As the holidays approach and the privations of social distancing are wearing thin, we may be trying to make peace with many stark and subtle changes: absent friends and family, political angst, the death toll from the Coronavirus and climate-related disasters, the divisions among us, or simply trying to prepare a Thanksgiving meal that seems overwhelming, if not impossible, this year.
“In my darkest night, when the moon was covered and I roamed through wreckage, a nimbus-clouded voice directed me: ‘Live in the layers, not on the litter.’ Though I lack the art to decipher it, no doubt the next chapter in my book of transformations is already written. I am not done with my changes.” – The Layers by Stanley Kunitz
Late in life, Stanley Kunitz wrote a poem entitled “The Layers” in which he poses the question: “How shall the heart be reconciled to its feast of losses?” How indeed; especially in a global pandemic and in a holiday season known for its wide-ranging emotions and expectations? In this session, we form a community circle of support and reflection to dive into the layers of life losses and lessons – noticing, honoring, holding space for our own fertile and creative composting of mind and heart into something rich, something that grows, nourishes and affirms a new way of being.
What new or refreshed traditions, rituals and spiritual practices might bring comfort, consolation and even hopeful transformation, and serve as a healing balm for the soul? What are the hidden blessings in this time of acute anxiety over the various crises within our global family? We will explore in silence, in poetry, in small group discussion, and using journal prompts the losses and lessons of the previous year.
Through community support and validation, we may find it easier to offer a welcome to winter, to changed holiday experiences, to our own longings – like a stranger who showed up unexpectedly at the door, yet we managed to show her some warmth and hospitality.