Disrupted HolidaysDecember 14, 2022
Transitioning to a New YearDecember 28, 2022
Today, December 21, 2022 is the Winter Solstice. It is the darkest day of the year. The cold and dark of winter directly impacts energy levels and moods. Tomorrow daylight starts to slowly, very slowly, get longer. Tangible hope: at first it is hard to notice the days getting longer and yet, every day there is progress. How will you notice the growing light and hold onto hope this winter?
The opposite of hope is despair or hopelessness. These are dangerous moods to sink into. We need to both look for hope and create hope – for ourselves, and for others. This year I have heard a lot of people express worry about another year. Many people were looking forward to 2020 – a year that did not go well. 2021 was more of the same and just when we thought 2022 was looking better, a major war was started out of pure greed. Now it feels scary to hope, like we might jinx the new year. And yet, we need to look forward. We can’t afford to live in a world in which we are so “realistic” that we give up on hope.
What are some things to be hopeful about? My first reaction is, “Are you kidding me? Have you seen the news?” but then I remember that the news specifically focuses on the scary stuff because that gets our brains attention. So instead, I look around me: people getting together more often, a friend celebrating a new job, the Christmas cactus putting out blooms. Looking for positive events allows us to turn our time and energy toward supporting more of the good.
How do you create hope? I keep thinking of blowing bubbles – most pop way too soon. But there are those magical bubbles that catch just the right breeze and float up until they seem to join the sunshine. Hope is continuing to blow bubbles, trusting that there will be some that catch the breeze just right or that land perfectly reflecting the beauty of a flower or blade of grass. What does blowing bubbles look like in the real world? I have some ideas and know you have more. If you participate in Facebook or on LinkedIn, jump over to our page and share some ways to create hope. Here are my initial thoughts:
- Share genuine compliments – in person and online.
- Start or join a walking group, book group or simply meet for coffee.
- Start a craft project.
- Finish a craft project! (Or invite some friends to bring their unfinished crafts over to work on together.)
- Look around for an organization near you that is making a difference. Donate time or money. Provide them with some publicity by telling three other people about their work.
- Donate books, time, or materials to an organization that supports youth.
What is your hope for the New Year? How are you going to help create it? At the very least, notice small things such as daylight becoming incrementally longer. I chatted with a friend recently who said, “I don’t have any big projects going on but every week I do a little something here or there.” She was on her way to wrap Christmas gifts for children whose parents were incarcerated. More bubbles sent out onto the breeze. Don’t discount those small bubbles you send out. You don’t know which ones will be magical creating hope for others.
I choose hope. I want to look for and work toward shimmering possibilities. Beauty. Kindness. Spring flowers. I will get through this winter in community. I will reach out again and again for support, companionship, and laughter. I will be blowing bubbles in the form of writing, teaching, and crocheting baby blankets. I look forward to the bubbles blown by others: music, hugs, gatherings, and all forms of creative kindness. I look forward to traveling into this New Year with you as we build hopefulness together.