- In your heart
- In your intimate relationships
- In your home
- In your family
- In our community
At my family’s Christmas Eve celebration, the other night, when my cousin said Grace and we gave thanks for the food and the opportunity to gather, he acknowledged how much work goes into the holidays and how stressful and tiring they can be. He appreciated everyone’s contributions to the meal, even when facing challenges.
But mostly he acknowledged the joy that comes from those efforts made; the laughter and humor in gathering with extended family over many years; the warmth shared while creating memories, honoring old traditions and starting some new ones.
He reminded us, as we held hands in a big circle, of all of our relatives who we have lost over the years, Abuelos, Tíos, Tías, Primos – those we miss and remember with all our hearts; as well as all of our relatives who live far away and can’t be with us tonight, but whose presence we still feel, especially at the holidays.
He reminded us of how worth it it is to do the hard and stressful work of preparing for the holidays… whether we actually make the tamales ourselves, in a big group with margaritas in hand and chile peppers stamped on the aprons my aunt made for each one of us, or buy the tamales from a favorite restaurant; whether we make handmade gifts that take hours of labors of love, or wrap a up gift cards; or share stories of our years’ travels, or gather in sorrow over a loved one’s loss; or learn and play new games (this year it was the hilarious “Unwrap-the-saran-wrapped-ball-of-goodies-with-socks-on-your-hands-while-your-partner-tries-to-roll-doubles-on-the-dice-to-stop-your-progress” game); or exchange or steal white elephant gifts (maybe re-purposing something a relative gave you just last year); or sing Christmas carols a little off key…
All of these are ways that we share our gathering times.
All of the births, deaths, marriages, divorces, graduations, new jobs, travels, sorrows, illnesses, changes in life that we bear witness to and connect around, are wonderful markers of times our family has the not-taken-for-granted privilege to share, making those life events and regular goings-on times of joy, warmth, and connection.
Even if you have a difference of opinion with your relatives (about politics, capitalism, social justice, child rearing, religion, etc.) which might be made even more apparent during these conflicting political times, coming together after all the preparations and demands on your time is still so worth it.
I am fortunate to have a beautiful family, of no less than seven cultures represented, to come together with, to critique this year’s tamales (and even the beans that I made that didn’t have enough salt for my salt-loving family!), to play games with; to reconnect with after many months or sometimes years apart; to pray together (some years) the way our grandmother instructed us when we were children and have passed on to our own children; to tell corny jokes to; to give great hugs to; to exchange a package of (sometimes homemade) treats with each family as we say goodbye; and to get rushed out of the host’s house by, when he’s had enough disruption to his home and is done with family for the night!
I love having a family of four generations who come together, and who genuinely care about me and my family, and whom I carry in my heart, and for whom I work my butt off for when I prepare for the holidays… And who’s beautiful spirits linger with me for weeks on end, after the holidays are over….
I wouldn’t have it any other way!
I hope you’ve had in your heart or otherwise, lovely, peaceful, noisy, sweet and silly times with the family you were born into, or with the hand-picked ones of your choice, that will warm your heart well into the new decade.
And whether you’ve had an abundance of the joys of coming together with people you care about, or just the frustrations and depletions of the demands on your time, mind, body and soul, please join me on New Year’s Eve at 10 AM Pacific time for 30 minutes of Mindful Restoration and Renewal For the Urban Soul, as we welcome the new year/decade. I’ll share some mindfulness tools with you that will help you feel more ease and less stress, at this time of long night. Just what you’re needing right about now, and it’s FREE!
Don’t worry if you can’t make it. A recording will be available for a short time into the New Year, so you won’t miss out on experiencing some renewal for yourself as you head into 2020!
Sending warmest wishes for PEACE in your heart, and everywhere.
If you or someone you care about is having a difficult time getting through the times, please contact me for a therapy appointment.