The Season of Light: An Invitation to a Poetic Advent

There are some special announcements today at From the Heart, and I’m so excited to share them with you!  The first is that, as some of you may remember, this blog started with a project called Radical Lent: A Poetic Approach to 40 Days in the Wilderness.  I had decided last March that as a Lenten practice, I would read a poem each day and then write about it here.  And I invited some people to read along, and they were gracious enough to say yes, and well, the whole thing sort of took off from there.  So here’s the news I’m excited to share: I’ve decided to do an Advent blog called “The Season of Light: An Invitation to a Poetic Advent.”  This project will follow pretty much the same pattern as the Lenten blog: a poem and a post each day during the Advent Season.  Below are some more details (and a request)! 



Just in case you aren’t sure when the 2010 Advent season starts, and needed your mother to remind you (thanks, Ma’am), it’s this Sunday, November 28.  One of the things that astounded and humbled me during the Lenten blog was that people were writing to me to say that reading the posts was becoming part of their own reflective, and/or meditative, and/or spiritual practice.  This was an amazing thing to hear. 

That’s one of the reasons that I feel (almost) comfortable making this request to you: if you know anyone who may enjoy following along with this Advent project, I would be deeply grateful if you invited them to participate.  The way people can do that is by clicking on the “sign me up” box on the upper right corner of the page.  And remember, signing up is a two-part process; you’ll receive a confirmation email that you have to click on in order to activate your sign-up. 

Okay, enough business.  Onto some of the reasons I decided to do this project.  One is that during the Lenten blog, I noticed that while I am not a whole-heartedly practicing Catholic, writing helped me to pay attention to the season of Lent, and the transformation of the world from death to life, from winter to spring, and that was an extraordinary thing. 

So I was thinking that in this insanely crazy time that is most of our lives between Thanksgiving and Christmas, how lovely would it be to do something that might offer that same ability to pay attention to what is really going on, instead of waking up every day into the endless To Do lists that our lives seem to become at this time of year. 

Yesterday I was standing in line at a store to return something, and of course there were two return people and 800 customers standing in line, and I just kept thinking to myself, “Advent blog, Advent blog,” and it actually calmed me down, and reminded me that I will NOT spend the next four weeks hating everyone around me because I am too stressed and pressured to value them and the grace this season offers. 

this is not me

And, even though my mother tells me to stop writing about depression, the flat-out truth (which we all know) is that this time of the year is when it can hit the hardest.  Writing helps me with that, and I know that reading about other people’s struggles helps too.  So I am being proactive this year, and even if I have to duct-tape my light box to my body 24/7, I’m not falling into the abyss this winter!  (If there are any loyal fans of the show “Northern Exposure” out there, you may remember the episode where Holling starts wearing this light visor to deal with the short Alaskan days, and he sort of goes all manic and insane, and they have to a light-box intervention.  I loved that one).  

And so, there are some selfish and not-so-selfish reasons why I am inviting you to join me on a poetic journey through the Season of Light.  Now, one final announcement (okay, actually two final announcements, but only one is blog-related): 

Since this is going to be a holiday blog, I thought, “Hey, presents!!”  So I am so excited to tell you that there will be three present give-aways at the end of Advent (recipients chosen at random).  They are three of my most favorite books in the world: (1) The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore (the anniversary edition of the original); (2) Ten Poems to Change Your Life by the amazing poet and writer Roger Housden; and (3) The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) everything: A Spirituality For Real Life, a new favorite by James Martin. 

Okay, so that’s the news!  I hope you will be here with me for the next four weeks, and maybe invite some friends to join in too.  As usual, I will end by sharing a poem with you, one that you may perhaps allow to surface in your mind as you watch the full moon in the next few days.  It’s called “With That Moon Language,” by the Sufi poet Hafiz.  

(Note: See below for a Heartland Writing announcement). 

With That Moon Language  

 Admit something: 

Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise someone would call the cops.
Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect.
Why not become the one who lives with a full moon in each eye
that is always saying,
with that sweet moon language,
what every other eye in this world is dying to hear? 

Hafiz, (translated by Daniel Ladinsky)


News from Heartland Writing 

For folks who have been kind enough to inquire, there will two upcoming Heartland Writing events this winter.  One is an 8-week writing group called “Elemental Forces” for mothers (of all ages).  Dates and times will be decided in part on preferences of the participants.

 The second is a day-long workshop on the topic of Creative Action.  This is a workshop for anyone who is trying to find a new way to do something in their lives differently–anything at all–from art, to relationships, to family life, to work–and needs a way to harness the creativity to make change happen. 

Please email me at: if you are interested in either event (this is in no way a committment but it will help me to assess interest).  It will also help me with planning, especially for the mother’s writing group which will have space for only 8 people.  Thank you!

16 thoughts on “The Season of Light: An Invitation to a Poetic Advent

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  1. Once again, you got to the topic [Advent] a little ahead of me–although I did give the young girl I’m mentoring an Advent calendar this past weekend and some *really good* Swiss chocolate, cuz the little chocolates they put inside the windows of American Advent calendars is usually pretty low-rate.
    And this morning, I was lamenting to my neighbor that his Austrian beech tree [pink] had now lost all its leaves and he said, in good Lenten fashion, that we’d just have to wait until it resurrected.
    So where does that leave me [us]?? Looking for some light, and especially some peace, in this darkened season, I guess. I suppose it’s too much to wish for/to seek some truth.


  2. I am so glad you are doing this – my blackberry for some reason had trouble displaying your blog since the summer, and this is the perfect reason to make time to sit down at my computer and reflect. Thank you for sharing your writing like this.


  3. Leslie,

    Can I just tell you how very excited I am! I let out a big Yahoo when I read this. My girls actually asked me what was wrong. I cannot wait for this to start. As with the Lent blog, this too shall become part of my daily ritual – me time, a time to unwind, relax and reflect….

    Thank you!!!


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