Even though visiting with family is often times wonderful for the soul, there are a million and twelve reasons why after saying hi to everyone we’d like to just run to our bedrooms, close the door, and surface again in time for the meal.
The holiday season is often stressful with little time to breathe and unwind. Its very easy to revert to the child you once were, whose place in the family is defined as something or someone you no longer are. Its also very easy to relive all the hurts and pains that families inflict onto each other, by actions or words. More often than not, we feel incredibly inadequate, like all our imperfections are being transmitted like neon lights for all to see. When you put a group of ten people in a room, most of them feeling this way and they all have their own unique defense mechanisms for dealing, its no wonder the most relaxing part of the holiday is leaving the driveway to go back home. No one wants to admit they feel inadequate, so everyone is trying their best to hide it which creates an incredibly false energy dynamic that only makes people more uptight.
Maybe things would be better if we worked on celebrating the Winter Solstice, as well as our respective religious holidays. I recognize fully that the Winter Solstice was yesterday, but what stops people from writing down the things the things they feel are imperfections in their lives, burning them in a small fire (fireplace works) and then moving on from there. If families did this every year at the beginning of the holidays people would probably feel more free and relaxed and less burdened and stressed out. This would allow for more love and kindness and compassion to resonate through the whole room (and week/weekend/day/day) where the family has gathered.
This year, I’ve been working on embracing who I was, who I am, and defining who I will be in the future. This process is teaching me to embrace my imperfections – noticing them, making room for them, and celebrating them. I am learning to make that loud, abrasive and abusive voice of judgment in my head into nothing more than a whisper that I can drown out with music or compassionate language with a loved one. I am most importantly embracing who I was, and bringing her into who I am, so that in the future I will be someone I can love looking at in the mirror. And this year, I believe I might just be a lot less stressed out than Christmas’ past.
Here’s a wonderful poem by Danna Faulds that might help you get through the stress of the holidays – sit back, enjoy your hot cocoa, and the warm, loving hug of your sister or brother; find the love in the room (I promise, its there), and wrap yourself in it.
Walk Slowly ~Danna Faulds
It only takes a reminder to breathe,
a moment to be still, and just like that,
something in me settles, softens,
makes space for imperfection.
The harsh voice of judgment drops to a whisper
and I remember again that life isn’t a relay race; that we will all cross the finish line;
that waking up to life is what we were born for.
As many times as I forget,
catch myself charging forward without even knowing where I’m going,
that many times I can make the choice to stop,
to breathe, and be, and walk slowly into the mystery.
And with that, I wish you all a Happy, Healthful Holiday Season.