Year-End Reflections and Stories With Heart

By Lara Just, December 2022…

Cornish Winter Sun, Kit Hill, Callington, Cornwall (photograph by Lara Just)

Here is a little winter ‘treat’, as a “Thank You” to everyone, offering a collection of some good movies, documentaries, books, this time even some ‘audio-cinema’, podcasts, apps and food recipes for ideas to nurture yourself and self-care this winter break.

Again it feels like another year has passed somewhat quickly, and we are coming to the last day of 2022. I had finally managed to start writing this on the shortest day of the season, the ‘winter solstice’ (21st December). 

The ‘specialness’ of this shortest day, has only hit me properly more recently. Not only are the days getting brighter again from this point onwards, we are also heading to Spring again. But to be honest, when growing up I never really thought about it. Growing up in Western Europe I was mainly surrounded and influenced by Christian (mainly Protestant) faith in the North of Germany, and the idea of starting celebrations on Christmas Eve. When I was really small, we had a real tree that was decorated on Christmas Eve (not before) with little trinkets and baubles, and tinsel. It was even fitted with candle holders and real candles, which must have been a challenge to fit and light all the many candles (and posing quite a fire risk)! As a small child, all I could see was the specialness of the days, the activities in themselves, to be included them where at least then it felt like we all tried to get on as a family. I just was in awe at the sight of the beautiful tree, with the white angel at the top, the smell of fresh pine inside our small apartment living room, full of anticipation. Later, wrapped presents magically appeared from nowhere underneath that tree. And ever since, I drew doodles on Christmas cards to my friends and family with a distinct cartoon image of a real tree and depictions of candles on it, which must have come from these early experiences.

In the Celtic and native traditions, it is the 21st of December that was celebrated as a special day. We have made it this far through the winter season, the darkest days. To have survived the shortest day and to celebrate the days becoming longer from now on. To feast and to help us make it through to the next part – when spring and warmer days are back. I like this idea, but also still love the tradition I grew up with, represented by decorated Christmas trees, candles, baked cookies and spiced teas.

It doesn’t really matter if you celebrate Christmas or not. It is more about the spirit of the season and perhaps your own unique family traditions. Every family has its own ways, if you have fond memories of it or not so fond at all. As we become adults, we have the choice to create new ones, better ones and those that give us joy.

A time when we meant to rest, ‘hibernate’, eat foods together and connect, it helps to reflect on the past year while having a deserved break to recharge before we start all over again. We have survived another cycle of a year and are still here. With all the challenges, tribulations and perhaps successes. It can be useful to gift ourselves a bit of time to really reflect on the year just passed. Maybe to write it down, journal about it, to have a small record that is otherwise easily forgotten later. And to remember to celebrate even the smallest wins.

My last blog and newsletter share was back at the end of January this year. There has been a long gap. It’s been such a busy year in clinical practice, with many people still copying with some of the aftermaths of the lockdown years. With that and other challenges my creative plans and desires to write more content for some regular blogs and newsletters have been on a longer break… There are many reasons for this. On top of it all, there can be a sense of so much information overload that just sending out a newsletter for the sake of it just does not feel right. There is enough that clogs up everyone’s inbox. And sometimes things have to gestate for a while. 

Hence, the newsletter this month offers a bigger collection and selection of options for sweetening up your winter break.

Use it as a reference or as a list to get back to if you like.

Information overload is part of our modern living. But even with that, some pieces of information filter through; something catches our eyes or attention while scanning through it. 

And perhaps it is exactly that piece of information that could be useful for us at exactly that moment.

Please feel free to take the bits that resonate and discard the rest :-).
For now at the end of this year of 2022, I would just like to express my gratitude – from the bottom of my heart for all of my clients. 

Past and present, and those that have chosen to read this far.

I deeply honour and appreciate each one of you. It is because of you that I am allowed to do the work I love each day.

Working with you, each individual unique person, gives me so much back.

I too learn from each one of you, feel touched by each of you. Every day I am in awe and inspired by the uniqueness of each person’s experiences. There is no greater honour and privilege for me to be witness to the personal bravery and courage in addressing the tender raw parts of ourselves, the grief, pain as well as love and joy. Though each person’s story is unique, we are all connected by the same feelings and emotions. And sharing these can feel relieving and make us feel less alone. 

It is such an honour for me to walk on this journey with you.

With this I am wishing you all a restful, peaceful and nourishing break and a very happy New Year 2023.

See you on the other side 😉


****** NOTE: My clinic is closed between 23rd December and 14th January 2023. But please do check back in for any support or session bookings in the New Year.*****