The 52nd Week


Izzie and Bear
Izzie and Bear

I love the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. For me it stands out from the other 51 weeks in a year like a peaceful Zen garden amidst chaos, a special oasis where I attend to soul needs that require annual closure.
During the 80’s when I was juggling parenting with college teaching there were years when I’d spend this week assembling and basting together sandwiched layers of fabric backing, cotton batting, and the quilt tops I’d been working on all year. It took another year of hand-quilting everything together before I presented them to my children the next Christmas. After they each had a quilt of their own I used my special week to start more quilts for our new mountain cabin. When these were finished we took them with us for our annual years’-end visit.
On the outside that decade was about perfecting and preserving the collective values of the times in which I was raised. But on the inside I’d been on a dark, underground journey and I was desperate to understand the conflicts that were tormenting my psyche.
In the fall of 1989 I joined a Centerpoint group based on Jungian psychology. A year later I had quit my job to write a book, attended my first Journey Into Wholeness conference, and was recording and studying my dreams. The year of 1990 was a threshold into the most life-changing, soul-satisfying and creative period of my life.
Throughout the nineties I did dreamwork every morning and wrote every afternoon. In the 52nd week of each year I reread my dream journals and summarized important themes and trends, noted new developments, and highlighted valuable insights. The annual practice of remembering and integrating my soul’s processes brought greater awareness to my daily life and provided useful data for my writing. This was my decade of finding, connecting with, and honoring the inner kingdom of the Self.
The new millennium brought new insights and year’s-end rituals. Initially, I employed “animal medicine” to address an unprecedented need to get in touch with my body and nature by fulfilling a lifelong dream to own and train my very own horse. Later, when my grandchildren began arriving, I was given a second chance to develop and indulge my maternal, care-giving instincts. This time around I was far more conscious and joyful. Since then we’ve spent the week between Christmas and New Years’ at the cabin with our children, grandchildren and dogs enjoying, yes, you guessed it, physical, outdoor, non-cerebral fun like sledding, making snow angels, and building snowmen!
Once again it’s my favorite week of the year. We arrived at the cabin last night with Izzie, my new grand-dog who’s a female version of her predecessor, Bear. Some family will arrive tonight, the rest in a few days. This morning Fred and I threw out the outdated food in the pantry and freezer. Now he’s grocery shopping while I’m writing this blog post, an endeavor that has brought me enormous pleasure for almost three years.
It’s still too early into this decade to forecast what its theme or 52nd-week ritual will be. But for today, savoring my life as I’ve been doing these last two hours has satisfied every need of my soul. May the new year bring you renewed awareness and gratitude for the times of your own one, precious life.
In closing, if you have a bit of extra time you might enjoy this radio interview I recently did for the Centerpoint Foundation about my introduction to Jungian psychology.

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0 Responses

    1. Dear intj25,
      What a lovely thing to say. Thank you. If intj stands for your personality type on the Myers-Briggs, that would make perfect sense! I’m an intj too. You and I probably have much in common. Blessings on your journey.

  1. It is a peaceful and enjoyable week, after the flurry of Christmas. My own activities have been very similar to yours. After cleaning out the fridge, I sat for awhile reading my own dream journal from 1998/1999. These “stories” seem so fresh and meaningful, like a gift to myself. Thanks again for reminding us of the rewards of this practice.

    1. How interesting that we did the same sorts of things! Maybe there’s something almost archetypal about the last week of a year in the same way that there is about the last night and first day. Perhaps something in us wants to review and clean out all the old, unnecessary clutter to make room for the fresh and new. I love seeing the hidden symbolism in so much of we do without realizing it. Thanks for writing. Jeanie

  2. Would you please direct me to a good source of dream interpretation for beginners? I would like something that perhaps blends the viewpoints and insights of the different theorists, as it seems that they can be somewhat contradictory in nature. Does such a primer for dream interpretation exist?

    1. My book, Dream Theatres of the Soul is for beginners, but it is from a Jungian standpoint. I know there are others out there from other perspectives, and perhaps even a few that blend several perspectives, but I’m afraid I don’t know of them. Sorry. Wish I could help. Maybe a google search would reveal something. Jeanie

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