IT’S THE MOST PECULIAR TIME OF THE YEAR
Here we are smack dab in the middle of that Judea – Christian Happy Hour called The Holidays. Christmas, Hanukkah, whatever you may or may not celebrate, most of the people around you are either successfully or anemically attempting to bury themselves in good cheer, consumption of goods and group revelry.
The more pious look inwards to what the holiday is truly supposed to mean, but for the most part it’s tinsel, twinkly lights, excessive eating and drinking and discounted flat screen TV’s that rule the days.
It’s also for many a time of endings, it’s the end of the year, it’s often the end of projects, sometimes relationships, it’s actually one of the peak times for suicide. So Santa coming to town does not assuage and eliminate a lot of existential pain; In fact, for many it only heightens it.
Nothing is more isolating than when you are supposed to feel close and cozy and in loving harmonic sync with the world and you feel alone, neglected, depressed, and disengaged. It’s like being the one person at the dance who is sitting on the sidelines, with a sprained ankle. Why is everyone having fun but me? What’s it all a f…g bout Alfie???
I can tell this is the true for sevearal reasons. A) There is a corner of my own life where this exists. I’m usually able to extinguish the flame but it takes arduous attention B) I have seen such an uptick in people signing on to the website and Facebook page since the holidays started.
I can hear the silent pleas, help me get through these times when I’m supposed to be full of happiness, but I’m full of fear and sadness. Please give me some tools so the old patterns I hear pounding on the door don’t break it down and carry me away. I’ve worked so hard this year to get myself in order. I’ve slipped up a little, we all do, but now I feel like I might just crumble and give way to all my worst impulses. Anything to null the pain. That Egg Nog is looking way too good.
Gosh. Gosh. Gosh. I wish I had an easy fix. I wish I could say the fix it lady had a bunch of answers or band aids in her bag of tricks she could pass out and patch up all our boo boos until January 2nd. I wish I really was the fix it lady.
But I don’t and I’m not. I haven’t been having the easiest time of it myself this last month. Things ending and changing. I’m facing my own uncertain future in several areas. I have been reciting “I don’t know how to do this but something inside me does” more than usual.
We all know life is not easy. And that’s OK. It’s the way it is. It’s just not as easy to accept the not so OK when we are supposed to be full of good cheer and we are constantly being reminded to be.
So, we just have to work a little harder. We have to dig deeper. We have to find more silent time. We have to give back more and devote more time, energy and resources to love and service and gratitude and trust. We also sometimes have to just accept life for what it is, imperfect in the season of HOHOHO.
We have to look back on the last year and highlight the good. What did we set out to do that we in fact did do? What might not have worked out and why? How can we make it work better in the year ahead?
Set some goals, yes, living the present is important, but you know looking to the future can often skyrocket us out of a sad present. We can plan for the year ahead. What do we want to do? What changes do we want to make? What do we have to look forward to? How is this year going to be different than last?
And for those estranged from families or without families or those with families who make it all worse, maybe spend the bulk of the holiday doing some service. Read the chapter on getting through the holidays in the book.
Something might need to change and it might be you. You might need to change the way you look at the whole thing. You might need to alter your expectations of others and yourself.
If you can afford to get away – do. A new place, different culture, exotic environment catapults you out of your present state.
I always travel on Christmas – far away, often to countries where Christianity is not in the driving force.
But if you can’t, treat yourself, a nice meal out. That show or concert you’ve been wanting to see, splurge and go see it. Maybe binge on a TV show. Take time for you. Weed your interior garden. Clean your closet!
And know, it’s not just you. For many, this is the most peculiar time of the year and you’ve just got to get yourself through it.
A new year lies ahead, a clean slate full of opportunity and new beginnings. Now isn’t that something to be happy about?