Jolly is good. But real is even better.
By Wendi Knox
Let me start by wishing you the happiest of holidays.
And let me continue by saying, if you’re not feeling quite as shiny as the tinsel on a tree, you’re not alone.
‘Tis the season when we expect our lives to be as merry and bright as everyone else’s holiday photos
And we can’t help but feel that
their lives are far more perfect than ours.
With all the pressure to feel fun and festive, it’s hard to accept being stressed or depressed.
This year, I’m having a harder time than usual with all the holiday hoopla.
For one thing, Will and I just got back from a two-week, completely off-the-grid trip to the Yucatan.
Instead of cell phones and email, we answered to the callings of our hearts.
Our to-do lists consisted of staring at the waves and the stars.
Coming back to “reality” would have been tough under any circumstances. But the week before Christmas? (Talk about culture shock.)
That, and I feel so sad and strange thinking we won’t be with our only son for the holidays.
As usual, Landon seems to be zigging while all the other kids we know are zagging.
Instead of going to college, he’s taking a “gap year” working and playing in Bozeman, Montana. And the working part includes Christmas.
So, Will and I are feeling the full impact of an empty nest.
We were planning to make our usual family pilgrimage to the Bay Area. But to be honest, we just can’t get ourselves to do it.
As much as we love our siblings, nieces, nephews and cousins we just don’t have it in us to “put on a happy face.”
Of course, Edna, my Inner Critic has chastised me for being “petty and self-centered.” (But thankfully, I no longer listen to The Bitch.)
After all we’ve gone through the last couple of years, we’ve learned that unless you take care of yourself, you don’t have anything left to give anyone else. (Yeah, that whole oxygen mask thing.)
But enough about me. What about you?
Here are a few gifts you may want to give yourself this season:
Permission To Be.
It’s hard feeling ho-hum when the world’s all ho-ho-ho.
But the truth is, the sooner we let ourselves feel what we’re feeling, the sooner the sadness, loneliness, worry or whatever, can move through us.
Or as I like to say, “Honoring the ‘oy’ makes room for more joy.”
Speaking Your Truth.
No one wants to be a downer, especially this time of year.
But what if by sharing your truth, you gave someone else permission to share theirs?
So, let’s say you’re at a party, mid-eggnog and someone asks, “How are you?”
Instead of faking it, what if you said something like, “To be honest, I get a little sad this time of the year. But I’m happy to see you.”
You don’t have to go all Grinch on them.
But by opening up a little, you just might have a moment of connection instead of the usual superficial banter. And that makes everyone feel better.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m surrounded by family, I go into hyper people-pleasing mode.
To regain some balance, it helps to take a little time-out.
That might mean reading a book. Or meditating. Or maybe just taking a walk around the block. Anything to get you back to Who You Really Are.
If all else fails, escape to the bathroom. Close the door, put your hand on your heart and breathe.
Breathe in balance. Breathe out stress.
Breathe in peace. Breathe out worry.
Breathe in love. Breathe out fear.
Celebrating What Is.
We have a choice. We can compare our lives with the ideas in our heads. (What we thought things would be.Or should be. Or used to be.)
Or we can choose to find the gift in how things are.
But trust me, it’s not easy to re-train our brains.
Right now, I’m working on letting go of my expectations of celebrating the holidays with my son.
And trying to celebrate what an independent young man he is becoming.
And what an unexpected joy it was when he asked me to go with him to get a tattoo.
(He was pretty surprised when I decided to get one too. See, here it is. )
And how cozy and sweet it will be to hibernate at home with Will and Lucky.
Sharing our true colors.
If you find yourself feeling stuck in the muck this season, remember the dragonfly.
When she’s crawling around the bottom of the pond, she’s actually growing her wings.
And so are we.
Whether we’re sharing the muck or the magic of our lives, I feel so blessed to have you in my flight pattern.
Thank you for giving me the courage to soar.
That’s exactly what I wish for you. (And the freedom to feel whatever it is you feel.)
With love from the bottom of my grateful heart,
Come fly with me:
Here’s to giving our hearts wings,