Regardless of your beliefs and traditions at the end of the year, I think we can all agree that an important reason for them is to make more room for rest, joy, and connection.
Often we are so busy trying to make the holidays feel special that rest falls to the bottom of our to-do list. Joy gets squeezed out by the stress of doing and connection gets lost in hustle and bustle of shoulds.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza (Christmakwanzakkah?), or any other overlooked holiday, I imagine there could be a divide between how you'd like to feel and how you actually show up.
This happens to me more than I'd like, especially during the holidays. I get the warm fuzzies in anticipation of the event, but as it's actually unfolding I struggle to be present because I'm held captive by thoughts and sensations of stress or overwhelm or fatigue-- and here's the zinger-- from pushing to make it feel special.
But, what actually makes the end of the year feel special?
Underneath those special traditions and gatherings and food and presents are a series of little moments intended to slow us down and savor the passage of another year.
Underneath the gift giving, traveling and cooking is a spirit of appreciation for the people, places, experiences, and growth we experienced and a deep need to slow down as we do. So, while material gifts, food and festivities are fun to enjoy, I hope that what you truly savor-- and give-- is the gift of presence.
Rest gives us a chance to reflect and and an opportunity to appreciate our lives more fully while restoring a nervous system that has been stuck in go-mode.
Raring to go on your big goals? Great! Just remember that the act of slowing down to rest opens up new possibilities as you plot your path forward. Feeling stuck? It's okay. Feeling stuck is a cue to pause and redirect ourselves to simple self-care, which is fodder for breakthroughs.
Either way, it's full circle back to the power of giving yourself and your loved ones the gift of presence. That's the true spirit of the season.
And should you need a reminder that you are a conduit for miracles through simple pleasures, enjoy this poem I wrote for you last Christmas... as I reflect on my blog-a-versary and nurse a case of cosmic whiplash from another rapid and wild year around the sun.
(made by one of our 3rd grade CosmicKIDS in Oakland, CA)