How I'm Surviving December 2012
I'm supposed to blog regularly. Ideally every day (ha!), but at the very least, twice a week. (This I'm told by professionals who know how to keep interest alive in one's book and one's work.) And being a writer with lots to say, this is normally fine with me. Then December 2012 arrived. I'm all a-bumble. Topsy-turvy. And you know what? I'm going with it! In thinking deeply and reading lightly about it, I find that December 2012 is like life, amplified: ripe with opportunities that can be embraced and nurtured, or overlooked.
Life deemed that my December 2012 would begin across the country on an upstate New York road trip with my daughter Eve. Midnight struck as we cuddled up together at a cozy B&B enjoying a wee-hours Parenthood marathon via Hulu. After catching up on our shared favorite show, we fell asleep together in the fabulously comfy king-size bed. (We were co-sleeping!)
Aside from having taken her there for her freshman year, I had never visited Eve at college. And now she's a senior with barely more than one semester left...and the most beautiful of all the senior studios because she pulled a low lottery number...and three apartment mates...and a whole life that I'd not yet felt up close.
I worked my butt off the weekend before flying to New York, to get blog posts written in advance, to get my November newsletter out, to essentially bank a week's worth of work in two days. That's when I felt it beginning to set in: weariness of the obligation to write, write, always be writing. My dear friend Laura chided me: it cannot be by rote, it cannot be by formula! Post just once a month if that's what you're feeling. (If my PR consultant were dead -- God forbid -- he definitely would've turned over in his grave. To blog just once a month? Promotional suicide!!)
Eve and I had a fantastic three days together. When I left to drive to JFK on Sunday afternoon, she was wrestling with ideas for an art installation assignment she had to present on Monday. I was wrestling with this conundrum of being supremely devoted to Parenting for Peace, and yet feeling pulled toward other things at this moment, aside from blogging, Tweeting and Facebook posting.
December 2012, A Singular Phenomenon
Unless you've been living in a bomb shelter (and maybe you are, if you're partial to a particular vision of December 2012), you've heard the buzz about December 2012. Specifically, December 21, 2012. Either the world is going to end, or it's going to begin anew. Or maybe something in between: it's simply just not going to end. Either the Mayans had an uncanny knowledge of future events, or they just ran out of tablets. You can find lots of pro-Maya-apocalypse opinions at the official website, including a slideshow of celebrity believers.
There is some really interesting discussion and expert information out there to be found, along with much frivolity: the connection to Psy and "Gangnum Style"; a playlist for the apocalypse; amusing video guidelines from John Hodgeman on surviving the apocalypse; and even a high-level video doomsday spoof by the Australian prime minister. Here's an article on how to talk to your child about December 2012.
Catching the Rhythm of December 2012
We have this saying in our family, "No solution, no problem." If the world truly is going to end this month (doubtful), then that's that. I don't have the energy or inclination to whip up a survival shelter, and besides, What would I wear??!
But rather than Mayageddon in a literal sense, I'm seeing December 2012 as an amplified, intensified snapshot of life in general: aspects of ourselves and our world are always dying to make way for the new -- or at least that is Nature's intent. We find ourselves suffering when we cling and grasp and resist this ever-present process. Principle #3 of my book Parenting for Peace is rhythm, and it's from the principle of rhythm that I'm taking my cue for surviving (and hopefully thriving) through December 2012.
"As biologists have learned in the past decade,” writes author Jennifer Ackerman, “time permeates the flesh of all living things -- and for one powerful reason: We evolved on a rotating planet.” She observes the many ways in which we carry inside us a model of the cosmos. It is thus no wonder that we find rhythmicity so nourishing.
Winter and summer are the seasons of slowing down; spring and autumn are the seasons of revving up. Think of squirrels scurrying about in fall, filling their larders with nuts and seeds for the (slow) winter; trees shedding their leaves. Think of the stillness of bare trees in winter, the hibernating bears, the shorter days that seem to beckon, Slow down now, rest.
But in our always-going-fast world, the idea of pausing tends to bring anxiety. All the reasons for that would fill a dozen other blog posts, but a biggie is our misperception that our busy-ness, our "doing-ness," is the only way things get done. Our culture urges us to be like the machines we have created: unpausing, linear automatons, rather than cyclical, rhythmic living creatures. Perhaps the anxiety around pausing could be eased if we understood more fully that hidden within the seeming "dead" stillness of a bare tree in winter is a rich process of deep and imperative preparation and regeneration -- vibrantly stirring life-building forces at work, which will be revealed in the buds and blossoms of springtime!
December 2012, A Unique Opportunity?
More than ever before in my life, I feel powerfully drawn into the decelerating / regenerative rhythm of this particular transition to winter, this December 2012. Is it because there is something unique? Is the pull stronger? Am I paying more respect than ever to my affinities and intuition (my inner GPS, if you will)?
This month somehow whispers to me a reminder about the power of beginnings. As the light is once again victorious over darkness on the 21st (when the days begin to lengthen again -- at least in the northern hemisphere), I feel an opportunity to set a tone for the coming era in my own life. Do I live according to a set of external formulas and prescriptions (whether it's about blogging or about eating or about relating), or do I attune and respond to what Life is asking of me on this unique day? If I'm not (at least most the time) walking the talk of Parenting for Peace, living its principles -- of Presence, of Rhythm, of Trust and Simplicity -- then what business do I have blogging or tweeting or posting in the guise of guidance??!
Of course it is always about finding balance on the spectrum: when one has a family and a family routine...a regular job and work routine...there may fewer places to breathe fully into this freedom. I'm blessed to be a freelancer with grown children. An email from California-based spiritual healer Robin Alexis uncannily mirrors my own December 2012 inclinations; she writes,
Bob and I have chosen to spend the end of 2012 being very quiet. We feel that the December 21, 2012 energies could feel like a universal slap across the face, so we are going to hunker down, relax into the energy, and receive WHAT IS. Many people wanted us to provide an event for them to go to. We thought about a conference call or Skype experience, but in the end, we went with what was right for us. What will you do with this precious gift of time and space at the end of 2012? Please be mindful of what feels right to you.
And after a conversation with dear friend and colleague Laura Uplinger about what feels like a unique quality in the atmosphere at this time, she sent me these notes, which soothe, instruct and inspire me:
The pace of the dance has somehow quickened. There seems to be an acceleration doubled by an upgrade in quantity -- a palpable increase of events requiring our attention and interest. The keyword seems to be “more”: more freedom of choice, more possibilities, more understanding -- both objective and subjective. Of course, more communication and transparency.
Confirmations as well as challenges of one’s life purposes come at high speed. Faster accompanies more. “Laura be nimble, Laura be swift, Laura meet this opportunity.” No more time to revel in one’s comfort zone. I am inwardly more aware, feel more intensely, and respond to many more demands than I thought I ever could. Many around me are having similar experiences.
Breathing deeply and consciously has become such a tool! It promotes peace and clear thinking amid interesting whirlwinds. Even to tackle bureaucratic tasks -- and obtain the expected results -- seems much less troublesome than 10 years ago.
Yes, the internet has birthed a new era, but still, it’s as if a magic wand has given the command to accelerate it all, and in my opinion, the internet and its glorious technological companions are of service to this whirlwind, not the cause of it.
Life is giving me a crash course in expanding and letting go of what isn’t that relevant. At the same time, I am invited to upgrade my presence: how present do I choose to remain in the company of dear friends, new acquaintances? How graciously am I able to let go of a deadline suddenly impossible to honor? How to enjoy simple moments of solitude when speed beckons?
More than ever, I relish the quiet and rare moments dedicated to organizing books, files and papers. They somehow ground me, and I can size up the important amount of successful endeavors -- others' and mine -- that keep adding to the relevance of being on this planet at this fecund time.
The Universe is expanding, and so are we.
I'm the author of Parenting for Peace: Raising the Next Generation of Peacemakers, and also the adoption expert on Mothering's expert panel. I write and speak around the world on prenatal, child and parent development, and I have a private practice coaching parents-in-progress. I raised two humans, earned a doctorate, and lived to report back. On the wings of my new book I'm delighted to be speaking at many wonderful conferences all over the world in the coming months, and I'm happy to be sharing dispatches and inside glimpses with you here on Mothering.com! As a special gift to Mothering readers I'm offering "A Unique 7-Step Parenting Tool."