January often begins as a season of resolutions. By the end of the month, though, many of us have made them, broken them, and have gone back to our hedonistic, sloppy, flawed lives. Many of us have come to think of resolutions as shallow and have resolved not to even make them in the first place. Still, there must be something to the way that we are pulled to do things differently, to re-align ourselves: when necessary; when we’re re-evaluating our lives; when we long for True North.
The language of ‘making resolutions’ feels different than the concept of ‘setting intentions,’ which includes the ingredient of reflection. How might we move toward a different, more constructive vision of engaging with ourselves and with the world?
Do you set intentions or make resolutions? Does it make a difference to you?
Many of us are familiar with the practice of writing down the qualities and stories that we don’t want to bring with us into the new year. Then we burn those scraps of paper, and the power of Fire weakens the connections we’ve established between our stories and any resulting unhappiness. Still, those same qualities and stories that we’ve released through fire actually began through pieces of our consciousness and intelligence. These were, and are still, good medicine. Fire releases their essences, making them available to us again, freeing up energy to weave into the present as part of changing, healing visions.
Which brings me to Night Fires. This is an annual, extraordinary celebration of Winter Solstice that a local theater group presents. Rooted in diverse and ancient traditions, it blends performance art, poetry, song, and story into a few hours of quiet, joyful, uplifting liturgy. When I speak of it to friends and folks who’ve never heard of it before, I never do it justice. Night Fires defies simple explanations, partly because so much of its magic happens on the inside, in layers. It unfolds. This article captures part of it.
It’s visionary, exploratory. It traces the ancient paths of our ancestors, awakening and nourishing seeds of mysterious knowing in us. It reminds us of what’s possible when we drop down into our deepened selves. Night Fires reminds us of who we are and where we came from.
That’s what I want to carry forward.
May it be so.