Everyone has some story with the December month. For better and/or for worse. I know very few people who are neutral about it. Because if there is one month in the year that is fraught with global programming, it is this one.
Just a few years ago, I thought December was the cosiest month. With the old-fashioned celebration of Saint Nicholas (5th December with presents) with the Dutch family of my father, then two weeks later my birthday, followed by Christmas with the Dutch-Indonsian family of my mother including our ditto lonely aunts.
Living in rural Portugal, somewhere in the mountains, has caused a change in me. Christmas 2019 was my last time in the Netherlands, just before the world’s landslide. I could have known. The afternoon I flew there was half a hurricane in Portugal, the airport packed with lost travellers and my flight went last. The rest were cancelled. Hours later, in the middle of the night, I arrived in my beloved low country. Dark and cold. It would be my last trip up to today.
That week in the Netherlands, staying with friends, I found confusing and I didn’t understand at all why. My friends are wonderful people, so are my eldest son and his family, not to mention my dearest sister and brother-in-law. Everyone always up for fun and light-hearted positivity. It was lovely to see them again and yet I felt like an alien in The Hague. The warmth and joy of Christmas was long gone for me, because like at my parents’ house, it would never be like that again. Simply because they were no longer there. After their passing, everything was different. Nobody was obliged to appear anymore. I suddenly realised that for many years (following my mother’s example), I kept things going in the old way and everyone cooperated politely without saying anything. Once I left the country, I no longer had to do that either. Because the family there and I here.
It became confounding times for me. Because how do you reinvent such a thing and yourself. It turned out not to be necessary, because thanks to this global landslide, I got all the time I needed to finish the book on the family history and then caused a natural process. Two years of archival research entailed two years of self-examination. No choice I had and I can tell you that everything I have experienced in my life so far in terms of adventure does not come close to this plunge into the unknown, into darkness. A family constellation in the purest sense of the word.
It is now December 2022. Nothing has changed in the cycle of nature. So wonderful that nature, it never changes. It does its thing its own natural way. Always. Whatever people do to distract and separate themselves from nature that they themselves are.
The days are getting shorter, it is cold outside (yes with us in Portugal too) and the wood stove burns full day and night. I have an exclusive need to be a recluse and, fortunately, so do my housemates. Even the animals hum and snore all day. For me, it is an outer hibernation, entering my own darkness but active on another level of consciousness. All outward appearances fall away, only the purity of movement from darkness to light.
Then the question arises: what do I not want to take with me to 2023? Or: to what extent were my actions in 2022 still determined by the hunt for love, approval and appreciation from others? Whatever the answer is, I will leave that behind me. More simplicity means less distraction from the most important thing of all: connecting with myself. Once again, I enter a new year with less weight, lighter.
I have no good intentions for 2023 and no Christmas tree either, but that is because we have a new cat. During these dark days, with good courage and full of high spirits, I now create all the space I need to let old things go free. So not only do the days get lighter, so do I. I guarantee that because by now I am experiencer. In my little world in the mountains, I see nothing else. And so we create a new life, in which we shape society together, guided by the ancient principle: what you don’t want done to you, don’t do to someone else. I test everything against that principle. Everything else is loss of scent, the wrong track.
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