral just outside our home that we can walk each night during the holy nights. It could be such a gift for the children to move through Christmastime and celebrate the return of light.
Letters to my children
After all the presents are ready under the tree and Santa has had a bite or two of his cookies, I will write a letter to my three children that shares the gifts that I want to give them this year that can not be wrapped or put in a stocking.
Each night, I will begin my journaling time with letters or questions for my children. These letters may or may not be something I will want to share with them in the future. They will be a moment of gratitude and wonder for my children so that I can be inspired to know how to best support them in the year to come.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and hope that you will find the gifts you want most in life in the coming the year.
For more information about introspection during the 12 Holy Nights, please visit: