Two weeks ago I was in Mexico with a wonderful group of yogis and writers at the “Light in the Jungle” retreat (Mar de Jade) located at the end of a tiny smile shaped beach town called Chacala. Our time writing with Claire Dederer and practicing yoga in the El Templo yoga studio left me feeling nourished and connected by the time spent inside of my creative well and outside in the warm, salty air, bath water sea and around the table with friends leisurely eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. I came home feeling elevated, enlivened, relaxed and inspired.

After a few days back in the groove of my life as I know it, I observed how quickly I went from one activity to the next, how much of my down time is in front of lit screens and how meals are interrupted by the comings and goings of my kids and their activities that run late into the evening. My internal rhythm from a week in retreat and mostly unplugged was noticeably different; calm, contemplative, sensitive and dare I say – joyous. But, it’s funny how just a few days back at it-the groove and habit of my life-can feel the tinge of isolation and shallowness.

I spent a few mornings sitting and watching the sunrise through the windows of my treehouse living room wondering and inquiring. How can I weave the necessity of soulful retreat into my life at home? How can I be that “light in the jungle” for my family and community? And, how can I draw better boundaries so that there is time daily looking into the eyes of my fellow human beings or walking in the fresh air with a friend or feeling my bare feet on the wood floor as I listen to my whole body breathe in and out. And, how about listening to those around me; their stories, their joys and fears? What is going on inside of them? How many of our unique, colorful stories are shared and known through our common laughter and tears? I wonder…

And, then …POOF! Power out! Was it an answer to my questions from some higher source or mother nature’s wisdom blowing in healing medicine? Or was it just a windstorm? A power outage. It doesn’t matter…a retreat and wonder came through my home. My kids and their friends took shelter in our dark home lit from the outside by the bright full moon. We lit candles and a fire. We circled around the coffee table and played rounds and rounds of Old Maid. All of them, engaged, laughing, looking in to each other’s eyes. Little fingers touching each card, bodies flailing around in hysterics when the old maid was passed around, body language spoken and heard. Then a massive feast for dinner-boxes of mac and cheese that I had stored up from a trip to Costco prepared on the propane stove. We talked about living in the dark and how candlelight makes our faces look funny. After dinner the kids created some version of tag/hide and go seek with flashlights. And, my teenager and her friend ended up in her room playing hours of Battleship by candlelight. As the friends went home we nestled together on the couch reading by flashlight and falling asleep before 9pm. As cold and dark as it was I felt like all of our lights were on. I was grateful for the warmth of togetherness and hours of human interaction and creativity.

As I kissed my youngest goodnight she said to me, “Mom when are the light guys coming?”

I smiled and said to her…”WE are the light guys!”

Wishing you all – Beings of light – a joyous holiday season whatever jungle you find yourself in.