EVERY Year of my adult life, without fail, I am ready for Christmas around about December 28th. It always seems to take at least two, maybe 3 days post Christmas, to decompress, truly relax and find my centre again. Which then allows me to feel human, deeply relaxed and ready to embrace people as well as demands and peripatetic schedules again. Until then, to be perfectly honest, I am prone to stress spikes, unrealistic expectations, social phobia, tension tactics and moods to rival the Grinch. The problem with my approach is, clearly, a bit like showing up for a wedding when the happy couple are already launched on their honeymoon and the party is waaaay......over.
I always vow I will do it differently next time. Lower expectations, skillfully ducking guilt and it's sucker punches like a lithe Ninja, choose only customs I appreciate like fine wine, being with people I love; delight in making the perfect meaningful gifts for a special few---phone everyone I want to connect with AND have lots of fun, looking great all the while!
Insert sad stressed face here. I didn't quite pull that fantasy off.
So here I am in the quiet of a northern winter night by myself, a sleeping cat and twinkling lights thinking, 'is it already over? I haven't even decorated yet. Where are those decorations anyway?'
Despite this general holiday craze, I did notice today, the delicious feeling of being at ease, not just having a quiet day, but a quiet MIND. What an amazing gift! My body was relaxed, with much less tension, fewer aches, even a little more energy, but in a mellow way. This virtually, never happens to me. At least lately. This however, I want plenty more of, and need to find a way to create. I LOVE THIS DELICIOUS MELLOW FEELING.
I sketched, I drew, I wrote, I walked in the woods, I splashed through mud puddles, I played with my cat, sang in the shower, LouDLy, (make belief songs at that.) This is a state of mind and ease I could get used to and enjoy. THIS is BLISS. I woke up thinking about dreams and goals for the new year ready to embrace the day. I was clear and focused. Sometimes, it takes these dark, cold, internal feminine days of yin winter to find the depth of reflection and stillness to unwind. (This also brings me to my favourite read of the year award; QUIET: The hidden power of the Introvert, by Susan Cain. )
Here we are at end of year tallies, preparing for clean slates, after reflecting on the days of 2015. Spotless new day books beckon for dates and commitments; the expansive vortex of a whole new year of time before us like a tricky Escher drawing meeting Dr Suess' improbably realities of optical illusion. Improbable yes, but appealing and oddly compelling, always.
The new year brings hope. Promise. A new beginning. Still, not before we bid adieu to the soon to be old one. We are in transition, again. Another year ticks down and winds up simultaneously—we review, reflect, sometimes visiting regret—other times rejoicing in our gratitude, our accomplishments, the unfolding of our messy lives.
Life IS perpetual motion like water through our fingers. We grapple with our existence and its meaning, purpose, delights and suffering. Stretching ourselves, without tearing...is the eternal challenge.
A recent discussion in pension choices and outcomes invariably leads to questions of ''how much time is left on my clock'' and 'how much will I need for the future? what will become of us?"
And, while we do need to attend to the practical application of our material body and it's demands to be warm and fed—how do we also plan for filling our heart and soul with desire, delight, passion and WoNdER? Do we give it equal measure and emphasis in our hectic lives, skimming our pay cheques to save for funding our dreams as diligently as our RSP's? If not now, then when?
Still, here we all are in the residual magic of yuletide treasures. Love is all around, the true message of Christmas. Connecting with friends, reaching out to those you miss. The magic of Christmas lights, mist, the muffled sounds of late snowy nights in the north, now in the stillness of a deep December. Sinking into the moon fever of Solstice, the velvety darkness of a long chocolate night; perhaps hibernating in batman onesie's and turtle slippers. This is the delicious time of yin, ready to curl up and rest from the incessant
“ RAH, RAH!” yang of the rest of the busy year. Being distracted is unavoidable, (we tell ourselves in order to justify) inattentiveness, poor manners, rash decisions, rudeness, and other increasingly omnipresent sins of the 21st Century.
Decompressing from the constant bombardment can take awhile.
Instead, it is finally Dec 28 and I am calm and relaxed and finally ready for Christmas. SO In praise of quiet; yin, softness, patience, imagination, dreams, reflection and solitude,( and a little reinvention), let us sink into the still, silent night of Christmas time; bellies hopefully full and satisfied, hearts in various chaotic states of joy, grace, loneliness and nostalgia. After all, (we are messy creatures, we have even managed to crowd outer space with junk;) but for now, at least for now, let our internal universes know c a l m . Peace. Stillness.
Know acceptance of what is and the courage to sleep deeply and start again in the dim morning light of a Canadian winter day.
May we all be free of fear, pain and suffering for at least one night a year. So, please do forgive me for getting to the party late...
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good Year! This is Bliss, indeed.