Every year when the winter solstice and Christmas come around, I turn into a ball of tension. My skin crawls in anticipation of forced-encounters, too-much-sugar and the crash that inevitably follows, and the dry skin persisting despite how much castor oil and whatnot I slather on.
Not so this year!
And my sanity is so welcome, and so unexpected, I thought it might benefit my readers to share some of the things I am doing differently this year.
First of all, I started a deep meditation practice, daily. In years past, I have meditated or rested most days, but only for 20-30 minutes. This year, I sit for 45 minutes. It’s time that I carve out (and no, sometimes it’s not easy) so that I can shift my energy and take stock of what I’m working with on any particular day. The meditation gives me infinite gifts, but what I notice most during this time of year is that I am more OK with giving my body what it needs to stay healthy (and to say No to things that don’t serve me). I am also projecting less into the future and more content in my present moment, which makes me easier to be around. I *also* notice that I am more aware of my triggers, and less likely to engage in them. So there’s real change happening for me, and I like it.
Part of the change is that I have distanced myself a LOT from the typical frantic energy. These holy-days are just that: one DAY at a time, when we see family and eat good food. That is all. I am cultivating this perspective so as not to spend time anticipating and second-guessing (which both induce anxiety in me). Rather, I have made ONE list of things that must be finished in order for expectations to be met, and I have scheduled time to meet these expectations.
Normally, I try to keep it all in my head, and just get things done at the last minute. This year, I have been planning ahead just a little more, and wow, it really changes everything. While I plan, I refuse to worry about how it will all work out. It always works out. And if, for some reason, I can’t get all the baking and making done in the time I have, I am OK with going to the store and purchasing whatever I need. I let go of my expectations of MYSELF, as well as of the people around me.
Because of my increased awareness I am also eating more cleanly between holidays. If I eat too much at night, or too much sugar, or too much alcohol, my body rebels in very clear, very uncomfortable ways. So rather than get irritated, I thank my body for it’s clear messages and clean up the decisions I make. For me, this looks like intermittent fasting (I skip breakfast and only eat during an 8 hour window of the day), break my fast with raw fruit, and eat a nice dinner, early. In between the fruit and dinner, I eat a lot of vegetables, nuts and seeds, and avoid animal protein most days. I do eat plenty of fat, and drink plenty of water and tea. I am not denying myself anything…in fact, I feel marvelous! I lost a bit of weight, and when I want to indulge on those holidays, I know that I can, and I know exactly what the consequences will be! How empowering! I don’t feel as though the holidays are a season to “get through” but rather, bright spots during a cozy stint of the year.
I also decorated my lovely home with homemade ornaments, greenery, and vintage ornaments, to bring in the feeling of cozy warmth to the home. I don’t personally honor Christmas, but Solstice is my new year, and I grew up celebrating Chanukah…so all the holidays of bringing light back into the world feel good to me. I set up a platter with crystals and candles on it, and we light it almost nightly.
All of these little changes and tidbits have resulted in my taking real pleasure in the late autumn and early winter seasons. By feeding my body and soul more consistently, and creating beauty in as many places as possible, I have left the stress and strain out of my heart and mind.
I hope you can find places of peace and light as the year turns again, that you find blessings in all areas of your life.
Blessed Be, Selah…