Let the beauty we love be what we do.
Throughout the holidays, most of us are stressed and strapped for time, longing for simplicity and hungering for something consumerism just doesn’t satisfy. How can we find our inner light, rekindle our energy, and feel goodwill towards all in this often-difficult time of year?
For millennia, people have used fire to spread light in the darkest season. Many of our fondest childhood memories of the holidays often revolve around fire: The ceremonial lighting of special candles, strings of lights twinkling on the tree, singers’ faces glowing by a bonfire, gathering together beside a warm hearth. Connecting with fire is one way to help us center ourselves.
Here, then, are seven easy, energizing ways to light up the darkness with the power of fire, inspiration for creating moments of peace and joy for you and your families. May they help us to celebrate our elemental unity as one human family this holiday season.
1. Small Flames in Nature
If you have access to a yard, try placing a few luminaria or candles in glass outside where you can see them from an indoor window. There is nothing more heartening than the sight of small brave lights shining in the darkness. (Make your own luminaria.)
2. How to Create an Indoor Sanctuary
We can all benefit from spending time in a little quiet corner where we can find our center, and be recharged. All you need is a private place and a candle, although some of us also like to include photos or statues or gifts from nature in our sanctuary spot. Taking time out to simply gaze at a lighted candle is one way to commune with the inner stillness that brings such peace in the midst of frantic activity.
3. Simple Light Out of Dark
This couldn’t-be-simpler idea encourages us to slow down and be present with the darkness, with the light, and with each other. Just gather at dusk and allow the darkness to gradually deepen, without turning on any lights. Notice the changes in color, the shadows, the peaceful, nurturing stillness. When it has grown as dark as it can get, light one candle. What a change! One small candle can make a world of difference. So can each one of us.
4. Spice Things Up
Nothing beats a little fiery spice in our food when holiday hustle and bustle drains our energy. Just add some cayenne, Cajun spice, curry, or Jamaican jerk sauce to your meals and enjoy the fiery glow!
5. Have a Candle-Sing
Call friends and family together, furnish each with a candle in glass to hold, and sing! Nothing beats singing together for making people feel connected, and the glow of candlelight can transform familiar faces into something very special indeed.
6. Burn Away the Old
Most of us drag a burden of old “stuff”–regrets, disappointments, grudges, bad habits–with us into the New Year. Why not have a small bonfire to give ourselves a fresh start? Simple as it sounds, this little activity can actually help us to feel lighter. Write on a piece of paper all the things you would like to shed before the turn of the year. Then burn the paper. If you don’t have access to an outdoor bonfire site (or a barbecue grill or hibachi), you can use an ashtray and a lot of mindful caution and do this indoors.
7. Fire-Lit Meal
Pull a table up to the fireplace, if you have one, and eat a meal together by its warm light. Or eat by candlelight: It gives an air of special magic to even the simplest food.