Glitter at Christmas

Just as well there’s so much glitter at Christmas

 With Christmas just about here and my Christmas shopping finally completed, my exhausted, slightly over-budget (both financially and calorically) and another very long day ahead before Christmas hits, I’m starting to reflect on a few things about myself.

My life coaching philosophy centres around helping clients uncover their true selves, and the life choices they’re yearning to make, and then helping them navigate the rocky path to those choices. While this may not be easy, it should always bring with it ever increasing joy, peace and physical ease. They’re the signs you’re on the right path.

So, when I come to the end of a day, a week and a working year (more on the end of the actual year next week), and I’m not feeling much joy, peace and physical ease, it’s a sure sign something is very wrong in the choices I’m making.

I discussed something along these lines in my blog about the life coach coaching herself, here.

As a reflection on Christmas, however, I think it’s needs pointing out that this pushing of my body and exhausting of my energy and stretching beyond capacity of my finances…..it’s kinda the same every year. And it’s occurred to me this year that I really, really hate it.

So why keep doing it? That’s the million dollar question. I’ve determined that this be the last year I do it, because I’ve pushed my self one shopping day too far. There’s been a lot of that going on in my life over the past few months.

But the real question is, why do I let myself get to the point of feeling like I’m an inch away from “losing it,” before I think – that’s it, no more, this has to stop.

And that “losing it” reached a new low today…… I noticed I was angry. Angry with no obvious reason. I mean, here I am, I have a whole weekday without work, instead I get to shop, I had relatively good traffic and easy parking, I got the shopping finished in about 3.5 hours and the rest of the day was mine to do with as I pleased. But the anger was growing.

A little digging and self analysis later and I knew, very clearly the problem was that I continued ignoring how I felt. I was tired, but I didn’t rest. I was hungry, but I didn’t eat. I was uninspired but continued to hunt for gifts and, most of all, I was craving a vacation, away from the city and stress and busyness and family drama, but I am staying around, putting up with it, continuing along the path.

I was angry at myself. Angry that I keep ignoring everything I want, yearn for and need. And why? Because I was scared to not do it – underneath, I am scared of feeling the emptiness of a disappointing Christmas.

Christmas is such a mine field of emotions, and every year a plethora of poignant Facebook posts pass through my feed, of people missing departed loved ones, struggling with illness or being apart from family, or having no family, the trauma’s of divorce and break ups, the aching of the human condition. I realised, this year, just how much I yearn for Christmas to deliver more than it ever does. I try to gift-give it into specialness for my nieces and nephew, because I’m projecting the emptiness I felt around Christmas as a teenager. I try to gift-give my mother out of her pain and hurt, gift-give my self esteem out of the fear that I will offend someone, disappoint them or not rightly acknowledge them. And it is slowly killing me.

The fact is, if someone in my family doesn’t get a gift they absolutely love from me, they’ll live. If they actively don’t like my gift, they’ll live. If they think it’s stupid or not valuable enough or proves I don’t know them very well, they’ll live. And so will I. I’ve tried. I’ve tried too hard. And in a short hour or two, all the gifts will be given and opened and surprises subsided, paper will fill the recycling bin and we’ll all finally feel the exhaustion we’ve been pushing ourselves to for weeks.

And I’ll be back to the loneliness and emptiness I’m trying to distract myself from, with Christmas over-indulgence.

And that’s where I notice glitter on my hands, and legs, and floor. Glitter from cards and ornaments, oh, and twinkling lights. There’s a lot of sparkle around at Christmas and it’s probably just as well. We sparkle ourselves out of feeling flat.

Before I sound too depressing, this is all actually good news. The realisation and acceptance of how you feel, and what you do to push those feelings away, is the vital first step towards choosing better, and moving on from them.

This realisation that I push all my boundaries at Christmas to avoid emptiness, will form the first of my new years intentions (more on those next week) but I wanted to say to you today that, if you’re identifying with any of what I’m saying then take heart. Because beneath all the hype and desire for amazing specialness at Christmas, and it’s inevitable inability to deliver, is a deeper self, a deeper calling and a deeper meaning to life. It’s beyond the drama and chaos and traditions of this time of year. Deeper than the desire for a pretty new dress or nice hair and nails on Christmas day, deeper than wanting to be generous and clever with gifts or making a great dessert for everyone. There’s a peace that is profound enough to calm any emotion and fulfill any heart. The more we choose against our bodies and our true selves, the more we lose contact with that peace and wind ourselves up into a frantic whirlwind of trying to fill the subsequent emptiness with artificial specialness.

So tonight, I’m heading to bed early, after a gentle shower, to rest my body and mind with meditation for a while, reminding myself of what I long for, the path I’m heading down and the life I am building for myself. To feel the excitement in my soul around this life and the energy it delivers. This calms my sadness, frees my worry, revives my body and fills me with hope. Honestly, it does.

Want to try my meditation?

Sit and breath consciously for a few rounds of breath, noticing the movement of the body on the in and out breath. Let the breath slow and deepen as you observe it. Next, listen in to the sounds around you, eyes closed, and note them, without focusing too much on them, for a minute or two.  Then, using a visualisation if it helps, bring to mind the stillness in which all matter exists. Hear it. Feel it. Try to connect in with it, being in that stillness, despite sound and activity around you. In that stillness, love rests, lives and supports you. And you can connect with it, there in that stillness.

I wish you all a very peaceful holiday weekend, with much deep calm and stillness in your soul. May the joyful moments of friends, family and traditions, food, gifts and ceremony, all prove to deliver exactly what they were designed to – life’s decorative adornment to enjoy, but not the substance we live for. That belongs to your soul and it’s connection to the Love that breathes in the stillness.

Merry Christmas. 

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