Saturday, December 23, 2006

Looking Back

I haven't posted for a long time - haven't felt the urge I have in the past, haven't had the free time, etc. But I think the biggest reason is that it feels like such an ego trip. Of course the whole idea of a blog is ego-based - the picture, the bio, the posting itself. I guess that keeps getting in the way when I think of something to write about.

But today, as I sit in a quiet house with clothes spinning in the dryer, a sick little girl sleeping on the couch, and the brother mother and grandparents off at the movie, it's time to put fingers to keys once again.

I actually sat down to do the finances, but before opening Quicken I went to my blog from Iraq and read some of my posts from there two years ago. Hard to believe it's been that long - it seems like yesterday.

And what do you know - some of them are really good! Here are some excerpts (lazy way to fill the whitespace, but hey it's still my writing):

From Circles and Cycles (Dec 21, 2006) comes this poem:

shadows down
sky above
the ground

is peaceful
is clear
far away
very near

so brilliant
so bright
with earth
her silverlight

Not a bad poem, I'd say - I called it "probably the first one I’ve written as an adult." But what do I know.

Exactly two years ago today, in Coasting Toward Christmas, I wrote that

I am ambivalent about Christmas largely because I am skeptical of Christian mythology. It seems that...many people who claim to be Christians celebrate the birth, death, and resurrection stories without paying much heed to the teachings and ministry of Jesus. Personally, I am much more interested in his life as a nonviolent yet radical person, speaking truth to power and bearing witness to the suffering in his world, than in the mystical aspects attributed to his birth and death. I view the divinity attributed to Jesus as another manifestation of an ancient human archetype of the man-god redeemer...representing human desires for a connection with the divine, life after death, and ultimate salvation.

I find spiritual meaning in this season by celebrating the Solstice – a time of personal rebirth and renewal, a time for letting go of old ways of being that are no longer useful, and a time for welcoming progress and growth into our lives. My favorite Solstice memory is from two [four now!] years ago: watching the sun rise out of the Pacific from a beach in Kauai, while my two beautiful children played in the sand and honu (sea turtles) bobbed in the surf. It was simple yet extraordinary, and much more meaningful and memorable than trees or tinsel and presents.

I had a very nice little Solstice celebration on the front porch the other night, lighting candles for each of the four cardinal directions and one for the Solstice and the renewal of the year's cycle. Last year I included my whole family in this ritual, which includes symbolically leaving behind those attitudes and behaviors that are not useful, and welcoming or keeping those that are. They didn't seem to be that interested (I think they were doing it to humor me), so this year I did it by myself. Worked for me.

We do have a tree...we do have lots of gifts...too many...and we do have some lovely family time. My in-laws are here, and my mom arrives tomorrow night, so the kids will have all of their grandparents here for Christmas.

The last time that happened, I was in Iraq.