After my little retreat two weeks ago, I noticed that I stopped checking my work email from home. Not something I planned, exactly. I think I just got in touch with the fact that I've been working too much. The easiest way to stop working "all the time" it seems, is to simply engage in play and rest. (Who would have thought. Sounds a lot like Sabbath, does it not?)
It appears that direct engagement in play and rest are more effective than talking it over with myself.
I know that one of my ways of emptying is to walk. Another is to color or paint or sketch. A third is to gaze out the window. It's not always something that I choose consciously. But I think that I need to!
So I'm letting this be my practice for Advent: EMPTY.
Jack and I had an enjoyable Thanksgiving Day: a leisurely morning followed with a lovely feast for two. I got a nice walk in late in the day, and noticed bare trees, lined up, each with a bird's nest in the top. One per tree, winged neighbors. Kids were playing on the ice, and geese flocked around and in the open water on the pond. I encountered a family on a scavenger hunt, who stopped me and asked me to snap a photo. A flock of blackbirds settled in a tree high overhead, and hushed themselves. As we move quickly toward the solstice, I noticed, it feels as though I now have to walk almost due south in order to walk toward the sun.
On Friday, we drove over to see Daniel (three hours), my son who is incarcerated. It was so sad and so good to be with him. He and I were allowed a 30-minute conversation on a two-way monitor. I feel for him, and miss him so much! He gave me ideas for some things we can do for him, as well as talking about his thoughts and feelings.
Following our visit, Jack and I drove to pick up Lilia for the weekend. We hadn't seen her since her birthday in August.
Realizing that Sunday would come quickly, we made a list of everything we wanted to do together: play Indian, Scrabble, go to a movie ("The Christmas Candle"), bake cookies, walk, color and draw. We also watched "The Polar Express" with Grandpa.
Then I gave myself an hour long walk on the River (Mississippi) before starting back. I took it all in: the sun reflected on the placid water, and the quiet--undoing, emptying, getting back in touch. It was heaven.
Yesterday I put our tree up before I left for work, and then added some more lights when I got home in the afternoon. If I were up to it (making red book covers) my tree would look like this: