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  • Writer's picturehawaiichocolate

Reflection and Rituals

I got an email this week from the Blackbird Saloon, a favorite historic bar in Cerrillos, NM where I lived. They were posting their closings for holidays and their annual closure, this year for both Jan and February. As we approach 2022, I was reflecting on the whirlwind of the last couple years. In 2019 we went to a fabulous New Years Eve party at the Blackbird. Spirits were high, coming off a successful chocolate Xmas season and already having bookings for tours and classes for spring break in March 2020. The dinner that night was delicious and the comraderie with 20 other town residents made for a very fun evening. It felt great to finally be “connected” to where I was living.

Of course, we all know what happened next and the last two years have been spent dealing with that fallout, from having a daily sense of purpose to financial heartbreak. Grief is a really strange thing because it hits uncontrollably in the oddest moments. And yet, there have been some delights this last couple of years too. The prospect of moving into my tiny house community this spring, watching 4 lemons that pollinated in April, now be close to picking and creating something delicious with them, discovering ferns as an addition to my ever growing house plant collection ( NM was too dry for them), playing my ukulele now that my keyboard is in storage and patiently making vanilla extracts that will take months to mature. I have been cooking meals almost every day for the last 9 months and it’s been fun to challenge myself to make things I’ve always wanted to like the Buche de Noel cake my former mother in law made every year. Truly the universe tries to fill a void. In taking away my chocolate making ability, baking and meals have flourished more.

There does remain a huge void however in terms of creative expression which I found in the rituals of work- from displays and packaging to how a chocolate might be constructed in terms of flavor and visuals, or pulling a mini store together at a trade show- this creative expression is still lacking. Because I live in another’s furnished guest house, I really can’t spread out with projects like I normally do. I keep folders of desired creative projects on Pinterest boards in the hopes that I can pursue them in 2022, along with some travel goals.

In previous New Years I started the ritual of the New Year by summarizing the prior year in a journal. I then stated goals or dreams for the upcoming year. The Unitarian church in NM used to cultivate this practice as a “letter to God” on one side of the paper and “God’s answer to you written on the back”.

I structured my New Year’s Day with things that meant the most. A leisurely morning enjoying the sun streaming in the window to my plants. Picking off dead leaves or flowers and everyone getting a fresh drink and bath. A delicious and nutritious breakfast followed by a dog walk in nature. Other components of the day included some deep cleaning, a little productive work (mainly goal setting) and a meal and meaningful conversations with friends usually consisting of a seafood strudel and a baked dessert. A few shots of tequila and a good playlist rounded out a glorious day. This ritual I felt (as opposed to “resolutions” ) set the tone for the upcoming year in a positive way.

What has your year been like? Do you practice any New Year’s rituals? Share your thoughts and comments.

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