Holidays, Home and the heart!
Monday Feb 01st, 2021
Home, Holidays and the emotions that embody all of the in- between. I know for myself when Christmas is approaching I take comfort in decorating my home, creating a sense of comfort and warmth with lights and garland on the bannister, putting up decorations and mementos that have travelled with our family through the years. This yearly ritual to me is very fulfilling but I must admit that under those emotions there are many other layers of emotions, thoughts and memories, many of which do not bring a sense of that warm comfort, these are the feelings of anxiety, being enough, doing enough, dealing with the loss of loved ones just an overall feeling of being overwhelmed. These are the emotions that often just get misplaced through all of the hustle and bustle but in reality these emotions and feelings are very real, what if we started acknowledging them, finding ways to work through them for us and for the people around us, our loved ones, our acquaintances and yes even perfect strangers. How about we find ways to embrace these not so great emotions and infuse them with new traditions, new ways of loving and just being more open and compassionate because there is one thing I can say for certain the more open and truthful I am with people about my struggles and story, the more healing has taken place for me, the more compassionate and aware I have grown. There is something so profound about being the relationship’s and unions made through vulnerability and truth because let’s face it we all have our “shit” we all have our “baggage” our “stories” and every single person that crosses our paths have a lesson to offer us as we do them. So how can we shift our perceptions, our emotions our traditions and expectations of ourselves and others?
I know for myself as well as many others who may have grown up in families that struggled financially we can tend to over compensate with our own children and want to give them everything we never had, this is a very real issue and one I feel needs to be explored a bit further. While I feel it is important to give our children opportunities to fully enjoy and experience the joys of receiving, having things that we may have never had and being able to fully enjoy the things life has to offer from a monetary realm ie…being in sports, clubs, trips etc, I also feel it of the upmost importance that we don’t blindly overcompensate because of our lack of going without. I love the feeling of seeing my kiddos eyes light up when they open up their gifts, what parent doesn’t!! At the same time I know that they don’t go without all through the year, they have pretty much everything they want and need. So I’ve started over the last few years to try and migrate to a more minimalistic Christmas, this hasn’t been easy as it really almost has to be across the board with family and friends, there is just so much overcompensation and not enough thought being put into what the Christmas spirit is all about. Myself I love the being with family & friends, the food, the Christmas carols, decorating and I love giving and making or finding the perfect gift but let’s be honest how many of us just buy for the sake of having something to give, how many of us receive and never use or re-gift? How many of you are stressed the hell out with all of the pressure of feeling like you have to give and receive gifts in the socialized, commercialized “spirit of Christmas?” I know one tradition that has been going on in our family when we have the big get togethers is secret Santa, this is a perfect idea instead of being overwhelmed with the thought of spending on potentially 20 or more people in the room and probably getting them stuff they have 10 of or no use for everybody agrees on an amount to spend you buy a gift and make a game out of it for your gathering, this way you can put the option in there for “stealing” a gift that you may have your eyes on that someone else has opened, from what I have seen for the most part (besides the few instances of peeps getting mad at you stealing their treasured surprise lol) everyone really gets a kick out of this game, it gets everyone interacting and it doesn’t break the bank, it takes a ton of pressure off. I have also really loved gathering memories for loved one through pictures etc and making them a book, you can do this with Picaboo and many other companies even Walmart does this sort of thing, but to me taking that time and energy is worth its weight in gold when you see them open something that they will always hold near and dear to their heart, a gift that ignites and inspires emotion and love. Another nice idea especially among friends is planning a pot luck gathering just getting back to basics everyone making their favorite dish gathering over a drink and being together, if there are a lot of kiddies in your circle teach them young, get them doing a little secret Santa or crafts they can do together and exchange. It’s not about completely getting rid of the way we do Christmas but it’s about being honest with ourselves about what truly brings joy and what brings anxiety around this season and working around that, making it a more enjoyable connected experience. Try to keep this idea for gifts in mind to keep things a bit simpler:
Leading right into my next topic, the darkness that surrounds people around this time of year! As much as we see on TV, in the media just being out and about this time of year we are bombarded with happy images of family, togetherness, the seeming mirage of endless money for elaborate amazing gifts, for many people this just adds sadness and hopelessness to an existing situation, it is very important to be mindful of this…. Many people have NO family or friends, many people are struggling with the grief of not having their loved ones who have departed with them, so many people trying to keep up to “societies” standards of what Christmas looks like, keeping their children and loved ones happy that they end up buried in a sea of debt come the new year. EVERY SINGLE PERSON IS DEALING WITH A STRUGGLE WE KNOW NOTHING ABOUT!! Let’s be mindful of this, let’s be extra compassionate and patient, around this time of year we have the highest suicide rates, there is a ton of pain that is going on beneath the surface a smile, a kind word or gesture can be more far reaching and healing than we are aware of, it can indeed be life changing. It’s important to teach our children the ways of compassion and concern to donate food and clothing around this time (all the time), its important that we help them find that light that gets ignited when we act with compassion and love, with our hearts and minds open, we can all learn a little something from everyone and every situation that comes into our lives if we are open to it. Sometimes during the Holidays the traditions that we carried out before a loved one has passed may be too painful, it’s a whole new way of living when we lose someone dear to us. Its ok to adopt new traditions and ways of doing things, the greatest healing can come from letting go it makes room for new ways lighting a candle for our loved ones, celebrating the season as if they are still here because at the end of the day they are but just in a different form, toast to them with happiness and the fond memories that will forever be carried in our hearts. Self-care is so critical, listening to your inner dialogue, taking time for you, tweaking and adjusting what no longer serves you and adopting new traditions and ways of being and remember sometimes its ok to not be ok, with this being said it’s important to be open to discussing and working through the stresses that arise around this time of year. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies and sometimes your vulnerability/ openness can inspire others to have an open discussion and release some of the pain and heaviness they have been holding onto as well. So I guess what I am trying to say is instead of getting stressed, closing off not being genuine with what we are truly feeling, why don’t we try and do the opposite, instead of getting frustrated cause the parking spot we wanted got taken and we unleash a verbal tirade or we are just in a really shitty place and feel the need to take it out on the ones we love or perfect strangers, how about this……we step out of our hurts, our pain, our out dated ways of thinking and bring some light into the lives of those around us and realize that we are all collectively going through this crazy thing called life and the greatest gift is truly to be open to giving and receiving love and compassion, this can be the smallest exchange, just a smile, taking those extra couple breaths before saying something you will regret, being less judgemental and more understanding, presence with an open heart & open mind to me that may be one of the greatest presents of all.
To all my family, friends, and clients….I wish you all lots of light, love and abundance in all that you do.xo