Snow came to the Westcoast of Norway, 2 weeks ago. A tick white blanket, lying heavy on the trees. The snow glittering as much as the nights sky above. Stars and Yule decorations everywhere, adding to this perfect winter landscape. It’s the sort of thing out of a children’s story, a fairy-tale winter wonderland. Nothing like the reality of December that I remember from my youth on the continent.
Who new stars could shine so bright? Who now snow could actually glitter like it is make out of millions of diamonds? My gratitude practise only consists of looking outside these days. I don’t need anything else. I live in a postcard, Christmas in a children’s book.
We are moving towards the winter solstice. Darkness closing in. The sun making room for subtle starlight. Everything is so silent here. Again, something I don’t remember from where I grew up. The snow like a blanket to the senses. Shhh...
The more silent it gets, the better we hear the most subtle things. Like our eyes, pupils widening in the darkness. Senses heightened. Shhh… Can we take this state along with us? To accompany us in social interactions?
How often do we listen? Like actually listen?
How often do we empty ourselves to make room to receive and understand the messages that are coming our way? How often are we hearing but not listening? Mind busy with things to do and places to go. Thinking about what WE think or what WE want to say next.
All while constantly filtering through the glasses of our own life experience, our emotions triggered and blaming the sender for it.
We did a listening exercise on the third yoga-teacher-training weekend at Northern Light. To completely listen, keeping our mind empty in the process. Something I don't do enough in real life.
You know what bothered me the most during this exercise? Not the listening part, but the being-listened-to part. The being-listened-to with such intensity, silence and acceptance, like I was water filling a bucket. A bucket big enough to actually receive. It made me feel so vulnerable. Welcome like soft rain in the dessert.
How intimate it is for someone to receive you.
Thus, I wanted to talk to you, with the holiday knocking on the door. The season of family, old friends and togetherness. A season of a thousand gatherings and a thousand obligations. A season that can feel very lonely despite the company. A season that can as good highlight the lack of company.
Can I propose something? Could we try something?
Can we listen this Yule?
The winter solstice is the turning point. The eye in the storm of darkness. All swirls around it in search of the light. Can we cut through all the noise? Can we stand still and empty ourselves in the dark? This intimacy with ourselves could show us how much we crave, need and fear.
Everything can feel so twisted. All around flickering lights in all the colours, plastic decorations, people screaming with too much alcohol, dressed in their best polyester.
Can we leave it for what it is? Stop questioning our participation in it? This endless chattering about what’s good and what’s bad. Shut it. Can we just be silent?
Maybe you aren't the same person anymore as 10 years ago, maybe you have been working on yourself. Try going to a classic Christmas party as a vegetarian. It can feel very claustrophobic, to share a table with people who are on a whole other wavelength of live.
But when we meet that family member, with radically different options and lifestyle, could give them the gift of listening? Instead of feeling attacked annoyed and blaming them for it, because we are so spiritual, so enlightened.
Can we hear what’s underneath? The true meaning? The true lacks and misses and fears? Can we empty ourselves to completely and absolutely receive? Maybe we learn that underneath, our needs and fears are not so different at all. Let's take of the classes and headphones of our own experience, that filter that twist everything, that makes everything about us.
I know it's not much. It not solving any problems, materialistic, societal or mental health wise. But could it be the thing we need?
Give someone the gift of listening and see what it does when it comes return.
happy solstice and blessed Yule,