I feel this new year, 2023, is going to be a big year of change. I have no idea yet, what it might be, but there are whispers in the air every now and again.
I’ve always enjoyed celebrating holidays and festivals. As an artist, I’ve written plays and created large scale celebrations. Now, in this time of my life, I ponder how to celebrate, what to celebrate and how can I touch into the heart and soul of the seasons and cycles of the year with new meaning.
Advent, Christmas, The Twelve Days of Christmas and Epiphany had many moments of creativity, depth and meaning when our children were young and we were part of a larger community.
And, life, perception and consciousness, are always changing and growing and unfolding new opportunities to delve in, explore and discover, new, evolving ways of being ourselves in a world culture of renewal.
This year, out of asking a question about how and what to celebrate, an imagination came to me. I have always loved the 12 Days of Christmas or in some traditions the 12 Holy Nights offering both an outward and inward touching into the season.
This year, what came to me, was a living, breathing and interactive meditation called:
The Twelve Days of Treasures.
I was searching, am searching and will continue to search for wisdom that is alive and living. So as I was lying down in our studio apartment in Playa, looking up at the ceiling, following a lovely quiet evening, I wondered now what? What is Christmas for us? As I held the question, a lovely spark lit and it began to unfold before my very inward and outward gaze. My interest, genuine in nature, peaked and so I begin….sharing this newfound universal imagination and inspiration as another way to celebrate this time of year. It’s humble, but sincere.
I am calling it a seasonal festival for all ages, cultures, religions, etc. and is it the Winter Festival of Love? or the Heart? Maybe 12 Days of the Opening Heart or 12 Days of Birthing Our True Selves? Naming takes time. But for now, I will share this new festival, and way of being, that allows and encourages each one of us to go deep, reach wide, while spreading our heart and soul’s wings of perception, imagination & inspiration, discovering and offering treasures of the heart. This will be the first of, I believe, 4 yearly seasonal Heart and Soul Celebrations.
Of course, religions and groups and everyone will continue to enjoy what makes sense to them. That’s a given. I, on the other hand, feel it is time to enter into the wellsprings of our hearts and sanctuaries of our world souls as friendly human beings and tend to new things and ideas.
I decided on the 12 days because in ancient times these days were celebrated as the end of one year and the birth of a new one, something universally in common. In some traditions they represent the coming 12 months of the new year…one day, one month. I read somewhere that there are energies during this time that focus on the “turning of the tides,” as chaotic energy or streaming energy that can be focused into lifelines for the coming year.
So, Rod and I began December 25 and the 12th day will be January 5. December 24 was a day and evening of inner awareness and January 6th is a day of completion and well I would say celebration of the relevance of each and every human heart.
Here’s how it works:
On each day, a word is read out loud and then there are three things to do.
- Sit quietly with that word, not in thought, but in openness, for as long as you wish, and then begin your day noticing where and how you find it living in yourself.
- Take the word or words you’ve been given and begin experiencing them come to life in others. See them, perceive them, observe this way of being in others and how it is expressed.
- Feel the inner response from your own inner and outer experiences and that of others. Allow it all to come to life, to grow in your awareness by attending to it. Then, when it is real and the timing is unexpectedly, but delightfully right, offer something out of your heart’s nature and soul’s disposition to express itself through an artistic activity, a creative response to another, by living out of this meditation creating a new way of being.
In summary: call it what you wish. a word. a clue. a poem through a word is given.
First, find and notice this word and place inside of yourself. Sit with it until you find the spark, the inclination, the rustling or opening giving rise to your imagination.
Secondly, with this quickening, look out into the world and humanity and see if you can perceive it in others as inspiration. How?
Thirdly, be open to act on the perceptions, do something out of those experiences both inwardly and outwardly. Offering something of yourself to others freely, to an artistic activity, offer something intuitively out of your heart, as a contribution, to a new world culture of friendship.
In the art of accompaniment, you can perform it all, live it, breathe it, simply be and become it, or you can draw, paint, quote, collage, write, take photos and begin your or continue on with your book of imagination, inspiration and intuition, as your book of life.
Here are the first 12 words for the 12 Days of Treasures.
December 24 Night of preparing to hold open the space
December 25 Genuine Interest
December 26 Kindness
December 27 Beauty
December 28 Love
December 29 Light and Warmth
December 30 Living Wisdom (adjective or verb)
December 31 Peace
January 1 Joy
January 2 Compassion
January 3 Generosity
January 4 Happiness
January 5 Dignity
January 6 Enjoying the relevance of the magnificence of life, of your self, of human hearts, of the our abilities to care and connect and begin building a new world culture of peace and friendship.
So that is what came to me this year. Rod and I have been enjoying this. We wake up in anticipation of wondering what the word of the day is and then we enjoy our practices and discoveries of our own capacities and other’s innate goodness, and continue to help tend to the beautiful and unfolding gardens of life and living wisdom.
We are humble and grateful and happy.
written by Jillian RoseMary LaBelle Sophie with love
On the 8th Day of Treasures: Joy