There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.
– Freya Stark, The Journey’s Echo
How did you do on the workaholism quiz from Friday? Frankly, I am busted on almost every question. Having done this work before, you would think I would have been much better by now. Actually, I am far worse.
Maybe it’s because I am now self-employed full time, rather than being the free-lance (i.e., part time) writer I was, when I worked through The Artist’s Way before. Aggravating the situation is the fact that what I do for my living is now also who I am on a deep level. So I find it very hard to switch off from work mode.
But switch off, I must. And it is going to begin today.
I think this is a perfect time to recognize that we have now entered the annual Halcyon Days.
Alcyone (or Halcyon) was a demi-Goddess in Greek mythology, sometimes regarded as one of the Pleiades sisters. She was the daughter of Aeolus and wife of Ceyx, King of Trachis, a city in southern Thessaly.
They were a very blessed and happy couple until Ceyx perished in a shipwreck on his way to see the oracle at Delphi. Alcyone, who had foreseen this tragedy and tried to warn him, threw herself into the sea in despair. Out of pity, the Gods changed the pair of them into kingfishers or halcyons, so they could be reunited.
Since Alcyone made her nest on the beach, and waves threatened to destroy it, Zeus forbade the winds to blow and calmed the seas for seven days before and after the Winter Solstice, the breeding season of the halcyon (HAL’-see-uhn).
The kingfisher is thus associated in Greek myth with the Winter Solstice, and the expression “halcyon days” means a time of peace and tranquility.
Every year, for one week before and after Winter Solstice, days of perfect peace are offered to us by the Gods. This is a magical time out of time, when work is lessened and halted, and we slow to a stillness of readiness in anticipation, and then celebration, of the great rebirth of the light.
Who am I to refuse this gift?
So I am suspending our work with The Artist’s Way during this time, and turning to more light-hearted, gentle and joyful offerings. Starting today, let the peacefulness of this magical season sink deep into your heart.
Slow down and treasure this space between. Let us help one another to turn away from our sorrows, quiet ourselves from the cares of the world. Let us be present with our beloveds and let no disturbance of our serenity into our homes. For this is our nesting time; from this day forward, let all our busy-ness be centered only in love.
I will, if you will.