Celebrating the Magic of the Season During The Twelve Nights of Peace
For much of my life I've been honoring what some call the Holy Nights, the nights roughly between December 24th to January 6th. In the Northern Hemisphere, during this coldest, darkest time of year, the sun dips below the horizon early in the afternoon, frost covers the decaying autumn leaves, and a hibernation impulse of going inward and being still arises for many of us. In my childhood, I loved imagining that during these dark cold nights, the crystalline veils between the realms of the angels and the earth were the most thin and that the time was ideal for setting intentions for the new year. I was told that each of these twelve nights held a glimpse into my upcoming year, so I would both consciously set intentions for all the beauty I wished to experience in the upcoming year as well as sit in quiet contemplation, reflecting and journaling each night about what happened that day and pondering what glimpses I might have seen into my upcoming year. I have so many fond magical memories of creating art and vision boards with my mom, journaling by candlelight, and quietly watching the large sparkling snowflakes drift from the heavens as I cozied up under warm covers inside.
In 2011, I shared my first public offering for these nights, Twelve Nights of Peace. I loved the idea of a group of people consciously setting intentions of peace, love, and kindness for all beings during this time - not just intentions for one's own life, but also for the world. Every day at 12 noon PST we gathered around the world in meditation, envisioning a more beautiful world and how we could be a part of creating it. Below is the initial video. You're welcome to join this moment of daily meditation if you feel called. The beautiful music is from my dad's album, Deep Peace.
Since then, the practice has evolved and shifted over the years for me. Now it is more secular, but still full of the wonder and awe inspired by the magnificence of the natural world and the changing of the seasons. As you can see here in the latest Twelve Nights of Peace offering, the invitation is to consciously plant and cultivate the seeds we wish to see flourish in the upcoming year. After twelve days of planting, watering and rooting into what we value most, whatever blossoms will be more aligned with creating beauty, love, joy and peace in the world. You can find your Twelve Nights of Peace Guided Journal here. Anyone is welcome to join this free practice!
Let's face it, 2017 wasn't the easiest year for many of us. I know for me personally, it held many challenges. One of my core practices that has helped me get through the year has been my practice of seeing through the lenses of wonder and awe. One of my favorite ways to cultivate this is to actually see through different lenses: I have become obsessed with macro photography! I use a simple little lens on a rubber band that I put over the camera on my phone and suddenly the world of the very small becomes magnified into something truly spectacular! My main practice has been going on what I call "Wonder Walks." Discovering the treasures all around me that I so often overlook, sometimes don't even notice, or distractedly take for granted, brings such amazement and joy that it often takes my breath away!
Yes, there is much to be very concerned about in the world today. Yes, this aching planet and our dear brothers and sisters need our love and care. It is also true that we need to find the practices that sustain us, that remind us of beauty, that nourish our souls, and that offer those enlivening moments that take our breath away.
Here are a few of the treasures I've found over the last week as I've been honoring Twelve Nights of Peace and the magic of this winter holiday season. All photos taken with an iPhone. May this bring magic and delight to your heart as you find your own way of celebrating the wonders and the coziness of this special time of year. Enjoy!
May your holidays and new year be filled with wonder, good cheer, and a sense of the miraculous! And may we all plant seeds of peace this new year and beyond.