Jan. 5th (or 6th) is my favorite holiday. For years I thought I had it all to myself. Having already failed at whatever New Year’s Resolutions I had thrown at the dartboard, I would try again to envision my next year after the decorations were put away and the rich holiday foods were consumed or thrown away.
When I was raising a family, this would hit after the kids were back in school and we were once again held by familiar routines. I discovered that arranging some time for myself and myself alone on this day was the last and best day of the holiday. It was like my own personal clean-up, my revisioning time.
Later I was giddy to learn that there was a date on the liturgical calendar called “Epiphany,” and that it coincided with my private holiday.
Epiphany is also known as Three Kings Day throughout Latin America, and it’s a family day, a day that gifts are given to children, honoring the gifts the Wise Men brought to the manger. It’s also traditionally considered the last day of Christmas.
An Epiphany is also, of course, an “aha” moment. Like the one I was having when I discovered I was sharing my personal holiday with half the hemisphere.
For me, the image of wise people following a star to the birth of a baby, to the birth of hope and possibility, made my private holiday even better. And better yet that others were celebrating on this very day. As long as I didn’t have to cook, decorate, or make the party happen.
Hunkered down with tea and a journal, I could reflect on my past year. This was something I’d never had a chance to do during the New Year’s hubbub, no matter how much I intended to prepare for New Year’s resolutions. I took long walks in silence, if I could. I got a massage, if I could afford it. Did a yoga class. All of it in near silence.
What I discovered I’m sharing with you now: “Aha” moments can double or even triple when you celebrate Epiphany or dedicate some time to solitude. Even if you think you’ve missed the window for New Year’s Resolutions, if you’ve already broken every one you half-heartedly made. Take some time now… or soon… to clear your busy mind.
Give yourself a break. Breathe. Eat nourishing food. Lightly and slowly. If you feel like napping, do it. Take some time in nature, if possible.
What do you love to do? Let your hand write it down. Make room for one of these every day. See what Aha’s arise.
If you like lists, a list of what you “should” do this year. If it doesn’t ring your chimes, drop it. Or make it fun. Instead of “lose ten pounds,” make a list of high-nutrition whole foods (especially soups) you love and can prepare ahead of time. Put a little piece of scotch tape on your snack shelf to make you more mindful of your choice to eat. Call it good and move on.
Your own private Epiphany can happen any time by design. Free yourself to set up a personal getaway whenever you can. If you need to go away for a 24-hour reboot, do it. The secret sauce is some silence. Some solitude (even if you share it with a friend, listening and quiet time is essential
Listen for the Aha’s that arise.