A New Way To Do Christmas?
Let’s Whine and Celebrate. . . and then Create!
As we approach Christmas, do you ask yourself what you have, in the last twelve months, lost and or gained? We are probably aware of how many people around the world have died in natural disasters, have gone missing, have been displaced and/or misplaced. I’m feeling a little conflicted about celebrating. Still, the pressure to be “happy” is on.
What if you or someone close to you has recently lost a loved one? Perhaps your home was destroyed, and all your precious belongings are gone? Maybe your relationship has failed, and you are broken-hearted? Or are you dealing with sickness, injury and are stuck in hospital? Any loss is amplified at Christmas and can cause excruciating pain.
Whether it’s ours or someone else’s pain, we need to bring it into the light and acknowledge the feelings. Granted, it’s not always comfortable but shoving ours or someone else’s pain behind the Christmas tree, and pretending it’s not there won’t make us feel any better. Pain, when willing to be shared, needs to be validated.
Our Western culture is not good at acknowledging grief, let alone showing it. Louis Armstrong’s song “When You’re Smiling” promotes that when you cry, you bring on the rain. Yeah, that’s really going to want to make you share your heavy load! Then he sings. Just be happy again. While I am Ms. Positive myself, I know it’s not always that easy!
Are people around you sensitive to your feelings, or are they practicing avoidance and riding roughshod over your emotions? Or worse, are they excluding you? How painful is it to be pressured to celebrate when you would really prefer to crawl into a dark cave and wait for all the Christmas carols, cheer and hoopla to just stop?
For the sake of our Christmas mental health, I propose a new Whine and Celebrate Christmas ritual.
The key to getting most out of this though, means that we really have to listen. I hope it catches on:
- Let’s take stock of our lives. Whether you are alone with your journal, with friends, at parties, or at festive dinners, we could first, for no longer than five minutes, whine about what we have lost this last year.
- Then to celebrate, we could follow up with what we have gained. (The gain, we sometimes discover, is a direct result of the loss, like losing a job we didn’t really enjoy and finding a happier profession.)
- By sharing our pain, we validate, lessen and disempower its hold over us.
- By sharing our wins, we inspire and expand our joy.
For those of us who have had big losses, sharing and being validated would make us feel more included in the season. For others who have escaped loss, we can realize our blessings. Hopefully this ritual will inspire more compassion for each other. After all, isn’t compassion what our spiritual leaders came here to teach? In the end, maybe compassion is what Christmas is all about? The pain and the joy.
So Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Blessed Winter Solstice, Happy Hannukah,
Joyeux Noel, Gluckliche Weihnachten, Feliz Navidad, God Jul, Buon Natale and everyone else around the world. (Sorry, while I realize there are many,many more languages and celebrations, they are the only greetings I know.)
Remember, that on the New Moon, December 17, you can create a new intention and something to celebrate next year.
And if a good Whine and Celebration ritual doesn’t work for you, remember, “This too shall pass.”