I haven’t had much chance to embrace some of the winter weather traditions my mother passed onto us when my brother and I were kids, since it’s been in the mid-seventies here in Atlanta. But, this time of year makes me nostalgic nonetheless, and for me simple memories are often what bring me serenity. It may not be a Rumi poem, but my heart fills with love and joy and that’s the ultimate sankalpa or ‘purpose’, isn’t it? When you hear some of the most spiritual leaders and teachers speak, they’ll often tell you that spirituality isn’t always a surreal, out-of-body experience. Spirituality is often being at home with your human-ness and embracing the simplest experiences with love.
When we were little, my mom would prepare us for sled riding as if we were headed to base camp at Mt. Everest. Among the 30 minute long ritual that had us feeling restricted and sweaty were wrapping our feet in Wonderbread bags before putting on our boots to keep our tootsies warm and dry. At the time it seemed silly and unnecessary, but we were suited in enough winter armor that we could play for hours without getting frostbite or even chilled.
We would come home kick of our sopping boots and snow suits in the mudroom, and march upstairs with static cling hair and red cheeks where my mother would greet us with hot cocoa or soup. I actually get teary-eyed and my heart swells when I think about those days. So, for me, I catch glimpses of the divine through these memories. Pure, joyful bliss.
There are tons of unique family traditions we still practice today around the holidays like fondue on Christmas Eve, spending time together on boxing day, and playing board games like Scrabble and Scattergories after dessert on Christmas day. And even though we can all get on each other’s nerves (let’s face it, family time can be trying), we do love being together and celebrating the holidays in our ‘old-fashioned’ way. And, to me, THAT is spirituality incarnate.
As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
– Your Charmed Yogi