So the darkness shall be the light,
and the stillness the dancing.
- TS Eliot
Here at our home, Stone Hill Farm in Vermont, we deliberately close out the holiday season with an annual Twelfth Night celebration. Drawing from folk traditions of medieval Europe, the evening is a fun and festive night of music, poetry, storytelling, and the final night of feasting on the delectable treats of the season.
With our celebration behind us, we enter the deepest part of the Vermont winter. Holiday lights and decorations are put away and the farm stands quiet against the frozen landscape. All is still.
As a young adult, I recall being uncomfortable with stillness. I had become compelled to activity, feeling that being still was idleness, even laziness, and that I "better get back to work" on at least one of the many projects I was likley to be involved with at the same time. I was in perpetual motion, racing from meeting to rehearsal to event, often breathless, but feeling that somehow all of this activity meant I was doing "important" things. Even if that were true, I didn't allow a moment to be fully present.
As life has evolved, I have come to recognize the vitality and power of becoming still. I can now look back to my life as a young child, when stillness was the dreamy state that always preceded some act of creation. It was the most fertile stage of the process, in fact, when all possibilities were open and available. Most important, those moments of stillness had no agenda. I wasn't inwardly reaching for some next idea. I was simply BE-ing in the moment, as is the province of such experiences in a child's life.
As an artist and creative, reclaiming that capacity has been vital to living the kind of integrated life that brings me deepest joy. Those moments of stillness, without a set agenda, have yielded insights which have shaped the course of my life. And even if those insights had not been given, those moments of stillness have become oases of renewal and replenishment which deeply restore my soul.
Here in the northland, winter's spell of white and icy cold provide an ideal natural metaphor and contemplative catalyst. The pristine, seemingly barren earthscape belies the vitality and fertility beneath its placid surface. So too, are we invited to embrace the stillness of this season, and the stillness within ourselves.
Yours From The Core,