“Shut the door not that it lets in the cold but that it lets out the coziness.”
Today’s image: behind the first door of my ‘advent calendar’ is… Another door.
Doors are symbolic of so many things. It’s 1st December: doorway to winter, here in the northern hemisphere. Closing the door on autumn–my favourite season, and squeezing in a few last autumnal photos, below, before the last leaf falls from the last darkening branch. Perhaps, too, the image is apt because we have felt stuck behind our own front doors in the past few months.
Yes, as the Mark Twain quote suggests, the winter brings that cosy in-doors feeling. It’s almost as if Twain were anticipating the popularisation of hygge. The firelight, candles, the sleet at a dark window: I love it all. Cocooning. But I have been away from blogging too long, taken an accidental sabbatical. Lockdown, you see, has over-indulged my natural introversion, body and mind moving in circles of diminishing size.
Nothing wrong, necessarily, with introversion—we introverts are given to quiet reflection, can be perceptive and, let’s face it, gaining energy from quiet aloneness, from a focus on internal feelings, has been a positive benefit of late.
Still, there’s a point at which introversion can become isolation, can be unhealthy.
And good habits can fall away so easily, then be hard to regain. Psychologists describe a ‘habit loop’. First is the ‘cue’ that stimulates the action, creates a desire, for better or worse. Then the ‘routine’, the repeated actions or tasks that create reinforcement. The more you do, it, the more automatic it becomes. Then your reward, something your brain likes, meaning it will, yes, that feeling of reward will become a cue, triggering the process to begin again. Good habits may be broken for many reasons. Not necessarily because you lack desire, but through loss of energy, perhaps, or through distraction.
All things considered, it’s time to step back through the door.
Will Blogmas help me to create the schedule I need to help the routine stick once more? We’ll see.
Whether representing welcome, invitation, opportunity protection, privacy, or imprisonment, endings or new beginnings, the door provides us with a symbol of endless possibility.
By the way, why do advent calendars, at least in the European tradition, feature doors? Perhaps, they say, because of the 19th century tradition in Germany of making chalk marks on doors count off the days leading to Christmas.