All posts for the day November 25th, 2011

Season of Light: Illumination

Published November 25, 2011 by Susan Woodward

  We are now entering my favorite time of the year… the season of light.  While there is light all year round, and candles are just as cheap an alternative to electric light in July, there’s something magical about preparing for the return of the natural light.   I always get a very cozy feeling as I prepare to set up my tree filled with white lights.  It’s hard to try to figure out why that same feeling just doesn’t come about during the other eleven months of the year.  Maybe it’s the heat of summer.  Maybe it has to do with the fact that the sun doesn’t go down till about nine in August. But there is certainly something about the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas that makes me long for quiet evenings filled with candles and a lighted tree.

I could always just leave the tree up… I have been known to delay taking it down till March before.  I just love that soft glow.

I am so not a fan of harsh light.  It’s unflattering, unromantic, and unsympathetic to the aging process.

I guess, though, what I am most looking forward to this Season of Light is illumination.  I want the internal light bulb to go on and show me how best to proceed through this labyrinth.   I have a very strong sense that I am at some sort of crossroad.  The past two years have been filled with so many changes, and those changes have been preparing me for something.  And it’s that “something” that I still can’t identify.

At this point, I am soon to be relieved of the last major material item in my life… my house.   And that is very freeing in a way.  In a country that defines us by our material possessions, I am letting go of the one thing that most people in America seem to want.  Property.  Their name on a deed somewhere that says this plot of the Earth is “Mine”.   But I really don’t care about that anymore.  I did.  I wanted to plant forever roots as badly as anyone else who ever wanted the American Dream… that illusion of success.  All it did was tie me down in a financial pit that was difficult to climb out of.  In pulling up those roots, I gave myself permission to be free.

But free to do what?  Now that’s the question of the hour.  What is it I want?  To write, yes… and I can do that anywhere.  To teach?  Well… I do love being in the classroom, I will say that.  But it is becoming more and more of a burden than the joy I used to feel.   It’s harder when class sizes are growing and trying to keep up with paperwork that is threatening to overwhelm me, and state demands that seem downright unfair to both teachers and students.   I am teaching writing when what I truly want to do is write myself… and that realization does weigh on me.  I teach students about The Hero’s Journey, and all the while I still wonder where my own journey will take me.  Those snippets of time that I carve out for myself when not grading papers or going to meetings seem to just fly by when I am in the middle of some other world… one of my creation.  I love delving into the internal world of my imagination because I am so often surprised by what I find there.

Still…. what am I really free to do?

That’s where I want my illumination.  I want to bring my internal world into the light.  But like any expectant mother longing for the birth of her child, there is a lot of fear involved in the birthing process.   While a mother worries about the health of her child, a writer (at least this writer) worries about how his work will be received in this world.

It’s true that I will not know if anyone reads these words or not unless there is some feedback… and it’s true that I am okay with that.  But my novel is another story.  I want it to live.  I want it to grow.  I want it to be loved and appreciated just like any other mother wants for her child.

And so I look to the light for guidance.   With my warm cozy candles and white tree lights, I will continue to write the story of Francis and allow the light to lead me along on her path.  And via her path, I hope to find my own way.  That is what I am waiting for this holiday season… this time of preparing for the return of the light.  I am anticipating its warmth and will allow it to wash over my spirit, illuminating my true path, whatever it is and wherever it will take me.   I have freed myself of most material goods that have weighed me down, and I am open to what life has to offer.


Published November 25, 2011 by Susan Woodward

I’d mentioned before that two cards kept appearing in my readings.  I’ve already talked about The Hermit, and today I want to examine the Nine of Pentacles.  Both have to do with solitude… but the Nine adds the element of gratitude.

This card is gorgeous.  I love the colors and the flowing lines.  I especially love how, although the woman is alone, she seems not to be concerned about that.  Life springs out of her creative expression, and the warm colors suggest that she is comfortable in her solitude.  Purple is a color of creativity, while green is life… my two favorite colors in the world.  With the water-based conch shells, it suggests that her world and music are filled with emotion, and the fact that she is seated on a conch suggests that she is comfortable in her emotional state.  She holds her head high while admiring the fruit of her talent.  The roots of the tree spread out wide on the earth, as do the roots that seem to spring from the shell.  She is grounded.   The branches of the tree reach high into the Universe, suggesting that her music is not meant to be kept to herself, even though she is alone in composing it.  Her hands seem relaxed as they are poised above the keyboard, and I imagine that if I could see her face, it too would be in a peaceful state.

I want that.  If I must be alone for now, I want it to be a peaceful solitude.  I want life to spring from my creative endeavors, whether it comes from my novel, my guided visualizations, my poetry, my music, or my theatrical performances… I want to bring life to my art.

I also want to find that sense of solace from being alone.  What I wish is to be comfortable in my solitude instead of feeling lonely.  Going from a house full of people to an apartment by myself is still an adjustment, even after a year and a half.   Sometimes it’s just too quiet.  What I am attempting to do is fill that quiet with the words of the my characters and the sounds of the world I am creating in my novel.

Snape could never be in this picture… and that makes me feel sad for people like him in this world.  My heart goes out to those who have loved and lost because I have been there.  However, the most important thing I can do for myself is not to get stuck in old memories.  I am ready to make new ones, even if I have to do it alone.  Would I be willing to accept someone into my world?  Of course… but not simply to alleviate any loneliness I feel.  When and if I were to be with someone, it would have to be a coming together of two like souls.  Convenience is not an option; that’s too easy.   I want something that has time to blossom and grow, like the tree springing forth in the picture.   Someone who also has a creative spirit who will help feed that tree, and not allow it to wither and die away.

I did that.  I allowed my creative writing to wither away because someone else didn’t appreciate what I wanted to do.  I gave in to doing what he wanted and stepped back from the things that were really a part of my soul.   Meditation and a soul retrieval ritual helped me to reclaim that part of me, and I will not let it go again.   A life of creativity is what I am called to.

And so I will write.  I will continue to write here, even if no one ever reads these words.   Like the tree, I give these words to the Universe.  I am perfectly okay with simply sending them out there.  Who knows where they will land, if they even do?

Today, as the sun streams in through the windows this gorgeous day-after-Thanksgiving, I will write.  I will be filled with gratitude that I have been given the gift of time to do so as well as a creative spirit.  I shall fill the silence with soft music and allow my imagination to fly me to the world I am creating through my fingertips.   Perhaps one day the world will share this imaginative journey with me when I finally publish the fruits of my solitary labor.

%d bloggers like this: