Hey Friends —
How are you doing in the thick of December? Is there Peace on Earth and Good Will to Men or is there overeating, overspending, overdoing?
Basically, a lot of overwhelming going on…
Trust me, I get it.
When I spent my years as a professional musician, I did my music in performances, recording studios, teaching at schools, teaching privately, and being hired by churches.
I was always amazed at how exhausted and run down we all were, in the name of celebrating Peace on Earth.
There were many times I muttered under my breath, “I really don’t think this is what Jesus had in mind…”
I didn’t have peace in my heart
And my life, schedule, food, sleep, and pace were a hot mess.
I was driven to perform because you ‘make hay while the sun shines’ — not remembering that I always had enough work all year ‘round.
I was driven to overeat the creamy cheese dips and delicious desserts — not remembering that I could make those specialty items all year ‘round.
I was driven to overspend on gifts for people — not remembering that I didn’t have to ‘prove’ anything because I was invested in those relationships all year ‘round.
That’s what happens when we get swept up in the wave of the pressure parts of the holidays: We get short-sighted, driven by emotions and fear, and we forget the bigger picture.
Then, you know what happens? We spend the next few months recovering for all the over-doing, over-spending and over-eating. We find our equilibrium again sometime in Spring, or maybe we wait until Summer, but sometimes we wait until Fall and then, we find ourselves developing a twitch around Halloween. It’s like PTHD (Post-Traumatic Holiday Disorder) kicks in and we starting saying things like, “Well, when I get through the holidays, I’ll be able to think more clearly…”
I don’t want to ‘get through’ the holidays. I want to live life.
I don’t want until January 2 to live.
I wanted freedom so badly about 15 years back that we stopped celebrating Christmas for several years. No tree. No lights. No nothing. Just life. The kids were little and we didn’t have a TV (still don’t) so, they just didn’t see all the Christmas messaging the same ways. They would point to Santa Claus blow up decorations on the neighbor’s lawns and ask, “Who’s the old guy with the beard?” And we’d answer, “His name is Santa Claus” and that was it. They were content with that answer when they were small.
I know it’s unconventional, but welcome to my life. (Did I mention that my new book “An Unconventional Life” will be out this Spring? I’m so excited to bring that to you!)
So, when the boys were about 7 and 5, we brought Christmas back into our world. I told them, “Some people make it about Jesus, some people make it about lights, some people make it about family, some people make it about presents, and some people don’t celebrate it at all. We’re going to just make it what we want it to be.” So, we decided to make it about cookies and lights that year — and we studied about Rock’s Filipino culture and my Italian culture and they uniquely celebrated. Small, simple gifts and grateful boys.
Here we are 7 years later. We’ve had some busier years, some where there was a little over-eating, and little over-spending but mostly — we just keep it simple. Within our budget — emotionally, financially and physically.
I think that fasting from the holidays those years gave us perspective.
How can you keep your Christmas simple this year? (if that’s what you desire.) It’s not too late – your whole life can shift right now by bringing some consciousness to it.
I have to consciously choose because, if I don’t, it’s tempting to get swept up in the unconscious tide of crazy spending, eating, and driving (WHAT are people doing out there? Holy guacamole, Batman…it’s like the Indy 500 with blindfolded, texting drivers lately…)
So for me, I’m bringing consciousness by doing another 100-Day Gong (I LOVE my Gongs…) and one of the five elements I have to do each day for 100 days, is to read for 15 minutes a day from an actual book (I read a lot on the computer). I’m currently going through “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer. It makes me so happy to have his wisdoms in my life about letting go, surrendering, being present to the moment, moving beyond the fears, and getting past the suffering of my choices.
So powerful. 15 minutes a day is revolutionary to my life.
I want that for you.
You don’t have to ‘get through’ the holidays — you can live life abundantly, peacefully and joyfully now — in fact, if you can do it during this time, you can do it any time.
Here’s a link to The Untethered Soul.
Enjoy this beautiful season– not because it’s the holidays but because these are your days.
This is your life.
And your very life is a gift to be celebrated each day.
(This video that went around FB made me smile.)
I just may wrap up Rock and the kids while they’re sleeping and put a few bows on the shower and light switches, too…
Okay. Thanks for sharing this time together.
Sending you so much love, this day, this season — and always.