It’s that time of year… we’ve all heard it; even more so when it is indeed, this time of year. Beginning every November, “tis the season” for gratitude, generosity, a desire for peace on Earth and that things are merry and bright. These are undoubtedly lovely sentiments but each and every year it becomes even more clear to me that saving up all the well-wishes for the end of the year is not only artificial, but stress-inducing.
What if… our reality and the calendar don’t jive?
What if we’re feeling down for some reason at “the most wonderful time of the year.” We put ourselves through a wringer of despair and blame, that’s what. We wonder what kind of a jerk would have the audacity to have an emotional, health or financial Issue in his or her life at a time when, seemingly, the rest of the world is celebrating and spending wildly, all the while feeling cheery and hopeful?
What if family, rather than being a haven of security and unconditional love, represents a tangle of conflicted feelings, sorrow, shame, regret and anger. Those pining to be home for the holidays with their family don’t seem to appreciate that your memories of home and hearth aren’t as rosy as theirs. In your reality, being with family, the people who are supposed to bring you comfort and connection, instead, remind you of bleak and confusing times.
What if you don’t celebrate any of the many holidays that have been dumped into the end of the year “Happy Holidays” bucket. Rather than bringing you a sense of connection to your fellow humans, seeing everyone celebrating “something” underscores the fact that you are celebrating nothing – and a sense of isolation meets you at the end of the year.
It’s incongruent scenarios like these that have over the years affected me personally at this supposedly “magical” time of year that make me think ponder the legitimacy of this social construct. Some of the darkest days in my life have been between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. No matter how hard I tried to “get with the program,” I did not experience a sense of holiday joy. What made it worse was the sense that everyone else had. Why, I’ve come to wonder, do we make these pre-designed emotional boxes that dictate to us how to feel, what to feel and when to feel it?
I’m all for the “spirit of the holidays.” Consider me a big fan of the whole generosity, peace and warm wishes toward others thing. I just don’t understand why those feelings are delegated to one time of the year – and then made to seem mandatory. A holiday commercial this year mentioned that this was the “season of love.” Why can’t they all be seasons of love? (I’m just such a hippy…)
It seems to me that depending upon the calendar to dictate our priorities can sabotage our sense of peace and life satisfaction. Instead of giving the power to that arbitrary, monthly separation of a year, let’s celebrate the power WE have every day, any day, to embrace our innate ability to create the reality we want.
We’ve got the power!
While the holidays are still fresh in our minds, I think this observation is particularly apt. It’s in regard to the holiday “miracle” of spirit and action that supposedly happens every year. I’m struck by the fact that this so-called miracle is really the product of everyone having the same objective and, wait for it…working diligently, tirelessly, rampantly together toward that goal. We collectively create the miracle – a beautiful world of good deeds and dreams fulfilled – yet the very people responsible for it attribute it to something other than ourselves; a gift from on high, if you will. Why, I wonder, do we shirk taking responsibility for personally creating the very miracle we desire? I would go farther, to say that if we could embrace our personal power to pull off a miracle every December, why not in August – and dare I say, all year long?
So let’s break free of the calendar!
Have we become emotionally lazy by, rather than digging deep for our own inspiration, relying on external influences to supply it? I sincerely hope we are able to get in touch with our own, authentic emotions. Perhaps it’s a matter of blind conformity? While it’s not always easy to chart your own course, I hope that we can find the inner bravery to act in ways that are true to ourselves, regardless of what others do.
My deepest sense is that we suffer from a lack of realization that we have more control over the state of our lives and inner contentment than we are willing to recognize. I propose that we try to see ourselves in our own context, apart from that page of dates that tries to dictate how motivated, hopeful, relaxed, grateful or exuberant we are.
Maybe today you feel energized and present. Great, go with that, whether it’s the new year, when you’re expected to be gung-ho for making those resolutions come to life, or it’s October when the calendar says we should be already reaping what we’ve sown earlier in the year. You’re neither early nor late. You are where you are and that’s all that matters. Perhaps it’s June and, instead of having “fun in the sun” on your mind, you’re deeply entrenched in an emotional or health-related downturn. Kick the “I should…” out of your life – it’s no friend to you. We don’t need the seasons making us feel out of sync with what we think the rest of the world is concurrently experiencing. It’s artificial, random and it puts us to a test we’re bound to ultimately fail.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t heed the rhythm of nature, as the natural creatures that we are. The frigid, dark days of winter certainly make me (at least some days) dream of hibernating rather than creating. Just recognize that the calendar does not get to choose what, when or how you feel – or how you feel about how you feel. That, my dear, is completely and utterly up to the only one whose opinion counts: YOU.