A Reflection on the Winter Solstice, by Diane Pendola.
We are at the threshold of winter. This is an in-between time, a time when what is stirring to be born is still to become manifest. The life is still germinating beneath the snow, or kicking in the womb, or agitating our minds. But our course of action is not yet clear and so we wait a little longer. Tomorrow the darkness will begin to recede. Slowly the days will begin to lengthen. Tonight is the longest night. But the turn in the season is here. The Sun is on the ascendancy. Our hearts stir with hope.
Oh, how did I sleep in ’til 8:00 am, when mornings are my best time to write? I’m into my new retreat rhythm of coffee, breakfast (eggs from my chickens), meditation then writing. The autumn foliage scintillates in the breeze outside, making me wish I’d brought my watercolors!
I’m on a roll now. Present-day Christie’s chapters are fleshing out, fueled by my conversation with Diane about seeing her through the lens of The Enneagram. I’m already familiar with this ancient way of understanding human motivation and behavior, based on nine different personality patterns. In fact, after living with my main characters for awhile, I’ve figured out what personality type they most likely are. It’s become easier to write how each might express anger, stress, vulnerability, strength, and joy.
For example: Christie is a “9” – the Mediator. She wants her world to be peaceful and serene and not be bothered by the competing demands of the world’s problems on her attention and energy. She sees all viewpoints and can’t decide, so she goes numb. Inspired by Diane’s comments, Christie will now have a few more glasses of wine and declare she’ll deal with the world’s issues tomorrow. (Yes, Scarlet).
(Note: “The Desk” was the former working title for “Heart Wood” before 2020. “Christie” became the character “Harmony.”)
Oops. . . A text message beeps from my iphone. It’s my brother in law RV-ing out in the Nevada desert. They’re in Ely asking where the Immigrant Trail museum is I said they shouldn’t miss. I text back that it’s Elko, not Ely, and it’s the California Trail Interpretive Center. Good luck I think, as I sit back and mull over what just transpired – he in Nevada, me in Northern California. Being instantly accessible through technology definitely has its pluses. If my children were still teens, I’d really appreciate it. But I sense we’re slowly raising the bar of our expectations about immediate access to information and each other. Hey, after all, I’m on a retreat! (Guess I could have turned the dang thing off).
3pm. I continue writing until it’s time to pack up. I’ve got to make it to town for my cello lesson. When I close up Scrivener, I see my grand total for the two days is 3,273 words. Not quite half. I guess I’d expected that if I had unlimited time to myself with no interruptions, I could write to the sky. But there’s still interruptions even on a retreat. The difference is that here, I always went right back to writing. At home, I would have drifted off, distracted.
I’m most thankful for this time to move within my own rhythms. I also know I’ma lot further along in understanding some of the deeper currents in my story: How three family women, each living centuries apart, are bound together by an ancient woman’s wisdom for the earth’s future – a message held deep within the heartwood of The Desk.
It’s really easy to arrange your own personal – or couples – or group retreat. Diane and Teresa are warm and hospitable while honoring guest’s need for privacy and quiet. Scott and Mike are around to help if needed. Everyone’s a short walk away through the woods . Skyline’s 45 minutes from Nevada City/Grass Valley in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Northern California, and a 2 hour drive from the Sacramento airport. Call Diane at 530-288-0308 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org (www.ecocontemplative.org)