I found my right place on the planet when we bought our house earlier this year. (At least right for right now!) One reason, among many, is that I’ve landed in a neighborhood famous for its Halloween festivities. I can’t tell someone in Asheville where I live without them saying how great it is around here on Halloween. I’m thinking we must attract a bunch of theater folk and other creatives because MAN do the neighbors go all out with the costumes and spooky staging.
I’ve found such joy the last couple of years wandering the streets with my children, sipping local chai cider and reveling in the witchy fullness of the night.
This year, of course, trick or treating is cancelled so Rosetta and I have been getting creative about alternatives. I’m organizing an event at our cohousing community—an adult costume party with the kids as judges—and there will be story telling in the woods and a bonfire and maybe a dance party under the full moon. Last night I tried on my costume. I’m going to be a Monarch in a queenly purple robe under a crown of butterflies. 🦋 I’m wearing my wedding dress beneath the robe because it is the most fabulous floor-length garment in my possession. This seems like a good year to dig deep in the closet, all in the service of the fun and festive.
Last week I asked for help designing my first Flourish Holiday Playshop. Thank you to everyone who shared their experiences. There’s still time to complete the quick survey. If you do it by midnight on Halloween, I’ll enter you in a raffle and the winner gets to choose from a signed copy of my book, a free hour of coaching for themself or to gift, or a beeswax candle.
Honestly, the Playshop surprised me. It emerged recently in a mastermind session with my new business coach. She is all about tuning in deeply to the soul and using our businesses as vehicles to create a more just and mutually sustaining economy. In this group call, she asked me how I would like to feel in January and what work would bring me deep satisfaction. I felt a surge of energy as I told her about this playshop idea which had been bubbling under the surface and said, “I feel like my inner witch wants to come out of the closet!”
I love ritual—and I studied it at Harvard Divinity School. It is a powerful tool in the journey of flourishing, and something I use myself and with clients. Even so I feel like I haven’t owned my ritual love fully in my teaching and online offerings perhaps because talking about traditions, inherited religion and chosen spirituality in this postmodern context quickly gets us into deep and complex waters.
Well, this year I am not afraid to go there. In fact, I think we could use some intentional care around our seasonal celebrations so they can nourish us. Turning on the news can provide enough fodder to break your heart in nine separate ways. As we round out 2020, we need practices that FILL and FUEL our hearts.
Seasonal holidays are one of the easiest and most natural spaces for me to play and to feel part of a larger story. (If you want to read more of what I mean by the “Holidays” and my personal story and perspective, you can read about that here.) Whatever your inherited or chosen traditions, playing and feeling part of a larger story is powerful medicine in a moment when we are riding wild waves of change. Rituals and celebrations provide a container to hold the fullness of emotions we feel as we move through life. They give us context. They provide roots and wings, stories and brackets, that help us make sense of and weave meaning out of the pain and joy of life.
They remind us of what we know deep in our bones. That this moment is precious and fleeting. That this is our time to stand tall in the forest and feel the pleasure of shaking off dead leaves in the autumn light. One day in the future, we will all be logs but, for now, we live. Well-crafted rituals and celebrations show us how to live more fully from that awareness, even as we turn our attention back to daily life. They gift us the “time out of time” spaciousness we all crave.
I hope you find fun ways to celebrate this Halloween season, a cultural moment with many textures and layers and deep spiritual practices around honoring and communing with the luminaries and ancestors who have gone before us.
I’ve gathered some seasonal treats for you below from prior writing and social media posts, including my visit to a Nicaraguan cemetery celebration on Day of the Dead or Dia de los Difuntos.
And please do take a moment to share your thoughts with me in this simple survey. I’m using this information to design the most supportive and resource-filled Playshop I can for you.
With hopes for lots of full moon magic for you and yours this weekend. 🌕
Fall Treats from Courtney 🍂 ☕
I hope these images and reflections nourish you like a pumpkin-spiced latte. Enjoy!
Slaying your own Dragons – Halloween reflection for parents + pics of our first Halloween in Asheville with new friends.
The Blog Post You Don’t Get to Read on seasons and self-compassion and my favorite pic of a tiny pumpkin spiral labyrinth!
Getting Into the Season from deeeeep in the archives and includes a sweet pic + instructions on how to create your own ancestor mobile.
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