Feelings of gratitude have been bubbling up over the past week. I had my moments of pointy uncomfortable feelings. Some that came up because this time of year is so filled with generations-old traditions that I cannot participate in and holiday foods that I cannot eat. Many that are simply a part of living with the limitations of a chronic illness. But holding a place of self-compassion helped me keep a foot in the present. Caring for these parts of me as though they were a child needing tender love during a difficult time made a huge difference. I got to appreciate the gifts of the holidays that kept emerging and that are such a special part of this season for me.
We marked the return of the light by decorating our tree on the Solstice this year. Making shortbread cookies one day with David and dipping them in chocolate on another with Sadie’s mom, our dear human friend who came for a visit from Boston. The gift of a homemade salt dough star by another friend and her 4-year-old daughter inspire us to think of incorporating ornament-making into our holiday preparations next Christmas.
Other local friends maintained their tradition of bringing a bounty of appetizers and, with that sometimes easy shifting of gears that can happen when you are just a cozy little group, we skipped dinner on Christmas Eve (well, they skipped dinner while I indulged in my appetizer-meal combination in the form of a steaming bowl of rich brothy stew with the added treat of baby back ribs). We spent the evening of the 24th lounging, catching up and playing cards. And the treat of going to bed early simply because we could. Christmas day started with a breakfast of freshly squeezed orange juice and my mother’s doughnuts, which she sends us every year now. I got to enjoy the vicarious pleasure of smelling them toasting in the oven before I dusted them with powdered sugar as we did when I was growing up. While drinking my greeniest of green juice as my own daily ambrosia for breakfast. Followed by a walk and then a group preparation of shrimp scampi from our deferred plans of the night before. It was a highlight of Christmas day.
David found a gentle new hike that he treated me to on the 27th. Being out in Nature with that blue blue Colorado sky, and my love, and the sun warm on our backs made my heart sing. It was heaven. As was taking my afternoon naps in the sun. And sleeping in my very own bed. And getting to keep my little routine that makes it all so much easier. I decided to stretch a tiny bit outside of my diet last night for Lobster. Once the decision was made I got to look forward to it for days.
And so it is time to thank 2015 for all it has given me. For the company, the connection and the joys. For the tribulations that make it all that much more precious. For the lessons and the gentle progress that I am slowly making.
For 2016 we want to invite more Ease into our lives. To let go of The Unnecessary a little more. And to keep practicing slowing down to the pace that works so well for us. And that supports connection. And love.
In the freshness of today I think of you. And send you these words from a Christmas card I received from a special friend:
And now let us welcome the new year,
full of things that have never been.
Rainer Maria Rilke