Have you ever thought what this season invokes in you? Is it the season to be jolly? Grateful? Hopeful? Sad? Emotional? Angry?
I remember the first Christmas after my dad passed away I spent the entire night looking out the window. There wasn't a festive bone in body that evening. I don't think we even put up a Christmas tree after that for a long time. That was certainly a time of sadness and plenty of emotion.
I met my husband 12 years ago. My husband is a very positive, upbeat person. We were sitting around one day around Christmas when he decides that we were going to get a tree and decorate it together. Neither one of us owned any ornaments so we went on this adventure. We bought beautiful ornaments and coordinated the colors of deep red and gold. I had my first taste of eggnog ever which didn't go over so well. We made cookies and had hot chocolate with a scoop of ice cream in it. I was on a step stool putting up some ornaments and my husband was kneeling to plug the lights in; that was the moment I looked down and realized that this was the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with. It was a moment of knowing - there was no question in my mind. We had known each other 6 months. It truly was a magical night.
The most incredible thing about that first Christmas with my husband was it was the turning point for me. It was when I started replacing feelings of joy, gratitude and hope for those of sadness and hurt.
Prior to that, I would feel sad for all the people in the world that were not as fortunate as the rest of us. I didn’t know how to set those boundaries and not take on their story. Now, I still have that same empathy but I do something about it to my comfort level. For example, last year my friends and I adopted a family in need for the holidays. We bought the mom and her 2 kids some things off their wish list. This year, I’m sending money to a family whose house burned down and the husband lost his job over the summer. My mom would always say to me “do what you feel you can do and leave the rest to God”. I love that! Her point is have faith that all will work out. Isn’t that what life is all about? Having faith in God and believing that it will all work out for your best.
While I was in Maui, I shared my story of Isabella’s loss with the crowd of 450 people. I was telling Ram Dass that he had inspired me with his words. I was saying that part of the reason I was there was to find my center again after having had 3 miscarriages in a row the last of which was a 20 week baby girl.
When we went on break a few people came up to me to express how sorry they were for what I had been through and most offered me their stories of how they had a few miscarriages and then went on to have kids. It was only after the second or third person talked to me that I realized people assumed I didn’t have any kids. That evening I told my friend that I wished I had mentioned that I had kids so that people wouldn’t feel that bad for me. I had changed my mind about that by the next morning. It’s not my fault that some people took on my story so harshly. I had heard some pretty bad stories as well but I didn’t take them on as my own.
Life is up, down and everything in between. I can’t feel bad when it’s my turn and when it’s someone else’s turn as well. I’d never be happy. You can feel empathy for someone but not take their story on. The other night, I wrote in my gratitude journal that I was grateful for Isabella and the incredible experience she gave me. I have slowed down tremendously; I am able to enjoy and savor the moments of my life since Isabella. Life is meant to be experiences that you gain from. This is definitely an experience I gained from. I would have rather had her for sure but as my husband loves to say “it is what it is”. There’s no use fussing over what could have been rather than enjoying what is.
If this season invokes in you feeling of sadness or loss I would suggest you look at those feelings to understand why. When you look at something and take the time to understand it then you can shift those feelings. As the teachings of Abraham say “it doesn’t matter where you are right now, you can always get to where you want to be”.
Personally, I love the gift shopping, I love wrapping the gifts, I love the parties, I love the holiday movies, I love the smiles on my boys’ faces … I could go on and on! I love it all. I wish for you the same enthusiasm for this season.
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Off to buy more gifts,