Happy Holidays, or....Happy Holidays?

How are YOU feeling this holiday season? Are you "feeling it" this year? It's perfectly OK to be honest.

I found myself earlier this week responding with, "Great!" when someone asked me the typical, "how are you doing?" at the opening of our phone conversation. I noticed and heard what I said, so I quickly corrected myself and said, "No. Actually, things suck right now. We just had to put Henry our cat to sleep this week. I am so incredibly sad, and I miss him!"

It amazed me how I got myself into a routine of responding a certain way. I don't do it intentionally to hide things, so it must be such a habit and a reaction to standard questions, right? At least that is the reason I came up with.

So, this led me to think about the quickly approaching holiday season. I am not "feeling it" this year. This last quarter of 2021 has had many challenges for me. I am processing through all of them, but they have left me feeling a bit different. Beyond grateful for some things, but also deeply saddened by others. I am definitely more self-reflective than I have ever been. Without a doubt I am more honest with honoring myself and my feelings and my needs. 

Some things I did differently this year:

1) I didn't send a single Christmas card. Did this kill anyone? No. Do those in my life know I love them and wish them well with or without a Christmas card? Yes. This may be a new practice I incorporate into my life: removing this from my list. We will see.

2) I left my huge 8-foot Christmas tree up in the attic. You know the one -- the one that was pre-lit....that lasted for two seasons...and then I would have to fight with stringing lights, finding ones that work, having them falter mid-way through the season anyway. I fixed this "challenge" by ordering a pre-lit, 4-foot tabletop Christmas tree instead. Quite a bit of a change, but I enjoyed not being frustrated with Christmas lights this year.

3) I decorated my house by about one third of what I usually do. Yes, cute little Santas and Snowmen, I will see you again someday. Just not this year. Who knows, maybe that someday will be when I sell you at a garage sale or give you to my kids. Either way, this is not the year to make that decision. My head is too heavy. I have decided I don't make good decision when my head is too heavy.

Now What?

Many things have led to my bland attitude this year. Will it pass? Of course it will. However, I have decided not to force it. Just like my reactionary response of "great" when asked how I am doing on the same day I had to say goodbye to my best fur friend in the world. It's not great right now. It will be again, but right now I need to honor what I am feeling and not "press through." Will and do I show love to those round me? Of course I do and I will. But part of showing love is showing love to myself right now. Loving myself this year looks like making things easier for ME this year. I am putting myself into the equation. The equation that will again equal 100. And... knowing it will get there faster and better when I care for ME in the process.

This is my opportunity to acknowledge and honor those who have a hard time around the holidays. It is not the "greatest time of year" for many people. For those who it is -- FANTASTIC!!!! For those who it is not, I pray that it can change for you in the future. If you have been working on it for a long time, I pray that you have found a way to make it easier for yourself.

An a-ha!

Earlier this week I was on an online networking event. They asked all of us to consider what our word for 2022 will be. Immediately I thought of the word FREEDOM! I decided if it swept into my mind that quickly, I would not question it and would claim it to be my word. And....as ironic as it is....I feel I am already living this word from much of what I have detailed in this email to you. FREEDOM to say exactly how I am feeling. FREEDOM to do things differently. FREEDOM to put myself first. FREEDOM to take a "time out" from how I typically perform and act.

Do you need to give yourself a bit of FREEDOM this year? If so, do it! You will be better for it, I promise!

All the best for a beautiful closing of 2021 and a fresh start for 2022!

With loving kindness from me to you!

Connie Holmes