The past few months have been emotionally draining for many of us, and, the holiday season is fast approaching. I, for one, am exhausted. Today feels like the respite between two storms: a bit of reprieve before the wave of holiday rush hits us on Friday.
I do not feel ready to join the frenzy that Christmas has become.
This week has been a time for me to take naps, watch movies, read fiction. I have looked at crafts to make on Pinterest, made collages, colored in coloring books. Sometimes I just sat still and listened to a whole album like I used to do as a teenager, losing myself in the rhythms and notes, the beat reverberating deep down in my bones. My body, mind and spirit needed this downtime.
We live in a world where competition has infiltrated everything. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution humans have been treated as extensions of the automated process to create more, faster. Now, we not only compete with each other, we compete with the very machines that were created to help us, which, sometimes, have proven to be more efficient. We work harder for less – less pay, less stability, fewer benefits: We spend more hours at work to make up the deficit, ever fearful of becoming obsolete.
Added to the demands placed on us from our jobs is the pressure companies lay upon us as consumers, especially this time of year. The constant, repetitive voices say, “You are not enough and everyone notices. But fortunately for you, our product will make you better.”
We are bombarded with buy, buy, BUY!
This year, it is even more important to take this week and engage in a holy pause. Relax. Go for walks. Just. Chill.
Then, with renewed energy and a clear head, decide how you want to approach this time of year.
For my part, I am doing those things that give me the greatest joy. Thanksgiving is a very special time for me to reflect back on the past year and be filled with gratitude for all that has been given to me. Today, I can get out of bed. I can walk by the river and marvel at its beauty, breathing in the fresh air. I can watch the clouds at sunset and try to name all the colors. I can sit here and write to you about what I see and feel and hope. I can celebrate the warmth of the sun and the crisp coldness of the first snows, giggling with my grandchildren as we try to catch snowflakes on our tongues.
Life Is Good
And how will I respond to the day after Thanksgiving? It will be a day to fill the house with color and light and whimsical figures, as if proclaiming to the increasing darkness, “You can not defeat me!” The Christmas village will be set up with all the houses and trees and skating ponds, where I and my grand kids will once again make up stories as the characters make their way down the village streets. We will bake way too many cookies and eat them as we frost them. We will gather in the kitchen with glasses of wine, and make dozens of pierogi’s (Polish dumplings) for Christmas Eve dinner. We bake and we craft, placing our creations under the Christmas tree. There will be store-bought gifts, but not as many, choosing instead to share those things made from the heart and the hand.
It is interesting for me to reflect back on the Christmas seasons from my childhood. I recall few of the physical gifts I received over the years. What I do remember is the roast pork with homemade dumplings and gravy; Pies, pies and more pies of every flavor; the scent of burning fruit-wood from grandma’s fireplace in the crisp December air; the smell of pine on Christmas morning.
As the days grow shorter and darkness seems to prevail, let us remember what truly brings light into our world: Love, fellowship, gratitude, contentment. We are all we need to be right now.
Happy Thanksgiving, and many blessings……