Christmas chaos. Hanukkah hustle. Kwanzaa confusion. Whatever your particular end of year commemoration, frenzy has become a generally accepted part of it. This holiday season, in particular, has been one of the busiest I’ve had in some time. The funny thing is I did everything right. I traveled to be with family. I baked and decorated cookies with my daughter. I took her to see every light and decoration in town. I threw a festive holiday party. I read the jolliest of short stories and watched classic Christmas movies. I wrapped gifts all evening to ensure our living room looked magical. I cut down my own friggin’ Christmas tree (and by me, I mean my husband…it still counts). And I did it all with the sounds of Pentatonix playing as my own personal soundtrack. We even woke up to a blustery white Christmas. And yet, even with all of that, the Christmas spirit eluded me. I got glimpses of the magic, but mostly I was exhausted.
I spent the last week of December holed up in an Airbnb sans kid gathering my wits about myself. Besides laying in bed until the early afternoon hours and brushing the occasional potato chip crumb out of the bed, I also did a good deal of thinking. While my holiday efforts may have seemed perfectly in order, I clearly missed the mark and an impending new year has a way of making one resolve to make changes.
In the fall, I posted a beautiful picture my husband took of our historic neighborhood. The photo inspired me because everything in it pointed to preparations for deep and replenishing rest. We were entering a season of inherent respite. The leaves did indeed fall, the squirrels undoubtedly reaped the benefits of burying and then digging up food in our front yard, and the snow brought on a kind of quiet. The juxtaposition of this calm natural environment and the chaotic one to which we were just about to expose ourselves became apparent. I began to think about our recent ancestors and what they may have been doing at this time in the past. Their year, revolving largely around agriculture, would have been over at the harvest. As the days became shorter, temperatures dropped, and there was less demanding work and probably also resources that needed to be conserved, they might have valued things like togetherness, safety, warmth, and light. Well, I must have forgotten my own sentiments because my days – filled with frenzy, as usual – did not mesh well at all with the ones just outside my door.
As the last of the Amazon Prime boxes were delivered to my house, so conveniently and in only 2 days, gift giving seemed to be even less meaningful and the last twinkle of my holiday season morphed into total absurdity. What was I doing? My kid is three and can see the magic in just about everything. Why buy 50 gifts when she’d be just as pleased with that empty jar of peanut butter I just threw away? Why subject my husband to a frazzled wife or my family to a stressed out member? Do cookies even taste good when they’re baked begrudgingly?
I began to wonder, am I listening to the messages all around me? What are the cues from my world? What is my body telling me? What are my deepest inclinations? Am I in need of excitement or rest? Am I working with or against my environment and what is it requesting of me? What can I do to make this day more special? What does my soul need right now? More snuggles, a cup of tea and a woosaa, some candles and tunes, or simply a nap?
My energy is sacred and I allowed it to be zapped. Who knows how far the ripples of that permeate? As I go into 2018, it will be with an insistence upon expanding my own energy, an ultimate form of self-care and of care for others. I hope to hear the truth that blares constantly and from so many sources. I hope to act on those truths with fervor and commitment and without fear. I hope for more purposeful, more beautiful, more love infused days and holidays alike. Most of all, I’d love to see the effects of ripples like that. Happy New Year, everyone!
Love in all things,