One morning in late October, I stopped by the local pharmacy after yoga class. The Halloween candy was already being marked down, the Thanksgiving decorations were on full display, and the Christmas glitterati was clearly itching to take center stage. My “flight” response kicked in big time. All I wanted to do was to go inward, hunker down, and become anonymous – my “go-to” response when something doesn’t feel right to me and over which I have little control.
Maybe it was the yoga, or maybe it was the yoga and the intention to create more inner peace and more outward joy in this stage of the journey. Either way, I decided not to judge, fight, or slink away from what was going on outside of me, stimulating my senses at every turn. Instead, I chose to see all of it as an in-my-face opportunity to challenge my “heart wide open” commitment.
Exchanging friendly banter with the clerk, I put it out there:
“Looks like the holidays are already upon us.”
“Ugh, so much, so fast. Personally, I can’t stand it. It’s not even Halloween yet!”
“I know what you mean. And you know what I’ve decided?”
“That since I can’t change it, I’m going to see it as one big fall to winter embrace. You know, one very different celebration after another and another.”
“Like, ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join em?”
“Well, yeah, but more like, ‘I’m gonna enjoy this. Give it a new meaning.’”
As you brace yourself for the whirlwind ahead, give some thought to how you will react to what you don’t especially relish about the holidays and consider how you will do things based on what feels right and where you are in this season of your journey. That applies to relatively impersonal things – like the retail onslaught, as well as the more personal, practical, and emotional matters that the holidays bring up.
For me, it’s about balancing the traditions I love with the changes that have come to pass. It also means cherishing the most beautiful memories of the “best” holidays, but not getting stuck there. I am here, now, and so how will I create new and different memories? That’s on me.
I know there are some “celebration uncertainties” ahead, but instead of feeling trapped or dreading them, I’m planning to take each as it comes, and then navigate based on these strategies:
- Staying in touch with my feelings and reactions; not denying or dismissing.
- Considering what I do “out of obligation” and perhaps reconsidering and modifying.
- Focusing on the reason behind it all: fun, family, faith, a respite from the everyday, etc.
- Considering how I can make this series of celebrations an opportunity to be and express more of who I really am and what I want in my life right now.
Because in the end, a well-lived life is an authentic one. And inner peace? Priceless. I think I’m ready. We’ll see…