photo by John McCormick
I had my kids for the last week and had so many things planned, so much I thought we would do and had visioned all kinds of things that would happen. Snuggles by the fire, holiday gatherings, gingerbread-house making, etc. I imagined holiday cheer just oozing out of our experience.

Then a huge storm hit Seattle and our power was out. Both of my kids were very sick with different viruses and though not planned, my divorce ended up being final this week. Needless to say, things didn’t go quite as I had planned. We ended up spending a lot of time with some close friends who we had stay with us because their power was out. This time together was extremely challenging for the girls and I and brought a lot of illumination about things that had been nagging at me for some time. This is a fractal of the rest of my life for the past many years. I thought things would go one way and they didn’t. They didn’t because the lessons I am supposed to be learning wouldn’t have happened without the moments of shadow.

The challenges this past week shed a lot of light on my extreme idealism and how much pain that has created for me and others. I have also gained a lot of clarity about my needs and continue to do the work of talking openly about my feelings and setting healthy boundaries for myself.

My friend, Trina, told me “The best laid plans are open hands.”. It’s so true. When I stop wishing things were a certain way, it changes the fabric of my being. I accept what is and there is room for grace.

With open hands (and plans) comes an open heart. As soon as I stop trying to control every little thing (and everyONE!) around me, I see with different eyes. I see people who are doing the best they can, including me. I see new ways of handling challenges, I see how I fit in and see that it’s okay for me to just flow and breathe and BE. I see ways I can ask for help instead of taking it all on myself.

We didn’t make gingerbread houses because they were sold out. We didn’t have as many snuggles by the fire as I wanted, and here on the morning of Christmas Eve, I still don’t have a single present wrapped. We did go sledding, make beautiful gifts for each other, snuggled in bed, read books, played a lot, spent time with the friends in our lives who are willing to be around germs and learned to love even deeper than we knew we could.

I have learned I have no desire to do the little Suzy Homemaker, Martha Stewart things I used to do. I can make a craft or bake a cookie that could grace the cover of a magazine but I would rather be racing down the hill sledding with my kids, taking a long, hot bath or visiting the people I love the most. I no longer spend my time doing things that aren’t ME. What’s the point? A recent “Daily Om” I received had this to say:

This is a new holiday season altogether, and we can find joy in the fact that we can make it our own and let it be new.

One key way to reinvigorate your holiday is to let go of feeling obligated to engage in rituals or situations that make you feel unhappy. It is easy to get lost in the trance of tradition and lose track of who you really are and what serves you as you are now. But there is a wonderful payoff if you take the time to touch base with what you really want and give it to yourself. When you take care of yourself, your capacity to give to others expands exponentially, and so does your innate joyfulness.

Try giving yourself the space and time to consider what will be truly healing for you this year.

Try to make this holiday season about who you are now, not what you were in the past. Enjoy.

Amen! I celebrate this new awareness I have and this chance to recraft my life. It’s not easy letting the old fall away, cutting off the dead wood to make room for new growth. In fact, it’s damned painful. It’s also worth it.

I bless those unexpected moments of grace and welcome them. With each new experience, I learn I have nothing to fear as long as I stay the course of Love. With each death comes a rebirth and a point of opportunity. I am seizing the day and making the most out of every moment that unfolds.

Happy holidays, dear reader(s?). I send you loving light and exquisite moments of illumination now and in the New Year. I send you the courage to face your own shadow, speak your truth and own your power.

I think I’ll go wrap some presents now.

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