Maia Toll
Think of yourself as a seed, deep in the Earth’s dark soil…

What do you dream of becoming?

Do you know your passion? Your form? The shape of your flower?

The acorn knows all of this. Even though it will take a decade for it to mature beyond sapling and a hundred years to build it’s girth, the acorn already contains the pattern for the Oak it will become.

We often go into our own future waiting to see what’ll happen next, picturing ourselves as a leaf getting carried hither and thither by the currents of time. But what if you’re an acorn, not a leaf?

What if deep within you, you already know the pattern of your own being and all you have to do is grow into it? Click To Tweet

Hmmmm… you might be thinking, sounds juicy. But how the heck do I connect with this mystical Yoda-self who knows all?

Step by step. I’m going to walk you through it this month, so stay tuned (and do your homework!).

Here’s your homework for this week:

Step #1: Start each day by opening your heart (so that steps 2 and 3 flow with ease).

My favorite heart-opener is rose and there are so many ways to let her speak to you:

  • put of drop of rose essential oil over your heart
  • tape a picture of a rose (or many roses) on your bathroom mirror
  • find a rose screen-saver
  • have a cup of rose tea
  • savor a few drops of rose petal elixir… or rose conserves… or rose syrup
  • have a square of a rose chocolate bar
  • put a drop of rose essential oil on the palm of your hand and rub your hands together. Place them over your nose and inhale. Breath in and call-in joy, breath out and release what no longer serves your life and happiness.

Not a rose-person? No problem! Try this instead: remember a time when you’re heart felt open. Maybe it was at the birth of your child, or watching the moon rise over the mountains, or the moment you felt your body lighten and fly when you were running on the beach as a teenager. Go back to that moment when your heart felt wide open and free. Feel it again… and your heart will open again.

Step #2: Get in touch with what makes you happy and what brings you joy.

Sounds simple, huh? And yet so many of us lose track of our happiness.

Move past the surface things.  Move past what you think brings you joy and look instead for what truly lifts your heart.

For example, what do I mean by “what you think brings your joy?” Sometimes we hold onto an old version of ourselves and, with it, an out-dated version of our happiness. As an adult I kept thinking: horseback riding brings me joy. I wish I had the time and money to do it again! I was sure that I would find my happiness when I returned to riding. It took a while to make it happen, but I was eventually able to get back to the horses, sharing board on a small white trail horse named Cody.

Twice a week I dragged my butt out to the barn and took Cody for a spin in the woods. Secretly, I was bored to tears and a bit annoyed at myself for creating this commitment. But I thought that horse back riding in the woods should bring me joy so I kept at it for far longer than I should have.

Dig deeper than what you used to love and think you should love. Ponder your joy. Don’t make it concrete yet. Look for the texture of it, the colors, the sound, the movement, the scent.

Then collect words and pictures and poems and songs….

Collect with abandon. If it whispers to you of happiness, pull it closer. Print and clip pictures that inspire you.

This is not a time for restraint, this is a time for celebration!  Later we’ll hone and refine and clarify. Right now, dive deeply into whatever lifts your heart.

Step #3: Every day, notice one thing that you don’t want to bring into the New Year.

This can be an actual thing: like the grease-covered toaster you inherited from Aunt Hilda that burns every piece of bread that’s ever been dumped in its gullet, or it can be an emotion or a behavior (like being snotty with your mother whenever she comments on your clothing. Yes, I know she was snotty first. Let it go.)

Keep a running list of things to release. Fill notebooks and journals. Hoard only spaciousness and levity.

The only thing I ask is that you do this work by hand. There’s a special connection between your hand and the page that’s not replicated by typing on the computer. Plus, I want you to have a real-world, pulp-and-fiber, touchable document.

Work through the whole Guide to the Darkest Nights here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.