As I sit here grading projects and papers for my students, and work on marketing pieces for clients, I am ever present to the fact that Yule/Winter Solstice and the Winter holidays are bearing down on us. When I was decorating my home for the season, we lit one strand of lights and candles at a time reflecting, and laughing as each piece of tradition was put in its place. There are a lot of lights in our home–lights on the tree, on the fireplace, in the windows, and on each altar. Some electric and others in actual flame. As someone who lives on the northeastern coast, I keep wishing for a good snow day so I can curl up and take the day to just be to let it all in. Alas, like many of you, life is full, and busy. Yet the light, the light in the sky that is dim and short during the day, still flickers.
Parliament of the World’s Religions
Reflecting on the last few months, it all feels like it has flown by. Early November took me to the Parliament of the World’s Religions. I am still in awe that about 8500 people from 80 different countries and over 220 spiritual and religious traditions can come together and talk honestly and actively about concerns in the world that impacts all of our humanity.
I loved dancing, singing and meditating with at the Alchemy of Women while I was there. The water ritual we did blended waters we each brought from around the world to heal humanity. The smiles and beautiful hearts at a Diwali was celebrated and honored. I was drawn deeper into the need to care for our planet, and how that cannot happen without all of us getting outside of our own opinions and differences.
When reflecting on the week still, my heart was touched by the parents who bring their children to this large global event. The children brought a piece of joy to me as I just sat and watched them play. No prejudices, no hate, no differences. Just a willingness to play together and have fun. I loved learning from the wisdoms of a young woman, who shared with me the differences in various moccasins of the First Nations of the Northeast. I strolled around a large bead exhibit the little children created, peace dove paintings by older young ones. I listened to music and stories on the theater stage in the area for all ages. So much laughter and glee, play and kinship. It opened my heart in a way I so needed.
Young adults, no matter where they were from, were truly interested in a planet that works for everyone. The general session they led caused a “listening” of the Next Generation of Leaders. Commitments that were so inspiring. It was filled with hope, invitations to take action, and a demand that we be in partnership with them. The session reminded me so much of our Unitarian Universalist youth and young adults, as well as those I know in the earth and nature centered communities. Filled with passion, compassion, and commitment.
Many of the adult sessions were filled with political messages and a desire for a safe, whole, and kinder world. The hearts of many I talked with were filled with vision, and was incredibly uplifting. There were sessions about things like a Village of Hope at Auschwitz, Poland, supporting the indigenous tribes in the rain forests, saving our water systems, various peace projects, workshops on war, hate and violence, and the creation of a more just, peaceful and sustainable world, rituals, and a huge number of artistic presentations.
One more thing that was very precious and wonderful, was hanging out with the CUUPS Executive Director and others from the Pagan and nature/centered world in the evening over dinner. The conversations were enlightening, delightful and fun.
There is so much to reflect on about the trip to Toronto. It is interesting how when it started on Samhain, and my capacity to share and speak about it has percolated in a way that I will be reflecting on it through this year’s wheel of the earth’s energies and seasons.
Moving to the Season of Light
So, as we move into this season of light, I took the little electric votive candle I received in my bag of items at the Parliament and placed it on my altar in my office. It reminds me that one person’s light can make a huge difference. It reminds me that it is okay to be a dreamer who holds on to that notion. It reminds me of how collectively all of the people who attended that I met weave a beautiful web of the light across the planet–from the states, to Canada to India, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and so on are all connected by this one week. That light and divine energy weaves itself like the spider’s web across and around our planet. All of our deities, thinking, philosophies, and so on truly showed me that the Divine is in all of our hearts and beings.
Take time this season to think about how you are woven to many on this planet. Think about how all of our lights flickering together create a beautiful web that also connects to all of those 8500 people at this event. We are all bonded by our shared humanity.
In closing, I hear the song, “This Little Light of Mine” in the background of my mind. It takes on news meanings as I grow older. Not as an activist, but as a woman of hope, commitment and vision. Allow yourself to own and honor and share your light even when it is dim. The sharing of the tiniest piece can light a whole community, nation, or world up with inspiration and love.
Solstice Blessings to each of you. I leave you with a video from the pre-Parliament event “The Alchemy of Women.” Dance. Sing. Love.