Yule: a time of self-reflection

Yule is a beautiful time of year.  After winter solstice, the days get longer and the nights shorter. The sun god takes over, and the chill of winter slowly retreats. The longest night of the year is symbolic of our inner journey. The deep recesses of our sub-conscious give birth to all our conscious thoughts, words, and deeds. So, going within and training the sub-conscious is a necessary component of mental housekeeping. The season of Yule inspires within me a strong desire to strengthen my inner goddess, to midwife the birthing of a better, more authentic me.

Yule is a time of renewal, re-dedication, making plans for the upcoming year, reaffirming my values, re-committing to the people I want to be connected with, and distancing myself from those who do not have my best interests at heart. It is a time of introspection and self-reflection. It’s a time for noticing what seems to be trying to emerge in my life, and making those changes welcome. There are several things that seem to be trying to emerge in my life right now. I am committed to figuring out how I need to expand in order to allow these things to come forth in my experience.

One of the things that is trying to emerge is an expanded view of love. Often, what passes for love is selfish and self-centered. We go about our lives in a perpetual state of insecurity which we attempt to prop up by surrounding ourselves with other people. However, these people often do not feel free to be themselves because we are using them to achieve something, to protect ourselves from feeling fear, to prevent ourselves from feeling loneliness, or to puff up our own ego-image in the eyes of others. This is not love. To love someone, we must conduct ourselves in such a way that the beloved always feels entirely free to be themselves. We must be committed to their happiness, in the way they define it for themselves. We must be dedicated to relieving their suffering, in whatever way they experience it. This is how I want to be. I want to be a better Lover.

Conversely, another thing that is trying to emerge in me is an expanded way of dealing with people I do not love. It is normal for us humans to want to protect ourselves from people who hurt us, reject us, wish us harm, complain about us, or otherwise cause us irritation and pain. I am no different. Lately I have been confronted with the unhappiness of having to interact with someone who has given me no reason to like them, but who, through circumstance, I have to learn to get along with. Either that, or change my circumstances. Since changing my circumstances would bring about its own level of pain, and since I am on a spiritual path that purportedly allows me to deal with such things, I am choosing to face this issue head on.

Against my Lower Nature, I made an appointment to meet with this person soon. My spiritual practice has been my agent of “tough love” – the knee in my back forcing me to stay engaged when everything in me wants to retreat.  But this is real practice. This is the flip-side (and true test) of True Love. It is easy to love those who love us. But what do we do with those who don’t love us? If we can find a way to love them anyway (or at least put up with them), our practice is working. If we can’t – well, we’ve got more work to do!

Another aspect of Love that is trying to emerge in me is Understanding. In order to love others properly, we have to understand them on a deep level. Often we do for others what we want to do, not what they actually want us to do. We often don’t even listen to people deeply enough to discover what they truly want. People suffer silently, keeping their real desires and needs to themselves, thinking that this is just how life goes. However, if we really love someone, we will go out of our way to understand them.

One thing I’ve been wanting to understand more deeply is gender, and the experience of transgender folks. I don’t know what it feels like to be at odds with the body I was born in. It must be, at times, quite a lonely and confusing experience. I cannot truly say that I love transgender or gender non-binary folks until I understand them better. The only way to understand anyone is to listen. Really listen. I’ve got a long way to go, but with my intentions set, I feel ready to embrace the more authentic version of myself that is trying to emerge. This is part of the beauty that is Yule.

So as we continue to enjoy this season, I hope we can all go deep within and discover the undiscovered self that is trying to emerge. Yule is a time for self-reflection, a time for seeking inner-guidance, a time to embrace those who are near and dear, and a time for gratitude and optimism.

Happy Yule and Best wishes for the rest of the 2016.

Blessed Be,

Raven

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