My apologies as some will be receiving this as pretty much a duplicate of an email sent via different list. This one is specifically for readers of the #apprenticeshiptolove chapters, though, so expect a few nuggets that non-subscribers won’t be getting.
My garden has an icing of snow as I write this. (Perhaps a little like the stollen my mother has promised if I come by later?) Birds are at my feeder. I’m about to get my dogs out into the forest, to become even more slow than I have been of late. Before I go, I want to share a couple of things with you. Then my chapters will either stop, or become intermittent, over the next two weeks of holidays.
I wrote recently about how gratitude helped lift me out of myself, which in turn helped me to feel more of myself and be more of myself. So let me start here with a big THANK YOU! I’m so grateful you’re here. You are my “accountability partners” on this project. Knowing that you are expecting a chapter keeps me honest about working on this project. I’m getting so much better at feeling good about “not doing.” And I usually love to sit and write with my fountain pen these words… but there are times when I just want to say, “Later.” So…. Having you here keeps me motivated to practice this practice of writing and sharing.
I’m also happy you're hear because I’m starting to really resent the grind of social media and the effect on my nervous system of “marketing.” When I almost-crashed four years ago it was clear: marketing, and especially social media marketing, is a dopamine fix that I can no longer afford. Writing here, and sharing largely through the Substack platform, is more and more important to me. And, you sharing these emails with others is profoundly important to me, my mission, and my business. Thank you for your support. Please do feel free to share anything and everything I offer here, wherever it is appropriate.
FROM SANTA’S BAG OF GIFTS…
As a small “thank you” I’m offering a couple of things:
- I’m going to “host” a 90-day “yoga accountability practice” to start the year. Let me know if you’re “in” via email and I’ll send you details. In a nutshell, it’ll be a short (15-20 minutes) guided practice that I’ll do live, then record. You then do this practice, or your own, for the next 90 days. We’ll be accountable to each other, simply sending a text or email saying “Done,” or “Not doing today.” No judgements. Just me holding the space and the commitment for 90 days of practice. Let me know if you want to be part of this.
- I’m also inviting you to join me on December 21 for the last co-ed #menswork conversation. My feminine cohost will be Sarah Anderson, and we’ll be talking about sacred sexuality. If this is of interest, please use this link to get a free ticket.
- If neither of these interests you, but you have an idea of something you would like from me this Christmas season (pretend I’m Santa!), drop me a note or set up a chat and let’s see if we can make that happen. (Note that the calendar will show me as busy for a while as I’m going to be slowing down for a couple of weeks. This offer is valid well into 2023.)
Second, I’m encouraging my students to always slow down. I’m taking time off from everything for a few days. In January I’m planning just to write, kick off the 90-days, host one #menswork conversation, and spend most of my time in the forest. If there is one practice that every student and client and friend and reader MUST practice in 2023 it’s this: SLOW-DOWN. No, I can’t make you do this. But I strongly encourage you to take more time to sit in whatever version of nature (including our built environment) you have, and get slow enough to enjoy it. If you need help with this (and most of us do; I certainly did —and do!), please be in touch. Maybe this is the thing I can help you with? (Pretend I’m Santa!)
A DARK TIME CAN BE A GOOD TIME, NOT JUST A “LONELY” TIME
Finally, this can be a lonely time for some. Surprisingly, that feeling of loneliness can come to any one of us, whether we’re surrounded by people we love, or not.
One of the marriage teachers I love keeps drawing me back to the fact that we are all alone. The love we crave from others is never a sure thing, and it never lasts. Everything changes. What lasts is the love we learn to feel for ourselves, and that then allows us to fully receive the love that is all around us, but in forms that we don’t recognize.
My sister died tragically over 50 years ago at this time of year. I loved her dearly and hated the grief I felt, so I tried not to feel it. For years I closed myself off to those feelings of love.
Sadly, this meant that the women who loved me and gave me so much missed a big part of my heart. And, ironically, wanting so much to be loved, but afraid to open myself to receive, I missed a big part of their loving.
Today I choose to live alone. This is not because I don’t love someone. I do. And I miss her. It’s not because I’m not loved. I am. I choose to live alone because I’ve learned that my solitude —and my respect for her need for solitude— is the greatest gift of love I can give to her, to myself, and to this most unconventional relationship.
If this is a lonely time for you, if you are yearning to be held, or if you are grieving the loss of a loved one or friend, for whatever reason, I encourage you to trust your heart. Trust the yearning and the grief. Trust this feeling for love, and allow it to be held in your own heart.
Know that you are beautiful. Know that you are loved. Know that you are held.
Like all living things, we need these dark days. They are a good time for us to be quiet and slow and still with ourselves. To slow down and feel it all. To hold ourselves warm, the way only we know how. No other can hold us the way we hold ourselves. And, knowing how to hold ourselves, we are better able to hold others, when they become tender enough to be held.
This may not feel like a very “merry” way to wish you the best of the season, but it is the truest way for me to do that. Your beauty and your presence do not depend on anyone else. You are already a gift to this moment, this season. It is my wish that you find joy, however it comes to you, this still, dark season.
Ps. Thank you for reading all the way through :)