Welcome to the return of the light! The Wheel turns and we turn with it!
I have celebrated the Solstice, as have many of you, and now await with my Christian friends, the birth of the Human One, the one my friend Theresa Soto always simply calls Teacher. And then the days of Kwanzaa, up to the New Year, and then Epiphany, and we’re off and it’s January!
I know I said I wasn’t going to have a blog this week, but I did want to write once this week about the fruits of tradition and spiritual practice.
My wife and I celebrated our solstice tradition—no electric lights, time together in quiet by the fire, baking cookies in the dim (hilarious the next day, let me tell you! Oooh, the kitchen floor!), and sharing a beautiful candlelit dinner—for the eighth time.
I will listen to Lessons and Carols this Christmas Eve for probably the twentieth time in my life.
I have had pork on New Year’s since I can remember, either my mother’s kielbasa, the ham made by a dear friend, or the shoulder roast we choose these days.
These are things we call traditions. Big things. Days we spend singing or cooking or listening or praying.
But what about spiritual practice? What is spiritual practice? And how does it relate to tradition?
Spiritual practice, is like religious tradition, writ small. Small in the sense that it shapes our days as traditions shape our years. And, like tradition, practice makes an imprint on our heart.
Spiritual practice is something we take on to invite our own Deepest, Wisest Self to flourish. It is something we enter in order to align with Earth, Nature, and the Divine. Spiritual practice is how we invite transformation.
What do I mean by that?
Spiritual practice is not transactional. Here! Sit on this cushion every day for a year and you’ll be everything you’ve ever hoped you’d be!
No. Not like that.
However, spiritual practice, like other forms of artistic practice, does help us develop skill. The skills—yes, skills—of love, mindfulness, integrity, authenticity, compassion, and wisdom, to name a few.
Coming to our practice each day expresses that we yearn for wholeness. We want to be living out of our Deepest, Wisest Self. We want to be aligned with the Flow of the Divine River. We want to live the good life, the life of our own most deeply held values.
I recognize as I write this how much I have struggled in my own practice. How unsettled I can be, and how much I then need to reengage my own Deep Wisdom.
I have 30 years of spiritual practice, and yet the need to return comes again and again. It is in that returning, that re-turning toward the Holy that gentleness and discipline come together in fruitfulness.
Shall we share time together in accountability? Shall we offer one another strength and encouragement, along with challenge and inquiry?
Shall we share our practice? Tuesdays in January are good for me. How about for you?