Tomorrow is the Winter Solstice, the time of year after which the sun finally begins to rise earlier and set later in the day (thank goodness!). There's also supposed to be a total lunar eclipse really early in the morning (between 1:30am and 5:30am, or thereabouts), but it's clouded-over right now and I doubt it will be cleared by the time it rolls around.
The Samhain ritual in which I participated focused a lot on the "death" of the aspects of ourselves and the situations which we felt were not good influences on our overall well-being. Because, for all practical reasons, the time between Samhain and "whatever time in Spring the weather decides to start clearing up" is spent mostly inside, often under darkness (the path of the Sun again, darn it), it's a very good time to spend in contemplation over personal matters and the path you'd like your life to take in the coming year (get an early start on those New Year's resolutions!). Something that I've noticed this year is that there have been quite a few opportunities for me to come face-to-face with those aspects of myself that I'm not especially happy with. This is stuff that I've known about for a while, but this time around I'm even more conscious of the things I'm doing, like I'm being slapped in the face with them so that there's no way I can ignore it.
I should mention that, after many years of anxiety and depression, this past year has been a very good one for me. I feel comfortable in my skin. I feel comfortable in how I see the world and how I choose to celebrate that. I've gotten to the point where I don't judge myself in comparison to other people constantly. I feel like I've improved my writing somewhat over the past year, and am better at expressing my opinions without thoughtlessly pissing people off (and without caring much about the people who are bound to be pissed off no matter what I say or how I say it). These are big steps for me.
One problem I tend to have is that sometimes I can't get over the fact that not everyone thinks the way that I do. Over the weekend, I was at a party, and someone mentioned that they had watched the first 6 episodes of Mushi-Shi and thought that they were really boring. I tried to explain the show a bit by calling it "meditative," and before I could go further her replied to me that he didn't want to meditate and that the show was putting him to sleep. Cue an almost instant bubbling up of rage inside me (which, to my own credit, I didn't unleash on the room). I tend to respond very poorly to comments like "this is boring" or "this is depressing," because I find them dismissive, punishing art for being artful and not simply cheap entertainment like everything else. This is one of my biggest faults, I'll admit; I can enjoy some things that aren't deep and intricate, but when someone accuses one of my favorites of being uninteresting or, heaven forbid, shallow (yes, this happened during a convo about Mononoke a few years ago and it's been a sore spot since then) I start to seriously question the other person's intelligence, in spite of whatever opinion I may have had about them beforehand.
Anyway, this has happened a few times recently, and despite being relatively confident in myself most of the time, I've found myself time and time again sinking into this anger trap that ends up putting me in a bad mood and at the same time causing me to dwell on things that continue to make me feel bad. Of course, I also believe the first step towards fixing a problem is acknowledging its existence, so in writing this out I'm hoping to be able to focus my attention on, simply put, not being an ass all the time. Or at least not taking it so much to heart when people say things that don't jive with what I think. Perhaps in doing so, I might help to build some reciprocal respect.
Tomorrow I don't have anything huge planned, other than to light some incense in celebration and try to keep in mind the things that I've been thinking on the past few months. Looking forward to the brighter days to come!