My Traveling Shoes

Done found myself a new pair of travelin' shoes to wear on this leg of my journey. Handmade to fit and suit me just right, supportin' and comfortin' me each step of the way.They are wild and colorful as I chose them to be, they suit my personality.
I've traveled so many miles in shoes that someone else bought for me, plain, poorly fitted, worn, second hand, hand me downs. Ohh, they hurt my feet and took me places that I didn't need to go, places that I didn't want to go. For many years I put them on. I was told it was my duty, but my heart was heavy and my cares so many.
Done found myself a new pair of travelin' shoes to wear on this leg of my journey. Handmade to fit and suit me just right, supportin' and comfortin' me each step of the way.They are wild and colorful as I chose them to be, they suit my personality. I bought these shoes. I own these shoes. They are mine.
by Jeanne leigh...copyrighted...2007


JOIN ME ON MY ECLECTIC JOURNEY.....

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Winter Solstice Celebration

Every December 21st for the last 7 years we have been part of an ecumenical celebration of the Winter Solstice at the beautiful Jubilee House Retreat Center in Abingdon, VA. We have a lovely meal together and enjoy some music, poetry, and reflections of the year  ending and what we'd like to leave behind. We share a fire and several different meaningful rituals such as "Praying in the Four Directions", a "Native American Sage Smudging" and various other traditions.This year's theme was "Appalachia." Our band, WISE OLD RIVER always plays music for this event. This year we played My Land, the title song of our latest CD. We also played Virginia Song which will be on our next CD. This is a celebration of the longest night of the year.

The wikipedia says this:
The winter solstice occurs exactly when the axial tilt of a planet's polar hemisphere is farthest away from the star that it orbits. Earth's maximum axial tilt to our star, the Sun, during a solstice is 23° 26'. More evident from high latitudes, a hemisphere's winter solstice occurs on the shortest day and longest night of the year, when the sun's daily maximum elevation in the sky is the lowest. Since the winter solstice lasts only a moment in time, other terms are often used for the day on which it occurs, such as midwinter, the longest night or the first day of winter.

The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days. Depending on the shift of the calendar, the winter solstice usually occurs on December 21 to 22 each year in the Northern Hemisphere, and June 20 to 21 in the Southern Hemisphere.
Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied from culture to culture, but most northern hemisphere cultures have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time.



A few years ago I wrote this for the Winter Solstice Celebration:

DARKNESS:So often can be related to evil, fear, pain, depression, loss
As a result it makes us uncomfortable; we seek to avoid it, at all cost….
Noise, activity, artificial light, we seek to elude its grasp…..
DARKNESS:
It’s a natural part of life. A necessary part of life. In darkness things grow…seeds buried in the darkness of soil along with minerals and nutrients…grow beautiful flowers, plants, fruits, vegetables,
In darkness…images become real from negatives in a dark room.
In the darkness of a cocoon, a caterpillar goes through its natural process and then with difficulty and struggle it emerges as a beautiful moth, or butterfly.
The seasons on our planet all play an important part of the balance of our world. The Moon, The Sun…..the changes…
The seasons of our lives do this as well…
It is in the dark times, as we embrace them while learning the importance of allowing ourselves to be kind and supportive to ourselves in this darkness and learning to accept the kind and supportive support from others in this darkness that we experience a mystery.
It is in the dark times that we are stretched, we are deepened, we grow in our understanding, and we have our hearts enlarged, our spirits expanded and our minds broadened.


Bruce Cockburn expresses this concept well in a song he wrote called PACING THE CAGE. He has a line in it that says,
"Sometimes the road leads through dark places. Sometimes the darkness is your friend".

The darkness does not last forever. It is a part of our lives. The light will come again. We need both to be balanced. We need both in order to become all that we can be.


Embrace the darkness.
Embrace the light.

Peace, Jeanne Leigh





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