January 2023

Spirit Garden Reflections

Changing Light

May the blessing of light be on you-
light without and light within.

-Irish Blessing

Welcome to the Reflection for January!

On the Christian calendar, as of January 6th, we entered into the season of Epiphany.  This is a season when the Magi from the East, travel great distances, following a star in the night sky.  The Magi, or wise men, recognize that this star heralds the beginning of a new era, one that is intended to bring an end to oppression and bring in a new way of being that is grounded in love for one another.  The star heralds a new kind of leadership as it guides them to Jesus.

The word, epiphany, is often associated with an ‘aha’ moment; a moment of insight or understanding.  We might think of this as a light-bulb moment. 

Although we know that epiphany means revealing or appearing, and it is often associated with a revelation happening in a burst of insight, the scholar, David Schlafer, offers a fresh way to think of an epiphany.  An epiphany can also happen as a slow revealing, just like the sun rising on the horizon.  It doesn’t happen all at once but gradually and with subtle shifts and changes across the sky.

I love the sense that the light of the Sacred can be at work in our midst in this manner.  A subtle shifting of awareness, an almost imperceptible change, until something is seen in fresh and new ways. 

Scripture will often remind us that we can experience these kinds of dawning realizations where what was once hidden from our sight comes into clearer focus before us and within us.  In the book of Isaiah, he invites the people of Israel to ‘Lift up your eyes and look around you.’  These words are an invitation to keep our eyes open for the light and presence of the Divine Mystery at work in our midst. 

This season of Epiphany, calls us into a time of watchfulness for the shifting of light and for new revelations and understandings to take hold of us.

In our Spirit Garden Moment this month, I will share a poem, called Change the Lighting by Brook McNamara.  I hope that the poem and the invitation of Epiphany help you view your own story with a fresh perspective and loving eyes.


Lift up your eyes and look around.

-Isaiah 60:4

Changing Light

The audio file below offers a reflection on Epiphany and how changing the light can change our perspective.  The reflection is followed by a handout with some questions that are intended to help you journal your own thoughts and experiences around this theme.  Please print these out before you listen to the audio file.

You are invited to create a comfortable space for yourself, perhaps light a candle and wrap a shawl around you as you take about 20 minutes to listen to the reflection and then answer the questions.  May this be a nourishing and replenishing time of some soul tending.

Reflection Questions

Please click on the button below to download the reflection questions that go along with this month’s reflection on the theme of changing the light.

The Poem

You may like to read the poem, Change the Lighting, by Brooke McNamara.  Click the button below to download it.


Spirit Garden Moments

Spirit Garden Moments offer a short pause in your day and an opportunity for reflection.  Below is a Spirit Garden Moment on turning the corner to embrace the New Year.

The River


I would love to live
Like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding.

-John O’Donohue, Conamara Blues

Lepreau water fall
As we turn the corner and begin a new year, we often hear phrases like:  it’s a new beginning, a blank slate, and a fresh start.  As I get older, I find that these phrases no longer resonate with me as the New Year begins.  The images these words conjure up in my mind are too linear, too cut and dried, and too filled with pressure.

The word that arises for me as we begin another year is, continuum.  This word comes with the image of our lives flowing like a river from one event to another.  As 2023 begins, I like to think of the river flowing around a bend as it winds and turns across the landscape that is my life.  As the year changes over, I may leave one scene behind, but I have gained momentum and lessons from the rocks and shores that my river has flowed over in the year that has just passed.

This image of life flowing like a river across the land is not a new one.  There are many songs and poems written about it and there is a reason why this has happened.  It is an image that captures the essence of how our lives are in continuous movement; flowing and changing from moment to moment.

A few weeks ago, I was standing at a look-off point gazing at the waterfalls that tumble and spill over a rocky ledge in the Lepreau River.  The water gushes and dances as it leaps over the edge of the falls.  The sight and sound of the waterfall are refreshing and elicit a sense of vitality, excitement and wonder.  Then, when you turn your head slightly to the left, you take in an entirely different scene.  The riverbed flattens out and the water slows down to the pace of serenity and calm as it meanders along its path.  This scene evokes images of sitting on picnic blankets and quietly skipping stones across the smooth water.

As we begin this New Year, I hope that this image of the river is a helpful one for you.  That it might bring a sense of the evolutionary nature of life as it flows from one day to the next.  May the words of John O’Donohue’s poem above invite you into the journey of your life unfolding like a river.

As we welcome this New Year, may you embrace the continuum that is your life.  May you bring with you what you most need for the journey and allow what no longer serves you to drop like a stone into the riverbed below so it supports the onward flow of your living.

As I was gathering my thoughts together for this Spirit Garden Moment, I received a link to a song called The River by Danni Nicholls.  Of course, it felt like a moment of synchronicity and so I just had to share the song with you as well!  Please click on the button below to listen to the song.

With flowing blessings,

In Closing

During these winter months, may you experiment with viewing the events of your living through the changing light of day and evening.  May these different perspectives help you gain more clarity, insight and strength as you journey through this year.


Kathy by the Ocean

Connect & Share

Please share any comments about this Reflection in the comments below. Make sure to check out what others are posting and encourage each other!