Today is Halloween. For me, this day is special. It is not simply the day to go get candy from strangers, to dress up in costume or having parties. Having studied a wide variety of spiritual paths, I have adopted many customs into my own personal spiritual practice. One of these practices is following the calendar in a different way. I follow what some call the wheel of the year. This calendar begins and ends with today, or more specifically tonight.
The wheel of the year follows the seasons. There are eight markers, holidays, or sabbats that indicate a special time of the year. Tonight represents the end of harvest, saying goodbye to the past, to loved ones that have left us, either through death or simply moving out of our life. This is a time of closing one door and opening a new one.
There are many things that I do on this night. If anyone has passed away or moved out of my life, I remember them and say a fond farewell. I also go through the process of releasing the previous year’s business, putting away the past. Typically this is accomplished by burning a journal in our fire pit. I am not certain that I know what this will look like tonight, as I do not have a physical journal this year and our fire pit is not in a very usable condition. I also do some minor goal setting, getting ready for what is to come in the new year.
Part of this process, I feel, is going to happen through this gratitude entry. This has been a very challenging year. There have been many health issues within the family that have made things difficult, both financially and physically. There have been, financial obstacles come up that have truly changed the course of everything we hoped to accomplish this year. There have also been emotional and mental issues that have taxed our ability to cope. All in all this has been the most challenging year that we have had in a very long time.
However, there has also been good. We have simplified our lives and made our world much easier to manage by making healthy decisions about what is important to us. Our children had very big years. Our middle child has moved out on her own and has started a new chapter in her life. Our youngest has gone through a great deal of growth and has stepped out of her box to do some something she hasn’t really done before. Our oldest has made significant changes to her life to be healthier and happier. As a couple, we have grown and become closer as we have met the challenges of the year. We have had some really good experiences and accomplished some fun and exciting things, from a performer standpoint.
There is a lot of unpleasantness to say goodbye to since last Halloween, but there is also a lot of good to set aside, making space for the good that is coming this go round. When looking at things to be grateful for, it is easy to be grateful for those positives that came into our lives this year. It is also important to look at the challenges, obstacles and growth points, to see the resulting good and be grateful for what grew out of the experiences. This isn’t always easy and when a year has had more of these moments than normal is can be especially difficult. However, it is good to look at these moments for what they were. They were almost always growth moments, uncomfortable, painful and maddening, but what came about because of them was good.
Today I am grateful for a year that has truly challenged and changed me.