Although I am normally an optimistic person, lately I’ve found myself feeling a bit down as I realize that so many of the things I love about this time of year won’t be a possibility; that this holiday will be like no other.
Things like the whoosh of cold air when I open the door to welcome family on Christmas Day, or the warmth emanating from the fire as I gather with friends whom I haven’t seen in way too long. Or, watching the kids’ excited faces while waiting for the moment when the adults finally say, “OKAY, let’s open presents!” These are a few of many things that I long for and I won’t be able to experience this year.
Leaning into Gratitude
As I sit with these memories, I can once again feel the cold air and warm fire, and I can hear the giggles. I am thankful that I have these memories to lean into; for the miracle that my body, heart, and mind can recreate these moments for me.
And I remember that, as of right now, we are all healthy, and we still have a warm house to live in. I’m thankful for the freedom that technology has given us to reach out to each other and that my friends and family are all really just a Zoom meeting or Facebook call away.
Acknowledging What Is
Yes; this year has been a year like no other. My heart aches for all the people who have lost their lives, their loved ones, jobs, or businesses; the teachers who are holding our kids together under so much stress; the healthcare workers and first responders who still show up every day under often harsh and demanding conditions.
But, this has also been a year of possibility; a year to reach across so many barriers. Not just geographic divides, but racial, ethnic, and economic ones as well. And to contemplate our relationships to each other and look at our unexamined biases. Awareness is always the first step in the long journey of replacing those blind spots with open-heartedness and love.
From the Storm, a Rainbow
For us at GRCFM, it has given us an opportunity to serve people in distant states we would never have connected with in a “normal” year; to be able to support those teachers and healthcare professionals who can benefit from touching into their own ability to be mindful and kind to themselves.
We know that what we offer isn’t a magic bullet or a little blue pill, but it is a path – a way for people to find their way back to what they already know and to who they already are. Yes, mindfulness and self-compassion are innate skills, but they do get rusty over time, just like anything else we forget to or don’t use over a period of time.
If this sounds a bit like a roller-coaster ride, it is. But then, so is life. The real key to our well-being isn’t insulating ourselves from the inevitable highs and lows, but learning how to navigate them.
Holding space for it all
So, my heart aches, and I am filled with gratitude and appreciation at the same time. And to be able to hold those two things at once are the gifts that mindfulness and self-compassion have given me. I hope you will join me on this adventure to reclaim what is and always has been yours.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”