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Friday, December 17, 2010

Re-focusing from Christmas stress to Christmas Joy

It’s a busy time of year. At our house, December is wrapping up month, not just presents and parcels, but a time to finish up projects and reflect on what the year has been.
Christmas has been socially accepted as a time of joy. People try to smile more, enjoy the company of family and friends more, savour the little things in life, enjoy the feeling of giving, let go of the small stuff, and basically slow their days down to focus on the moments of life.
For most people, Christmas week takes on a different energy, as if all life stops and re-focuses on what’s important. We then enter the new year with some concept of bringing that energy into the everyday, but forget it by January 15th.
There is something lovely about setting an actual time out from life on a global scale. A time where its assumed you’ll be enjoying yourself or at least spending time on the little joys in life that make you feel better.
But then, somewhere we lost focus and decided to introduce stress to the holiday. As if we were so addicted to it in our everyday, that we couldn’t imagine life without it. Unfortunately, I don’t think this affects anyone greater than our children. You know the ones we parents try to make the holidays “magical” for.
Since becoming a parent, there’s been part of me that dreads the winter holidays. When the girls were small I kept them out of any store for the entire month of November, trying to postpone them thinking about it. Now I notice that as of mid Nov. they get more frustrated with things, whine a little bit more and anxious as they scan toy shelves and make requests, they get so worked up about Christmas morning that when it comes its almost a let down and then its over. Meanwhile rather than letting the feeling of joyful moments, appreciation and love flow over me, my thoughts shift to getting what they want, if they like what I got them or whether I’ll pull of baking this year and when.
How screwed up, when you consider how the universe works.
I asked my children about it today. I first asked them what they liked about the holidays and what they felt about it. They both described the Christmas morning scene, and said it was the sense of mystery, the surprise and excitement that they looked forward to. I then asked them if it made any sense that the people generally get stressed out about “creating” that Christmas feeling, but are really anxious, worried, even threatening their children with the lie of “Santa won’t come” as a way to get them out of their hair.
I was so proud of our darlings when they said, that it made no sense, as a happy time can not really be made by being frustrated, upset or mad. You can pretend your way into it, but not really settle into that blissful state of being, called joy.
Law of Attraction out of the mouths of a 7-8 year old.
Most people are horrified when I tell them we didn’t try to convince our children about Santa Claus. We told them straight off, it was all a story. We get told how nice it is for children to believe in magic, but what they forget is one day the child finds out their parents lied, there is no Santa and magic goes out the window along with trust.
Life is magic. Everyday is magic and every day was meant to be enjoyed, savoured and shared. It might be sad that some need a holiday to jumpstart them into it, but so be it, if it works. Its not as sad as the fact we’ve switched that holiday into being about stress and anxiety over a silly thing like toys.
December 21st is Winter Solstice and we’ve made it a tradition to celebrate it with decorating a tree in our woods with family and friends. We make it about magic, about life and about the wonder of a dead, cold winter, producing new life for the spring to come.
Isn’t that magic? That every tree has gone into dormancy but has the life giving force to bloom again? Why make up a man in a red suit who gives what your children want, and stress yourself out in trying to provide it, when we all have that force within and around us to provide whatever we all ever wanted, Simply by focusing on the little joys, the pleasant smells, the sweet faces and the Christmas magic that flows this time of year.

This was a rambling post, but it’s a rambling time of year. I suppose as a conclusion I would say that if you are stressed, if your children are pulling their hair out for Christmas to come, if life is at its max and asking for more, than take a breather. Have some cocoa, stop and smell your Christmas tree, warm your toes by a fire, or have way too many Christmas cookies. Relax, enjoy and savour this time of Magic, and remind yourself that you don’t need to struggle or stress, everything is perfect in its own way, life has a way of working out if you let go, and within you is the life force magic giving power to create new leaves on a tree that seems dead, you just have to trust, relax and take the pleasures in.

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