Christy Marek, a self-described "student of the Universe and explorer of the soul," contributed this guest post. Christy writes the blog Wonder of All Things, where she shares how she inspires herself to stay present, to invite new experiences and to tap into the joy of living. When I read the following piece on Christy's blog, it sounded like a great complementary approach to what I shared in the recent Joy Messages email; Christy enthusiastically gave me permission to share her words here on the Learn+Explore+Share blog for you.
//If you’ve been a reader of the blog for any amount of time, you may know that every December I wrestle with how the chaotic busyness of this time of year consumes me and threatens to pull me under. That each year, I write about how despite my earnest intentions to enjoy myself and roll with the work and social demands of the holiday season, I relegate myself to grit my teeth and bear it, wishing it away. That each year, I write about how I wish and hope and pray thatthis year is going to be the year it doesn’t happen. And yet it always does.
Oddly enough, until now.
Here it is the middle of the first full week of the month and I’m feeling peaceful. My shopping is mostly complete, the house is decorated, the cards have arrived and are waiting to be written and mailed. Yet I haven’t once rushed. I haven’t written a miles-long list of things to accomplish between now and then. I haven’t lost any sleep over the bakery and the hundreds of gift boxes I will personally hand-pack and ship before the end of next week and the other wackiness that will ensue.
So I’ve been wondering what’s different. What has changed that I have access to now that I didn’t in all of those other years despite my longing for it?
I’ve noted a few things that feel different:
I am no longer desperately pining for some semblance of peace during the holidays. Instead, I’m taking inspired action to move from feeling powerless against the flow of expectation that this time of year tends to impose, to owning that I not only have authority over my choices, but a responsibility to myself to choose mindfully in a way that cares for me wisely.
I acknowledge that I have a limited amount of energy to invest in the things that are important to me and am exercising my power of choice. This has meant saying no to some things that I may have ordinarily said yes to. And means saying a hearty YES to those I have intentionally chosen.
My Sundays are all unscheduled. This isn’t about making sure there is time to frantically catch up on what doesn’t get done during the week. In fact, when T asks me what I want to get done those days, I say nothing and I mean it. This is about creating space for spontaneity. It means rest and relaxation and PLAY are a priority, not an afterthought.
Shopping this year is a cash-only affair. I’m not scrambling for the biggest deal on some external market-driven schedule. I’m not shopping on anyone else’s timetable but my own. There is no credit card hangover to fear come January. I am thoughtfully choosing to purchase what I have money for in the moment, scheduling specific outings to shop and making them FUN for myself (a haircut? a pedicure? a nice chai latte?), and feeling more connected to the gifts I buy by connecting to and enjoying the experience.
Somewhere between all of those past holidays and now, I’ve chosen to do two things:
- Trust the co-creative process that puts my intuitive wisdom at the helm rather than being uncomfortably co-dependent on stress as a driver, and
- Let it go.
As I let go of the outcome — the timing, the money saved, the result — and choose from the heart, I am feeling more grounded in the true meaning of the season — LOVE and PEACE and JOY.
It feels like a momentary grace.
Though I’ve mindfully chosen to honor my heart and its needs this season, I also know I’m not doing it alone. For to honor myself, I can feel the power in honoring the bright light of wisdom in all of us.
What would mindfully moving into your holiday look like and feel like to you? What small choice(s) can you make right now in this moment to feel more connected to the true spirit of the season?
I’d love to hear.
Admittedly, as I shine a light of inquiry on this peace I’m feeling and write about it, I’m feeling little twinges of the old familiar anxiety and panic just below the surface. I’m likening it to a kind of aftershock of the holiday-induced PTSD I experience. A tremor of fear that terrorizes me, threatening that just by exploring the shift in this way, thinking I’ve got it licked, I’m as-good-as guaranteeing it will rear its ugly head once more and take me over.
Ah, fear will do what fear will do. It will try to keep me safe by triggering my fight-or-flight response to this season that has traditionally brought so much angst and overwork, and stress over living up to external and internal expectations and demands.
I’ve been sitting with the idea lately about how growth is cyclical. That as each cycle comes around again — in this case, each holiday season — the wisdom we’ve gained from our travels through the time before can inform our experience this time around, if we let it.
No worries, fear. I’ve got this one covered.
Wishing you a mindful and peaceful holiday season. It is within all of our grasp…I promise.//