Covid Christmas Present
Magic is in the cold, crisp, winter breeze
Sparkling lights illuminate the night sky
Even as daylight recedes
The darkness is filled with beauty
The trees stand adorned with white lace
Rooftops are tucked in under white blankets
We eagerly retreat to our cozy hearths
As the north wind's chilly breath reaches our bones
The air is charged with anticipation
For what is to come
Celebrations, presents, presence
An end to the year
A new beginning
Coming full circle
A feeling of completion
Of being at home
Of being replenished
At the start of each December, I find myself somehow surprised that another year is speeding to a close. Suddenly Christmas is only a few weeks away and the new year is awaiting just beyond the next corner. Usually I don't have time to reflect on the passing of the year until January because December is filled with parties and concerts and meeting with friends and family. This year that is not the case. This Christmas season is like none we have ever experienced before. It might be one of the first Christmases we are not allowed to spend with our closest family and friends. It is the unfortunate, but fitting ending to a year of so many unexpected changes.
And in spite of the restrictions placed on the way we are used to celebrating the Christmas season, I find myself still drawn into the magical energy of the season. I still have a feeling of excitement and anticipation. Even though I am missing many of the traditions and events that I look forward to each year, the feeling of Christmas is in me. I am longing to make this Christmas special in spite of the challenges posed by Covid. And probably, like many of you, I am tired of trying to find the silver lining in these challenges. I wish I could do what I normally do to make Christmas feel fun and festive for me and my family. So with no other alternative than to be happy or miserable about the uncontrollable nature of a Covid Christmas, I am choosing to be happy. After a year of learning to accept "what is", I am abundantly aware that even when I can't control the circumstances of my life, I can control how I think and feel about them. I get to choose how I want to feel about Christmas this year. It is always my choice. It is always my choice how I choose to feel about anything in my life. (If you don't want to take my word on this, just refer to Viktor Frankl and his book, Man's Search for Meaning). Our feelings are our choice.
So with that in mind, my question for my last monthly post is, "How do you choose to feel about the holidays and the upcoming new year?" And when you answer that question for yourself, the second question is, "What are you going to do now that you've made that choice?"
So for myself, I am choosing to feel joyful about the holidays and the new year. I am choosing joy because that is my favourite emotion. So why not pick the emotion I like best. And now that I've made that choice, I am going to look for creative ways to bring joy to everyone I know, (including myself), over the holiday season. So if we can't get together with the family on Christmas Eve to do our annual holiday talent show, maybe we could do it over Zoom. Or maybe we could play a virtual game together. I am going to enjoy not feeling so busy. I am going to relish the fact that I don't have to plan a big Christmas dinner. Being more relaxed will support my desire to feel joy. I am going to take a page from our family cat Solar's book on how to enjoy Christmas. Just "be". His greatest joy is "being" the present under the Christmas tree. His presence is his present.
That is how I am choosing to be. I will be present to whatever shows up for me over the holidays. I am choosing to let go of any expectations of the conditions that need to be in place for me to feel joy. I am going to "be joyful" as my starting place. I am going to be like a scientist and test my hypothesis that if I choose to be joyful, everything will fall into place from there. It won't matter if we don't have our regular Christmas Eve family party or the big Christmas dinner all together. It won't matter if I missed out on seeing friends at holiday parties. My joy is not coming from things outside of myself. It is coming from within me. And all I need to do to access it, is to "be present." (It sounds too easy.) Whether it will be difficult or easy is also my choice, so I choose... you guessed it...EASY. So by that logic, it will be easy for me to be joyful this holiday season. I am going to lock that in by being on the hunt for things that make me feel joyful that I am able to do anytime. Things like appreciating the beauty of Christmas lights and decorations, watching my favourite Christmas shows (preferably while eating popcorn), singing Christmas Carols, enjoying favourite holiday meals and treats, going skating, going skiing, going for walks or runs, reading a book by the fire, doing puzzles. Maybe instead of focussing on missing being with my extended family in person, I will plan make photo albums for everyone from previous family gatherings. The possibilities are endless.
What about you? "How do you choose to feel about the holidays and the upcoming new year?" And when you answer that question for yourself, you can also ask "What are you going to do now that you've made that choice?" Type your choice in the comments or in our Weekly ONE Thing Facebook Group. You could even say something you will do to support your choice or ask others to give you ideas. My Christmas wish for you is that you get to genuinely feel whatever it is your are longing to feel over the holiday season.
I will post my final blog post for the year on January 1st and report on how my experiment of choosing my emotional state for the holidays goes. And I will also review my experiences and learnings from the past year. I invite you to do the same. Even though it has been a challenging year, there have been so many gifts and so much learning in it. Thank you for joining me in the journey of My Amazing-Year Plan (MAP). It has been an amazing year and I am choosing to spend this final month of it focussing on JOY. I'm looking forward to hearing about your experiences of this month and this year! Sending you love for this holiday season and the upcoming new year! xoxo