11 December, 2011

mixed bag

as i mentioned in my last post, i am one of those people that loves the holiday season. having said that, the holidays are not always the easiest time of year for everyone. for some, there is a special joy in the air and an eagerness to celebrate; still for others the decorations, songs and sounds and even the smells of christmas fill us with uneasy sense of dread, guilt and conflicted emotions. we were told we were supposed to enjoy and celebrate, yet our memories are void of that experience.

as much as i love the holidays, mine were not always filled with joy and good tidings. some years were sad and lonely, others made tense with family fights or missing members. sometimes while walking around my neighborhood enjoying the lights and bustle of activity, i am hit by a whiff of something that evokes a memory of someone or something i loved and lost. my lightness of heart suddenly crashed by grief, leaving me wounded and tender. these are strong feeling at this time of year.

it's not just about celebrating the holidays, it is also about the completion of a calendar year and reflecting back on this one and the others before this. maybe we worry about what we accomplished (or didn't), maybe we are missing a parent, family member or a friend we lost; maybe our own relationships or marriages are strained by the pressure of the holidays. it is a complicated time and often filled with intense memories and longings for what was or what we thought should be.

many of us are torn between what we want and what is expected. many of us are torn between families and their wants and demands. some of us have fantasies of our ideal holiday only to be let down by the reality of what they actually present.

remembering that these days are just a few in a many that make up our life allows some perspective. we can get through this. remembering what is worth cherishing and letting go of what hurts allows us to shape the holidays we want to have. allow yourself to feel, but not to dwell...take what you like and release what you don't. allow yourself to love...love yourself and others...that is really what this time of year is about. not creating perfection but celebrating what is good and what can be better.

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