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Hello readers, and happy Holidays. Or are they?
Try as I might to keep my head above water and remember what’s coming, every year I get a little down at this season. It starts at Thanksgiving (my absolute LEAST favorite holiday), and continues until after New Year’s Day and the Christmas lights are down and the last sad, withered tree is dragged to the curb.
I know I’m not the only one who feels a bit blue during the holidays, but I decided this year to really think about why it is so many of us get this way. And in doing so, hopefully, be less judgmental with myself for not being the life of the party.
My own malaise is multi-layered, there’s a lot of loss tied to my holidays. I suffered a miscarriage half way through a pregnancy with twins on December 17, 2002. I remember coming home from the hospital stay and it being cold, dark, and drizzly and looking at the Christmas lights on the houses and thinking, spitefully, about all the kids in all those houses. Even though I now have 2 wonderfully challenging and perfectly healthy kids, there is a twinge of sadness under the delight of the lights. That loss lives on in my cells, and every year it creeps back in to my awareness and takes up residence. Its presence is quiet, but still noticeable. It isn’t until I give it a nod and some attention that I’m able to find some joy and excitement about the season. And without my noticing, the loss quietly returns to my cells to be dormant for another year.
For many of us, holidays remind us of what’s no longer here. For others, they remind us of what we haven’t achieved-the perfect (fill in the blank: partner, family, job, house, body, etc). I think there is such pressure to be happy and joyous and together and celebratory during the holidays, that if we feel anything other than that, we’re being a Grinch or a Scrooge. We get down on ourselves: “what is wrong with me? I used to love Christmas/Hannukah!” Others might get annoyed with us too. And if you’re anything like me, lord help you if you let other people down!
So, are we being a mean ol’ Grinch or Scrooge? Maybe we’re just being human. Perhaps we’re just sensitive beings, feeling our pain and just trying to take care of ourselves by withdrawing a little from the festivities. I want to offer anyone out there who is a little “bah-humbug” a high five. I’m with you. I support anyone who says, “I don’t want to get dressed up and go to a mind numbing holiday party to make small talk. I’m kinda sad and I’d rather stay home and watch Elf in my jammies. So take a hike, you cotton-headed ninny muggins!”
And also, I want to offer you this: This feeling will pass. Please indulge your sadness to the point at which you honor yourself without staying in it, or making the mistake of thinking that this is how your life is now. Just as this season will give way to spring, and the tiny leaf buds will appear on the now bare branches, so this feeling will give way to a new one. Remember that feelings are just energy, and energy shifts and flows all the time. Just as you have the power to say “today I retreat”, you also have the power to say “tomorrow I will rise”. I will even suggest that if you honor your blueness, it will subside more quickly and before you know it you’ll be eating piles of latkes, or kissing under mistletoe, or raising a glass and giggling the night away. Or maybe not…and that’s ok too. One can never watch too much Elf in their jammies!
So, to everyone reading: I wish you a very happy holiday season, full of joy and love. And also a holiday season that is quiet, blue, and introspective. Mostly I wish you peace, in your mind and in your heart.
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