Merry Christmas Eve!  My intention was to write a post on the Equinox, but like everyone else, I’ve been busy. I didn’t get a chance to finish the post that day, nor the next. The precise moment of the solstice was 10:59 am EST and I had planned on doing a meditation then, but I ended up on the phone and the moment passed without notice. I was really upset that I missed that moment, especially since I was on the phone with someone who was putting me down. Until yesterday I was unaware of the celestial events that make up the solstice.  I thought it was just a mark in time, like the change of a month.  “In Latin, solstice is made of two words: sol– meaning “the sun” and sistere meaning “to make stand.” Winter Solstice is one the most powerful points of the year as the axis of the Earth pauses, shifts and moves in the opposite direction. For three days around the solstice points we experience the power of the standstill point and the shift of direction. The sun standing still is a powerful metaphor for the energy available to us at the Winter Solstice to change the direction of our lives with intention and build on this energy as we enter into the new year.” (“The Spiritual Significance of the Winter Solstice”) Between the solstice and the New Year it’s a great time of year to dive inward and assess what direction your energies are pulled, and where they need to shift. 

I love Christmas, especially now as a parent.  Yes, staying up late wrapping presents and moving the damn Elf on the Shelf every night is a pain, but there is so much joy and wonder with children on Christmas morning.  I love the excitement that pumps through them Christmas morning when they come running in the room to wake me up.  This joyous time can be difficult when you’re a divorced parent.  When I first realized that I was in a dead-end marriage, I began to talk to people who were divorced and ask them about the process.  Now I am on the other side, and I have had several people open up to me about wanting out of their marriages.  Very well-meaning people have also told me that they stay “for the sake of the kids.”  My first reaction is to feel defensive – I feel like I am a lesser parent because I did not take this course.  Recently my youngest has told me several times that he wants us all back together again and so does his dad, but they all know that I will say no.  (Yes, he’s being manipulated.  Yes, he is in therapy).  I have to hold my head high and be kind but firm that I am better off where I am, and the best I can say to him is that adult relationships are complicated. Christmas time always brings nostalgia, but this year I didn’t question my decision to not “stay together for the kids” because Christmas morning is 1 morning out of 365. 

Reflecting back on 2021, I am able to say that I am proud of where I have been and what I have done.  About a year ago I posted about my intentions for this year (2021 post).  I did not hit all my goals, but looking through pictures of all the hikes and backpacking trips I realize that I grew and improved my soul more than ever this year.  For me, the woods are like a church.  It is where I go for spiritual work. There are ways to measure growth and check in on goals/intentions set during this time of year.  I find great value in completing a “wheel of life” frequently throughout the year to check to see where I am off-balanced (try it out!).  This year I created an “uber list” an idea a friend told me about.  The “uber list” is not a resolution list, it’s a list of goals, fun things to try, and ranges from big to small.  Personally I chose to list 21 things last year and 22 things for this coming year.  This year I centered all the items on my list off of my personal pillars/what I use for my wheel of life; Being a good mom/family member, my health, my relationships with others, creativity, adventure and personal growth.  I kept Ryan Holiday’s quote in mind as I wrote my list, “Give more.  Give what you don’t get.  Love more.  Drop the old story.”  Some of the items on my list are: Continue to be more honest, even if it causes conflict.  Complete 400 miles of the Appalachian Trail this year.  Volunteer/give back more.  Budget every week. Take the kids to the Luray Caverns and let go of the all-or-nothing mentality.  As you can tell, some of these are easy to track and measure, others not at all. 

Merry Christmas, Happy (belated) Hanukkah and Winter Solstice.  Thank you to everyone who reads this blog, and follows along on my adventures both on and off the trails.  I hope you get something out of it, as it gives me great joy (and sometimes a headache or two) to write.   



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