As I write, I am sitting in a small room at Kripalu, one of the worlds largest yoga retreat center's in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. I had initially booked a trip with Courtney to Costa Rica, but when that fell through, I ended up here, alone. I haven't traveled totally solo in 5 years. I had a wonderful experience traveling solo in anticipation of my 30th trip around the sun, but that's for another blog.
So, back to Kripalu, I attended a class last night where the teacher, Jurian Hughes (google her if this resonates with you) opened by sharing something along these lines, "This time of year, this season, can sometimes bring up feelings for me about the holiday spirit.. like if I am not in the holiday spirit that something is somehow wrong with me or my life or I find myself measuring how far from the holiday spirit that I feel.".... WHOA, I felt myself exhale a BIG sigh of relief. I had been conscious of these feelings inside myself, but for someone else to share it, I am so grateful that she voiced these feelings.
Ever since my parent's divorce twenty years ago, we have had little to no family traditions. Each year, we go to family members house. It is often organized at the last minute. There isn't a ton of pomp and splendor, just a gathering of our family & some good food. It's not a sad story, it just is what it is. We have a wonderful family and we are also a family without holiday traditions, those two things can mutually exist believe it or not. As far as the gift-giving goes, I tend to be kind of an anti-shopper anyways, so the idea of everyone running out to stores to buy more stuff kind of gets under my skin. The idea of someone buying me my 15th sweater or another pair of shoes or whatever, it doesn't light me up at all. The sweetest words I can hear during the holidays are "let's not do gifts this year!' For me, the overly sweet food, the overly scheduled weeks, the too much stuff, the constant socializing, the influx of catalogs in my mailbox, the focus on buying in every story I enter, it all just feels in the too much category. Then, when I am not feeling festive, I wonder if I am a bit of a grinch?
So, what I realized last night, is that it's ok to not feel festive. There might even be other people out there who feel the same. It's ok to question tradition. It's ok to do nothing for the holidays. It's ok to do LESS, it's ok to buy LESS, it's all OK!
Thank you, Jurian Hughes for this important reminder that choosing to celebrate differently, by getting quiet, by meditating, my doing yoga, by eating healthy, is also a celebration! I am here, the week before Christmas, celebrating my body, mind, spirit connection and I can think of nothing more holy than that.
What are you doing this holiday season to make it sacred for YOU?