Thursday, 8 December 2011
The slowing of the season
Monday was supposed to be the start of a new cycle of interviews and writing for one of my long-term (business writing) contracts, and instead of getting organized and making tons of calls, my computer barely worked. I had to back it up, save impossibly big files to tiny DVDs and delete some things so she could breathe easier, stop crashing every program in sight and let me work. But that took all day, my one busiest, most goal-oriented day of the week. And so it started.
I looked at my list of personal and business tasks to accomplish this week and wondered where the hours and energy might materialize.
It makes me feel violent when all we do is complain about how hectic this season is, about how we’re just gritting our teeth and making another damn batch of cookies and engaging in emotional eating of said cookies and kissing family then grumbling about them and never just stopping to let the truth sing that it is up to us. We have the power to control the tone of the season in our own little lives. We can make it wail or make it sing. I know, you can’t make your sister be civil and you don’t always forgive and you can’t forget the years of crusted over wounds your “loved ones” have wrought. But you can still open your eyes. You can step away and take a breath. And for you, in your own bubble of self-made Christmas wonder, it can be — if not a happy holday, then a serene one. It’s possible to find the peace that’s waiting for you.
This year my subconscious goal was to just move through this season as if it were any other month of the year. My normal everyday rhythm has enough chaos, and the thought of adding another layer of expectation and stress was not only daunting, it seemed like a hilarious joke. As if I could make four different types of cookies! This year! With all these littles everywhere and especially the smallest who loves to open the garbage cabinet just so he can turn around and spy the look on my face. 20 times each day. So instead I laugh and laugh with my children, we play make believe and I don’t take that time away from them. I don’t shop until I find just the right thing. I keep gifting simple, scaling back, and ordering almost everything online.
Or tonight. After another day full of fulfilling responsibility, my list is still staring me in the face, asking me when it might see some crossing off happen. And instead, I come here. Because an idea had begun to brew. I felt the familiar distraction, the thoughts starting to multiply and take on their own life and I knew I must write. And even now, when I have seven other things I should be doing. Because I have the power to make this season sing, and it will feed my soul and give me hope and make me alive with wonder if I can do just this: Stop. Take a break. Do something that leaves the list where it lies, puts it in its place as the urgent but unimportant, and do what really matters: something that wakes me up to the beauty all around everywhere, just waiting for me to drink it in.