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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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Life Balance & The Bonfire

We all have markers, which are moments and events in our lives that define the passage of time. We have birthdays, anniversaries, new years, new seasons, new months and new days.  Each marks a time of reflection, change, growth and beginning again.

For me, one marker that’s become a tradition is our friends’ annual Winter Solstice party. This wonderful gathering of interesting people includes live music, dancing, food and an enormous bonfire. While I love everything about this event from seeing old friends to meeting new ones to hearing great music and dancing away, my favorite part is the lighting of the fire.

As a group, we each take a candle, light it and trek up the hill into the middle of the woods. Some years we walk through lots of snow. Other years, like this one, there was less snow. Once we get to the clearing, we form a circle around the stone pit. In the middle is a magnificently built teepee-shaped structure of wood standing about eight feet tall. As we wait for everyone to gather, it’s always cold. This soon changes.

Words are shared, the fire is lit and one by one, we throw our candles into the flame. As we do, we let go of negative thoughts from the year about to end and reflect on our dreams for the coming year. The blaze takes hold. The fire builds quickly and transforms the cold night.  My shivering is replaced by warmth. The mood is contemplative and magical. As the flames travel brilliantly up into the deep night sky, hope and gratitude fills my being. We are connected to each other. We are part of a tradition. We are markers in the passage of time.

The end of the year gives us a natural pause to reflect and restore our life balance. It’s the time to adjust, reset and move forward. The annual bonfire is one marker that nudges me into this mode. What is one of your markers? 

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Reader Comments (4)

Lovely and reflective posting! Have a Happy New Year.

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNoa L Fusco

Thank you for your feedback, Noa. The conversation is always appreciated. Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy & prosperous New Year!

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Linda, what a fun party and I absolutely love the part of walking through the woods to arrive at the fire pit! I love rituals like this one as they allow us to "let go" and reflect as well beautifully imagine and hope for a better future. In Brazil due to the influence of Africans brought as slaves during the colony, a lot from their religions was incorporated into the original Portuguese culture. Many of us believe in Yemanja - the queen-goddess of the oceans and I myself observe the ritual of bringing white flowers to the ocean on the eve of Dec31st. It's quite a spectacle to see the beaches taken over by people dressed in white saying thanks and hoping for a happy New Year. Thank you for your great posts and interviews this last year. It has been wonderful to read them!

December 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHelena Alkhas

Helena- What a lovely image you shared about your New Year's Eve tradition of being dressed in white, bringing white flowers to the ocean, and sharing thanks and hope for the New Year. How beautiful! Traditions are interesting. They mark time and shifts. They make the passage of time more tangible. These times also encourage reflection and vision-casting.

I am truly grateful that you are part of our community here. I value the stories and perspective you bring to all our conversations.

December 25, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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