Hi. I'm Alice and I have a proclivity toward melancholy.

And as the days grow short and the cold settles in, I almost revel in this proclivity. I spend more time in my flannel pj's, candles lit, soft music playing, cozy socks on my feet and deep books about waiting and suffering and well, melancholy, are read and re-read.

I have learned not to fight this proclivity.

I certainly don't let it run roughshod over me. I don't let it take over my life. I refuse to allow it to run the show.

But I have learned to welcome it as an old friend.

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines melancholy as:

"a feeling of pensive sadness, typically with no obvious cause."

That's it.

Melancholy tends to come in waves for me. I don't feel it all the time. In fact, I often feel great joy and lightness.

But melancholy moments arrive, and when they do, they are given an honored place at my table.

When the moments come, I breathe intentionally, smile in recognition, slow my pace, ask myself what I need, and give myself permission to feel what it feels like to feel what I am feeling.

Maybe what's called for is a zesty winter walk around the neighborhood.

Often what I need is a hot bath.

Perhaps a chat with a trusted friend.

Almost always a date with my journal.

My best effort at prayer.

And often, I find a gift or two emerges from the moment of darkness.

But even when nothing comes of it, I let melancholy have her moment.

She and I are friends now. She fits me like a well-worn pair of jeans.

I have a proclivity toward melancholy.

Do you?