Being resilient, maintaining your sanity, and having a great holiday season in this chaos!
First off, Happy Holidays, no really!
Oh Boy, here we go again, and it is 2021, two years of COVID, shootings, wars, divisiveness, economic hardships, shortages, and now the HOLIDAYS!!!
It is enough to make my hair turn grey and fall out… oops too late.
Here it is… you cannot change our insane culture, how your family interacts, the expectations of others, at least not in the short term. The only thing that you can address is you and how you perceive it all. The punch line… that is more than enough!
Like most everything, the way you think about something affects your experience for good or ill. Don’t you just hate it, I know I do, when someone says just change it, just do it, or my personal favorite, just get over it. This article is not that. I promise you, I would never do that to you, unless I do…
Okay, it is work, and you are already overwhelmed, stressed and depressed. Not a great time to do personal work? Or, maybe the very best time?
Start with a quiet place, and a couple of deep breaths… Forgive yourself for being in this state, This is very important, you had nothing to do with what this season has become, you are a victim of a broken culture based on a failing model.
Feel better already? It is not your fault, nothing you can do will affect the external chaos of the season! Take another breath, repeat that it is not your fault, none of it, not a thing.
Own only what is your to own! Now lets see what exactly that is…
When you take away the pressure of manufactured expectations, the perfect tree, the perfect gifts (not what your family, friends, etc. need, want , care about) as promoted 24x7 by media, perfect home, snow on the ground (truly something you can do little about, except for that fake stuff, which is horrible in so many ways), the perfect playlist (as if you have not heard enough canned Christmas music since October), the perfect family experience…
Hold the phone, this is the big one, and such utter bullshit that the creators of this myth (most having worse family experiences than you) need to be dragged through cactus by wild buffalo. We live in a toxic culture, programmed by people running a playbook that has been in place for thousands of years. We have systematically been having our core bonds broken for the sake of wealth generation. In fact, that is what this whole holiday nonsense is about, and it is only going to get worse.
So forgive yourself… Own your experience… Seek the realities that are the base of the season… Embrace them.
Did you know that, before Thanksgiving and Christmas were things, the end of the year was a celebration of the return of the light. It was the Yule, the root of Yuletide, and was the darkest time of the agrarian year. This is the time that everyone was inside, working on projects not done during the busier times of year. Families sat around the hearth, telling stories, singing songs, gathering with nearby neighbors (whom depended on each other, and had each others backs) to share food, and celebrate the turning of the year and the returning light! Does that not sound far less stressful, fun and fulfilling.
I share this because it is the tradition I embraced years ago to maintain my sanity. That said, I am not suggesting that you abandon your beliefs, traditions and favorite things to follow mine. I am just pointing out that stripping it down to the foundation, and eliminating the generated noise and expectations, might create a space for you to embrace your sanity and maybe the joy of the season? If you can do this, change your way of looking at the season, gain some perspective, reprioritize family and relationship over manufactured expectations, you might even find peace and happiness.
If you own it, you might even get your loved ones to join you, and become happier themselves…
If you are alone, embrace the return of the light, go out, do simple things, meet people, find free events, tree lightings, caroling, and turn all the lights on! Make a playlist of music you like, music that empowers you, has meaning, brings the light into you! Find the light inside you and celebrate it.
Keep it simple, celebrate yourself, embrace relationship, light it up, tomorrow can be better, and join the Kitsap Resiliency Project!
If you are not in Kitsap, reach out and we will share the information, start your own Grassroots Resilient Community Movement where you are!!!
Shine on, and Happy Holidays!
Mark Boatwright-Frost Executive Director of Resilient Ecosystems, champion of community resilience. It is all about coming together and finding commonality, build capacity and thrive