How can you take care of yourself through all the busyness of December?
My Book of Hours has been my number one place for self-care over the last 6 months. But as much as I love doing daily entries in December, there is one thing at this time of year that soothes my soul.
I run out of steam with lessons by the time December rolls around. December is about tradition – baking cookies, making crafts, participating in winter activities, giving, and telling stories.
The kids want to make the same crafts, listen to the same holiday music, and hear the same stories. And to tell you the truth, I do too. But it’s the stories that give me warmth. The stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. At this time of year, I want to reach for the same books and tell the same stories without overthinking. I have the rest of the year to research resources and deliver new material and experiences.
I tell and read our favourite myths and stories, particularly creation stories from different parts of the world including the Philippines. We also read all of our winter books by Jan Brett and Elsa Beskow. We tell stories from our festival books: Festivals Together: A Guide to Multi-Cultural Celebration and Festivals Family and Food.
(Some of my favourite myths that I read by myself are found in Women Who Run with the Wolves by
Cuddling with my kids on the couch or in our big king sized bed while we read these familiar stories is like wrapping ourselves up in a cocoon of comfort. We know how these stories end yet we want to hear them over and over again. As we revisit the same myths and folk tales, the kids are beginning to notice similar components or themes that can be found in them. These are stories filled with ancient wisdom that strike a chord in all of us.
Reading myths is perfect for this time of year as we slow down and reflect.
Read myths. They teach you that you can turn inward, and you begin to get the message of the symbols. Read other people’s myths, not those of your own religion, because you tend to interpret your own religion in terms of facts—but if you read the other ones, you begin to get the message. Myth helps you to put your mind in touch with this experience of being alive.
– Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
There is a subconscious remembering that happens the more I read myths. Something resonates. There is always something new that works differently on me as I enter each new phase of life. I see the same happen with my children by telling these stories over and over again as they grow.
It is hard to feel alone or disconnected from the world and humanity after reading stories from all over the world. There are always stories of family, growth, love, fear, birth and death. There are heroes and villains. There are wise women and men. There are creatures that help and hinder the journey.
Every December, I feel like I honour our collective story by re-telling these stories. In a world where most of us no longer celebrate entering and exiting phases of life through rites of passage, myths give us signs and the answers to what comes next. As this year comes to a close, I will read myths and live in the mystery of human experience with wonder and awe. I will read them as I get ready to welcome the new year with the intention of living deeper and to strengthen my resolve to continue this journey into self.
How are you taking care of yourself this month?