Thursday, 11 December 2014
"What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every pathy may lead to peace".
Agnes M Pharo
This morning I write this looking at a lovely blanket of snow that (hopefully) puts us in the yuletide spirit. In a rare moment of quiet reflection I think of the importance of self care during a time we tend to get caught up in consumerism, social pressures, or perhaps feelings of loneliness. Christmas begins for us with childhood experiences, memories and traditions - good or bad. I know this time of year I find myself missing my grandparents and the large family get-togethers that used to happen. Yet, it is lovely to have new rituals (well, over 25 years now) with my husband's family. For so many of us Christmas may also be somewhat of a minefield as we try to navigate the many competing demands and expectations, or worse, the toxic repetition of dynamics that have happened year after year. Who is hosting? Who feels left out? Will Uncle Joe be invited this year? Perhaps you have become estranged from or are choosing not to be with your family. It can all get to be a little much and we can lose sight of who we really are, what we really want and what the season truly means to us. What I am proposing here is that you take some time to create a ritual that is for you alone to honor and reflect on the closing of one year and preparing for the next.
This does not have to be a solitary pursuit unless your soul and psyche crave this. It could be attending a Christmas or other seasonal service, going for a walk and taking in the lights at nighttime, offering time at a shelter, watching a favourite Christmas idea, the possibilities are endless. the idea is that this time recharges you, renews your energy and lets you connect to what the season means for you.
I am happy to share my ritual which happens on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. It has been longer or shorter depending on the day and the age my kids are! I make sure to have candles, something bubbly to drink and some simple bath products. Once prepared I play Christmas music, draw a long bath and just soak, listen and take a much necessary break. Last year I also went for a long run and got the benefit of some fresh air and endorphins.
Whatever you decide to do, be well and best wishes of the season.
"There is no ideal Christmas, only the one Christmas you decide to make as a reflection of your values, desires, affection and tradition. " Bill McKibbon