Re-imagining the Festive Season with Pia Jane Bijkerk

Image by Pia Jane Bijkerk

Image by Pia Jane Bijkerk

With the festive season around the corner, I always find myself longing for this time of year to be different. I feel like I’m limping across the finish line - battered and bruised and utterly exhausted - rather than intentionally reflecting on the end of another year.

Do you feel this way too? I suspect you do.

When you add to this feeling the overwhelm of moving about a society that is screaming to ‘buy buy buy’ and ‘do do do’, the holiday season is not considered to be a nourishing time of year.

But what if it could be? What if we could approach it a little differently?

Today’s conversation is a soulful invitation that offers you that, bringing our delightful guest Pia Jane Bijkerk back onto the show.

Pia is an artist, an author and a visual storyteller, who believes that intuition and creativity play important roles in enhancing our daily life. If you missed Pia’s earlier episode I thoroughly recommend it - where Pia shares her thoughts on exploring everyday alchemy and connecting with your heart space. I’ve had feedback from listeners of All Being Well that this conversation lead them to weep with joy and yearning as they realised how much they’d neglected these beautiful elements of our wellbeing, and I’ve listened to it again and again myself.

 
Image by Olga Bennett

Image by Olga Bennett

 

Several years ago Pia wrote an e-book, that explored reimagining the festive season, and I adored the opportunity to slow down and live this season differently. I didn’t realise that I’d been craving this very thing until I read Pia’s book and held its message in my heart, and it supported me on a journey of living the holiday season differently.

Clearly this message struck a chord with others too, and this year Pia launched it as a physical book called The Festive Season Reimagined. I wish that everybody could read this and allow themselves to be swept away by its magic - real magic - that explores nature and the stars and connecting with the earth and each other, and how we can let this carry us through the season.

In our conversation we speak about our own upbringings and how they inform our current, evolving views of this time of year, and Pia’s thoughts and ideas for being reflective this time of year.

With the early days of December behind us, there is plenty of time left to be intentional this month, and to reconnect with ourselves to inspire renewal.

 
Image by Pia Jane Bijkerk

Image by Pia Jane Bijkerk

Image by Pia Jane Bijkerk

Image by Pia Jane Bijkerk

 

In our conversation, Pia shares several creative examples from the book for journalling and exercises for renewal, however she’s shared an excerpt that’s featured in her online journal that can be found in its entirety here.

How to be reflective at such a busy time of year:

“So how can we reflect at such a busy time, without adding to the busy-ness?

In the book I share a number of beautifully creative ways to open to reflection, and this week I had another wonderful idea that came to mind and which I've implemented in our home, and I want to share it with you today.

It started with the simple act of writing a list of events that have happened over the course of the year. I usually do this in my journal, but this time I wrote the list on our chalkboard so we could all read it. And as I looked at the list, I realised there was much more to add - not just events, but new skills that we've each developed this year, and life lessons...

So I thought what would be great is to have a big sheet of paper that we can all write on over the month of December, to create a kind of map of what we've each encountered over the year as individuals and also as a family. Each of us can add to it whenever we think of something that was significant to us, and for Laly she can also add to it with drawings. At a glance, when we are sitting on the couch or going about our daily activities at home, we can reflect on the year's events, giving the space needed to let these moments be honoured and valued...

And it's not just about the 'good' stuff, or the happy/pretty stuff. Because there are life lessons and goodness (=value), in all. So for us, I've included the pneumonia I had in January, which was a huge deal for us, me being in bed for weeks on end, bringing up so much again about not having any extended family help at challenging times, but showing our resilience and connectedness as a couple; Laly having her tonsils and adenoids out, another huge event for us, after years of health issues and trying almost every single alternative method on the planet to reduce the size of her tonsils without operating. In the end it's exactly what she needed, it couldn't be avoided and again, as a family just the three of us, we did it, she recovered and is thriving.

 
PiaJane Bijkerk reflections.jpeg
 

And our trip to France and Amsterdam! An adventure we have worked hard to make happen for five years, each year faced with new obstacles. But not this year. This year, it all came together. Laly met her French family for the first time, and I got to spend time with my friends in Amsterdam who I had been longing to connect with and hug again for all those years.

What I realised is that with each event, there come achievements, new skills, and life lessons to also honour. So on the paper, there is room for these too.

Perhaps you'd like to create something similar in your home. The above prompts will help for significant milestones in your journey to come to mind. If something comes to mind but you don't think it's significant, still write it down, as it might be revealed later why that is significant and has come up to the surface from your sub-conscious. And most importantly, not to get stuck on what the paper looks like! Let it be messy, it doesn't have to be a work of art (I'm writing that as a message to myself as well, letting go of the way things look and focussing on how they feel).

I'd love to know how you're going with your reflections, if this is a new-to-you tradition at this time of year that you are introducing, inspired by the Festive Guide, or if you're allowing more of it in.

 
PiaJane Bijkerk reflections v2.jpeg
 

Also to keep in mind, it's not about focussing on what we haven't achieved this year that we thought we would, but what we have achieved. Because there is value in all of it, even if we can't yet feel it's value, it's there, and taking the time to reflect will deliver that valuable gift to you and open you to the new opportunities that await you in the new year.

Happy reflection time, mes amis.”

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Kayla Robertson