Chat With Chris

        Winter Solstice

Winter solstice has come and gone.   I spent it welcoming the darkness, the long night, and the beginning of winter. (Even if “winter” is just a season on the calendar here in Florida.)  As a period of refection before a long slumber my thoughts routinely drifted to recalling the events of not only the past few months, but the entire year.  Pretty normal stuff really.  Aromatic Harmony is coming along as well as any new business venture could expect to.  My writing project is lacking  the attention I really should be putting into it, and will be a new focus for the coming year.  The blends that I’ve made have met with some success, and more importantly either helped people with their issues, or just tickled their noses the right way.  Either way, I am glad to be a part of it!  In preparation for the solstice and new year celebration, Jeanette and I did a little insightful blending exercise.  We used some insight cards made by Jennifer Jefferies to give us a few essential oils that would embody our refective spirit at the moment.  I drew Lime, Vetiver and Jasmine. Meanwhile Jeanette pulled Lemon, Rosewood, and Patchouli.  It was not only fun creating an individual blend with these, but reading the insights for each pull gave us a heading for our reflections.

As I perused my memories, I applied the filter of a year in review.  These habits that we do each year, even the simple refection that the solstice/ new year that everyone does.  It’s a bit of a tradition, right?  Do we evaluate every year because of a calling to do so?  Or is it simply a tradition that we are reminded of like a chore that we have been successfully forgetting to do?   Now, for anyone that doesn’t know me well, I am a BIG fan of tradition, lineage and family artifacts.  Why?  I’m not really sure.  I think the idea of being part of an order of events that has been, and will be after me is important.

As a male, I am burdened with the need to create.  The very same need that we are jealous of women for.  So from that comes the deep seeded need for a legacy.  Knowing that I have fulfilled my link in the chain kind of satisfies that.  I have always been fascinated with how behavior from that past influences us today. (Like the history of train tracks for example!  It all started…    whoa.  Tangent avoided.)

So let’s look at this past solstice.  I had a post and some research and I was already to talk about traditions for this instalment.   For example (planed anecdote, not a tangent!) A tradition that my father’s family had was to have pickled herring on the New Year.  Pickled. Herring. Pickled. Fish.  I never understood its origins, and I never was coerced into partaking. (PICKLED HERRING?!?!?)  Down here in the south, there is the black eyed peas for luck in the New Year tradition.  Not bad, certainly more palatable.   Beyond all of that, let’s broaden our examination of traditions to include Christmas, or Yule, or Hanukah, or ANY celebration that has been held a couple of time already.  Do you do presents on Christmas Eve?  Do you put a star on the tree or an angel?   Do you have a traditional Dreidel to play with?  Is there a family Menorah handed down?   These traditions always rang true to me, even though it never felt “ancestral” to me.

So, in taking this reflection, and musing about tradition, I had a very unique holiday experience.  This has been the most non-traditional Christmas that I can recall, (discounting deployments, those never count.)  We DID maintain the Turpin (Jeanette’s mother’s side) tradition of having chicken and noodles/dumplings on Christmas Eve.  After that, it was All New.  Gifts exchanged on the eve, no endless cooking on Christmas day.  Instead it was a very relaxing movie day, a trip to the theatre, and dinner out with all the kids.  It was like we broke most of the rules!  And throughout it all, I was keenly aware of that.  And, as it turns out, the world did not corrode into madness.  The ghost of Great-grandfather Casey didn’t come to visit me. (Note: I did wait to write this part until later. Just in case.)  But it gave me a new lens to use in another reflection of these more current events.

Maybe, the traditions of our past were somehow confused. (At least mine were askew.)  Our heritages give us a link to our past, and describe a way to celebrate. A way to reflect, and a way to put forth a conscious effort into bringing ourselves into a better future.  I was caught up in the how of things.   When I tally up all of the points of this holiday, I am no worse off than any other!  I spend an amazing day with my kids, and as a bonus, didn’t have to do any dishes!  Maybe, vie planted the seed of a new tradition with my children forward.  “Remember when Great Grandpa Chris said ‘No Dishes!’?  That was great!”  Maybe it will persist as a way to do things.  I will have to endeavor the coming year to insure that the tradition is not about the How, and about the Why, and the Who.  (Meaning Family. Not the band. But the band DOES rock…)