December is the time of year when spiritual traditions celebrate hope and light.
It is also a month when many people tangibly feel the loss of hope and light in their life.
Maybe it’s the fragrance of a Christmas pine tree, a familiar holiday song playing on the car radio, a deletion of a name on your gift list - this time of year has a way of pulling our attention to a past memory, arousing emotions that impact our approach to calendar dates that hold significance for us.
What will the season be like for you, this year?
In previous years, navigating December often felt like an obstacle race for me - believing I needed to accommodate the hopes, wants, and demands of others. Maintaining family traditions and sourcing comparably priced gift purchases and contributions to the Christmas feast was the measure of my success as a wife, mother, and sibling.
What changed for me?
I became aware of my thoughts and behaviour approaching another Christmas season and decided to shift my perspective regarding the expectations I was feeling.
For many years I had been pre-determining the 25th and 31st December to be endured - not so, anymore! I’ve now learned to be 'present' with how things are, including my feelings about how things are … therein lies the magic.
‘Being present to the way things are is not the same as accepting things as they are… we start from what is, not what should be…being present without resistance, being present to what is happening, and present to your reactions ..’ (The Art of Possibility, R. & B. Zander).
We can all choose which holiday traditions align with our adult values. Often, what is required is to unlearn childhood conditioning and learn a new way to think, be, and do - sometimes, we need to create new holiday traditions that allow us to do this.
“We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.” Richard Rohr
Everyone’s circumstances for ending 2021 and heralding 2022 will be different. Whatever expectations you carry for yourself, for others - or expectations others have of you - always know; you are the scriptwriter, the narrator, the actor, and the director of your present life story.
Live your life now… it’s yours to live