Reserved…for Prayer, Intention and January Redefined

Jan 16, 2022

Maybe getting off to a bumpy start of a new year isn’t so bad after all

Hello Dear Ones. Happy January. 

Better late than never! 

I know…I’m screeching in here at the last minute during the final days of January to wish you 2022 blessings, but hey, blessings are blessings no matter when they are received. Bring ‘em on! And coincidentally (or not) my timing aligns with the core message that I want to share with you. 

Of course, I had intended to get this out right at the start of the new year…best laid plans. Then life got in the way, which I’m sure you can relate to. No matter how we set ourselves up during the holidays, we end up paying the price for it in January. We typically overextend ourselves, over-indulge and are “over” it all by the time the new year rolls around and this is precisely the moment we are “supposed” to start all bright and shiny. 

Like you, I find myself jumping on board with the “new year, new you” energy—and then I try to catch myself. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with commitments, resolutions and wanting to do better…provided you aren’t setting yourself up for a fall (hello, first week of January!). How ironic, right? 

So, I don’t know about what’s been going on in your house, but I found myself exhausted.

I think the Universe intervened on my behalf. The temperatures dropped to single digits, people started getting sick, even a pipe at the café burst. All signs were leading to staying home, taking a few days off, recharging. And for me, that includes recharging my spiritual batteries—quieting myself, languishing over hot tea, cuddling up and reading, and of course…praying. I’m sure you have your own delicious go-to’s to refuel. 

For me January isn’t about hustling into newness and change, it’s about reconnecting. 

I want to share a quick story about New Year’s Eve that was the inspiration for this blog. Honestly, after the upside-down year and a half that we’ve had, I didn’t know that to expect. Were people going to come out, stay in, take-out…none of the above? Who knew. I just knew I was showing up and it felt celebratory (like pull out some of my favorite jewelry and a pretty dress kind of celebratory to greet my diners). It felt festive and I was excited to ring in the new year in one of my favorite places. 

On New Year’s Eve, I like to connect with my restaurant community and create a token gift, a gesture of my heart and appreciation. This year I felt inspired to assemble intention bundles, wrapping pine tree clippings with twine, dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks—a token of organic love infused with wishes to be burned (or admired) with intention.

The fragrant pine of the season represents peace, awakening and eternal life. The orange; success, achievement and determination. The cinnamon; abundance, protection and passion. Together they bring good tidings and cover all grounds.

Early that evening I arrived with a large basket laden with pine branches, scissors and supplies ready to go. I sat at my favorite table creating each one excitedly waiting to see who would arrive through the café doors.  

It was such a joy to share these gifts and a few extra moments with my diners that night. But it made me wonder why I (we) didn’t do this more often? Life is to be celebrated…always. We all spend a lot of time rushing through life getting from point A to point B, checking things off our to-do lists. Sitting around the table with the people you love is a sacred event and I think we need to find more ways to connect, to converse, to what makes our spirit smile…because it feels good and truly fills us. 

Life is so much sweeter when we give our presence to ourselves and each other—when we make wishes for ourselves and others—when we sit around a table and share ourselves. 

Imagine creating a bundle from something in your garden or forest, something in season, something organic, something celebratory; a toast, an intention, a prayer, a wish, for your next dinner party. Think of them as intentional party favors.

They may not call me Martha Stewart, but they call me Lea Longprayer for good reason. I’m a lover of all things that bring us back to faith, that center us and connect us. 

We don’t have to save up our good intentions for once or twice a year, making promises that we wholeheartedly desire to keep…but sadly ever do. I’m not saying we should give up on wishes, but why save them for birthday candles and the start of a new year? What about today? Everything starts with this moment, even your January 1 intentions. 

Nothing has been predictable these days in any aspects of our lives. Now more than ever, I have settled into the meaning of going with the flow…and have even begun to learn how to embody it with the help of two key ingredients: surrender & trust. Sprinkle that recipe for life with prayer, presence and intention and you’ll knock it out of the park! 

Most of all, be kind to yourselves as you navigate it all. Presence is also listening to what is coming up for you. Maybe you need a new routine, maybe not. The one thing I know for sure is that we need more kindness with ourselves and others (and our furry and feathered friends). More prayers, less divisiveness. 

Let’s reserve time to be playful, creative, magical, whimsical, spiritual, intentional…or just to nap. 

Happy 2022 blessings dear one. May you step into your healthiest, happiest, most grounded and abundant self. Ditch the pressures of resolutions and follow what feels good, then dish it up and serve it.

—Lea Haas, Owner, The Garden Cafe Woodstock

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