Happy All Souls Day. It's Nov. 1, the beginning of Samhain, pronounced "SOW-an." In ancient Celtic times, this day would be marked by a two-day festival, a celebration to mark the end of the summer, bringing in the harvest, preparing for the darkest time of year. The ancient Celts in Ireland lit bonfires and donned costumes and masks to disguise themselves from the spirits, or perhaps to imitate them.
Those ancient Celts. They had it together. The Nouveau Celts don't have it quite so together, though we still know how to have fun. The Lindsays, for three, spend the Celtic new year with some of our favorite souls playing Irish music at a pseudo-gig block party in Watertown. It was fun. It was MiniMe's first gig. She played her djembe. She played her ukelele. She danced. It was good.
Altogether a good followup to Halloween, which of course, is All Soul's Eve--the night during which the line is thinnest between the human and the spirit world. There wasn't that close a connection to the spirit world here on South Street. We celebrated by running around the neighborhood with a 3-foot-tall toaster who was far more interested in chocolate than in her insanely uncomfortable costume. I skipped practice, in an effort to commune with the spirit world on earth: my family.
So, tonight. Is there any way to mark this important night in some sort of Celtic way?
Not really. More practical than spiritual these days. Maybe since Samhain is a bit of a New Year celebration, let's do that whole taking-stock thing that we all seem to do on Dec. 31. A little check-in on the resolutions:
-Spend an hour a day practicing. Some days I do, some I don't. I almost always WANT to. But I can't always make it happen. It's not a matter of not wanting to spend the time doing it; it's a matter of finding the time to do it.
-Consistency: same time, every day. Immutable. I discovered in my first 100 days that the most effective time for me to practice is 5 am in the morning, before the house wakes up. I've done that maybe twice in 19 days. In the morning, there are too many important things to do. Today, for example, in the only half hour I'd have to myself all day, practice was eclipsed by the urgent need to Google "honey locust trees" so that I could properly identify my backyard plants. Then, of course, it was critical to write to my friends about it. Then, of course, critical to notice that those same friends had posted pics of their kids in their Halloween costumes on Facebook--and perhaps more critical, write to them about how cute their kids look. Then my own woke up, and it was all go-go-go all day from then on. Have plan. Great idea. But the plan doesn't always work. So, always have a backup plan, too.
-Keeping a practice journal. I've done that exactly twice in the last 19 days--not the same two days as above. My goals change like the wind. I forget from week to week what I was doing last week...still, I'm learning lots of new stuff, and digging it.
-Stretch!I did it twice in 19 days, not the same two days as above, or above that.
So, perhaps tonight can be a somewhat arbitrary new beginning. One friend today wrote to me that she's inspired by the 100 days, and officially begins her "100 Days of Exercise" regime today--particularly important because she is an exercise physiologist who spends her days counseling people with dietary concerns. Hm, sounds like a music teacher who didn't practice. Do we know any of those?
Yesterday, I was a little Buddhist, a little Protestant, and a little Catholic as it suited my mood. Today, I'll be a Celt. Now, it's disputed about whether Samhain is really the "Celtic New Year," but let's make it that -- the beginning of a whole new cycle, just as the Celtic day began at night.
Some say that it's darkest right before the dawn.. that in the most difficult times come the stirrings of new beginnings. You ready to start anew?
Every day brings an opportunity for a new beginning. Why not today?