And so the season is upon us.
I love the sound of my children filling the advent box with sweets (one for the box, three for the mouth) then working out (bickering) whose turn it is to go first, putting up outside lights, the ritual of dressing the indoor tree with decorations that represent different times, ages and people, I love standing at the final choir concert, my smallest children's arms in mine, listening to my eldest sing harmonies that make my eyes prick with emotion (torrent of tears hidden up sleeve). I love Boxing Day when I can be a slob for my one day of the year. But I wish I could press pause there.
This season is not all Christmas card perfect. For many of us.
One of my children became very seriously ill at Christmas a number of years ago and the memory still has the power to cut deeply.
Last Christmas we had a funeral of a very close family member 2 days before Christmas and 365 days has not yet been enough to grow a scab on that graze.
For many of us who struggle with our mood, this season brings new challenges. Changes in routine can bring devastating results as the routine was what was keeping us on the straight and narrow. Time with family, particularly the extended one, can have us biting our tongues almost in two as we struggle to steer our course through the unexpected, the expected, the pressure of gifts unwanted, the pressure of providing, the excess, the relative you wish would stop drinking so much, the noise, the endless events and the realisation that the ones you wish were here, aren't. Some of us will be alone and wish we weren't. Some of us will not be alone and wish we were.
So how do we navigate? How do we steer ourselves through?
For each of us our challenges are different and so there is no magic wand of survival. However, just by investing a little time, to think of the time coming up, and asking ourselves what will jangle our delicate balance, we can invite in the magical state of awareness. This in turn brings us the opportunity to lay down little bricks of survival.
Invest in you.
Step back and plan your Christmas season.
Know what will not work for you.
Know what you will need to do in order to surf the waves.
Look through the season and decide how you wish to come out the other side.
Write it, draw it, record it, share it, or keep it private. Commit to it.
I am aiming to come through on my terms and reach the other side with anything higher than exhaustion. I will not be bullied into what others wish me to do and I will say no thank you and then say it again. This will make me unpopular. So be it. Because this year I wish to be me, and that will be a gift to myself.
It is also ok not to like mince pies. No judging here.
Love from The room above the garage.
A Moodscope member.