A year ago, no one could have anticipated what this December would look like. Added to an uncontrolled pandemic are political unrest, racial injustice, and personal problems. This could easily turn us into Ebenezer Scrooge, the grand pooh-bah of holiday disparagers.
Many of us are experiencing the kind of loss and uncertainty that leaves us feeling vulnerable and fearful. Let’s acknowledge our fear but not act on it, or we will create what we dread most: making it a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, let’s embrace our vulnerability with courage and love, so we can open up to life in spite of painful experiences. When life is the scariest, we need to choose love because love, too, is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Because of COVID, our activities are curtailed and our usual way of doing things has changed. It may seem like December is full of nothing but restrictive NOs. But there is a different way to look at this. Eckhart Tolle writes, “There’s a huge amount of suffering that is generated not by the actual challenges in life but by the fictitious problems the mind generates.” This doesn’t minimize problems, but it does offer a chance to refocus from no to yes.
We can say yes to creating new traditions and let celebrations naturally evolve to reflect what can be safely enjoyed right now. Families can plan together and incorporate more gift making instead of buying. This is an excellent time for games, out-loud reading, group storytelling, cooking, baking, memory sharing, and Christmas movie nights. Sharing stories of the past that show struggle and resilience say yes to hope. This is the year to say yes to slowing down and enjoying doing one thing at a time, which will keep us from feeling depleted. And saying yes to staying in budget which keeps our finances healthy.
Let’s say yes to good self-care by getting the sleep we need, drinking plenty of water, and taking time to walk in the sunshine. Afternoon naps are a favorite yes for me. When we honor our time and energy, we are saying another yes. A wellness routine means we periodically stop during the day to mentally scan our bodies for areas of stress, while taking deep, cleansing breaths. This says yes to mindfulness and balance. Let’s also say yes to healthy foods that will keep our immune systems strong. Honoring ourselves boosts our serotonin and increases our enjoyment of life.
Finding humor wherever we can deserves a big yes, as well as making time for play and relaxation. Let’s enjoy our favorite Christmas music and break into dancing whenever the spirit moves. This is also the perfect time to take advantage of what we already have. After all, our happiness comes from wanting what we have, not having what we want. Let’s also remember to say yes to staying in the moment, which is where we’ll find our peace.
Another important yes is having conversations with people we love, and FaceTime and Zoom make this possible. Let’s be sure to say yes to kindness and hope because opportunities to spread both are all around us. They can be given without close, personal contact, and they fill us up as well, so everyone benefits.
The following is a poem by Rachel Maire Martin that asks us to believe in the good that surrounds us:
Don’t give up on this year.
Keep fighting for the good.
Keep showing up.
Keep giving back.
Keep being brave.
Keep trying new things.
Keep showing grace.
This world needs you to believe in the good.
We’re all capable of adapting to difficult circumstances with courage and resilience. The Christmas of 2020 is going to be remembered, but we can decide how it will be remembered. With values of kindness, love, gratitude, hope, and giving, we can create a holiday full of the most meaningful kinds of yes. Remember: It was the power of gratitude that rescued Scrooge. Let’s create memories that illustrate that hardship can be followed by hope, and loss can be the beginning of renewal. We can say yes to staying in the present moment and discover that peace, gratitude, and joy are closer than we think.
Until Next Time – Sylvia