it’s friday. i’m stressed because i have so much to do over the next 3 days. it’s all christmas-related. how is it that we get so over-booked & over-stressed right in the middle of this season that we are supposed to enjoy? so, while it’s the middle of the rush towards christmas, and people are feeling merry & bright most of the time, i have something that I don’t want to ignore. there are so many people who do not love this time of year. it’s hard. tough. depressing. lonely. and i seem to be surrounded by many of them right now. i think i’m even one of them right now.
but that’s ok. that’s reality. if we only focused on all the warm & glittery feelings, we would be ignoring life, for life is not all candy canes & presents. it hurts. and especially during the christmas season we need to remember all of the suffering that exists. we need to look honestly at the pain that is within us, and the pain that we see in our neighbor’s eyes and hear in our neighbor’s voice, even if they aren’t saying anything to us with words. we need to face it all. because it’s only when we face it that we can overcome it.
yesterday, i began my day with a few moments of meditation. why don’t i do that every day? every day i spend some time in quietness, but not necessarily in silence. and what happened yesterday, as i let myself breathe in love, peace, & all things good, was that i felt all of the stress & fear leave my body & my mind when i breathed out. i sat there for about 20 minutes. just breathing & listening. and prepared myself for the the day, which is exactly what i needed – even though i had no idea what was to come.
i found out why i needed it so badly when i got to work. i heard story after story of people facing really difficult things in their lives… family troubles, scary & uncertain futures, loneliness & depression. i read of the pain & sadness that others are experiencing just now in life. i remembered friends & family who are surrounded by difficult memories and ghosts that reappear every year at this time. and i thought of people i knew in my past, wondering where they are & how their life is. had i not filled myself up in the morning with all that positive energy that just came to me, i would have fallen apart during the afternoon. but, instead, i felt strong and i was prepared to face all of this reality (including my own uncertainties & stress) with a power that was coming from within. it was an amazing gift.
i had no answers for all of the problems that came my way. i had no immediate solutions. i just listened. and thought. i was just present. and sometimes that’s all we need to do. i took the burdens of others into me. perhaps, even though they have no idea who they are, or that i thought of them, or that i am carrying them with me, they feel a little lighter today. i can only hope.
one of the things that i believe we can use to help calm us (in addition to breathing & meditating) is music. now, i am a cheesy sucker for nostalgic, traditional christmas music of all kinds. but, this year, mixed into all my favorites, i have added some more (what i call) dark christmas music. music that sings of the pain of loss, fear, & loneliness during this season. music that doesn’t talk about “rocking’ around the christmas tree” or that “it’s the most wonderful time of the year”. instead, the lyrics of these songs question where the hope is, where the love is, where the joy is. these songs desperately seek out that hope. hold on for that love to come. and wish more than anything for that joy to be found.
here is one of my favorites.
so, my friends, ask questions. face the suffering. feel that pain. there is no need for us to pretend that we feel christmas-y all the time. and it is so important to be aware that each of us are surrounded by darkness & fear. but, never be afraid to hope. never forget to hold out your hand to someone else. for, even in the darkest time, hope remains. and we will all feel it again. one day. love is alive.
wishing you some peace, even in the midst of the pain.