This evening, I’m celebrating the Fall Equinox. We had a feast this evening: roasted meat, roasted sweet potatoes, acorn squash, pumpkin pie. It was wonderful.
The word equinox translates to equal night. The day and the night are of equal length, evenly balanced. From here, the nights will grow steadily longer, until that season of evergreens and twinkling lights shining in the darkness.
I really love autumn. I love the cooler air, the vivid colors, the crisp crunch of the leaves under my feet, and oh, the aromas!
The Fall Equinox is also a time when I think about the year that is passing. My tradition for the past decade or more has been to make a wish in the wintertime, set it (plant it) as a goal in the springtime, then work through the warmer months to bring it to fruition. Sort of a spiritual agriculture, I suppose. I know I’m not the only person who does this. I use the eight Pagan holidays — the solstices, the equinoxes, and the cross-quarter days — as markers for my progress.
So, at this time of year, I take a look within. How am I doing? Did I achieve my goal? Oh, heck, that’s such a left-brained, linear way to put it. Did my wish come true?
This year, my wish/goal was for creative health.
So, I began my reflections by looking at my creative accomplishments this year.
I passed the preliminary exam for my PhD program; that was a very big deal. That was a huge deal, a ginormous deal. The seven projects constituting that examination were seven millstones around my neck, seven drains on my soul and my self-respect, for years.
On the other hand, here I am working on my dissertation proposal, and I find myself facing the same struggles. How do I find the time and energy to do this? What if I can’t do it? What if I don’t always want to do it? What am I doing, anyway? What is my problem?
Equinox. Equal light, equal dark.
I can find similar patterns in the other areas in my life where I choose to send my creative energy. My work as a music therapist, my singing, writing, acting, composing, parenting…in all of it, I find both progress and regress. The me who dreams of ideals and illusions feels despair: What, after all, have I really accomplished? What kind of an artist am I, anyway?
Then, yesterday — just in time, really — it hit me.
This is what creative health is.
It’s not perfection. It’s not anything external, really. It’s something inside me — the gifts I have been given, the work that I am called to do.
And the only way to achieve it…is to claim it.
How much time do I spend, aching and aching for what I already have?
I’ll probably forget all this again. I only hope that next time, it won’t take me quite as long to remember.