During the November Incident, the world of spirit opened to me so intensely that I had a hard time keeping up with my daily life; let alone performing the holiday magic I had done for so many years. I even struggled with being present at my favorite holiday party; spending 15 minutes locked in the bathroom, trying to regain a sense of center.
Now, I understand that the shamanic opening I experienced during the November Incident is far outside of the normal range. But all the same, it taught me that I like many people do way too much during the holiday season. We run around in a hubbub of ribbons, candy and shopping centers, filling our obligatory list of buying, visiting and celebration. But the pace that most of us keep at this time, and the to-do list we create for ourselves has a tendency to suck any holiday spirit we may have from our tired, over-stimulated souls.
During the November Incident, I was forced to slow down. I did not have the mental capacity, nor the physical energy for hours of shopping, nor did I have the focus to withstand hours of holiday parties I didn’t really want to be at. Instead, I chose to slow down, do less, spend less, and be more present. The functions I did attend, I did because I wanted to. The gifts I gave came from my heart. I stopped the bullshit of ‘I need to have something for everyone’, and chose instead to give of myself.
Many years have passed since Spirit ripped the veil from my sight, but the holiday traditions I chose at my time of opening are the ones I continue today. I have stepped away from shopping malls, and ridiculous baking list, instead choosing to spend time with people I love. I send Yule cards instead of buying gifts, some are real with my handwritten blessings inscribed on paper, some of virtual, but they all mean something. My gift giving list has been greatly reduced, as I feel we all have way too much as it is, and no one needs me to buy them a cheese slicer with matching knife set.
My opening gave me permission to stop doing. I was able to step back from the obligation that the holiday season has become and found in it the feeling of happiness, and celebration I knew as a child. I love coffee dates with old friends, holiday music playing on the radio, and I love the lights & greenery. I do not want presents, and specifically ask my children and family members not to give me gifts, unless they felt a deep calling to do so. To my children and grandchildren, I give gifts of things they need, like tires, car batteries, bed sheets, and socks. When it comes to toys I choose wisely, I ask myself if they will still enjoy it after the ribbons, bows, paper, and sugar have worn off.
Traditions are not just something from the past that we must recreate. They all came from somewhere, at some point they were new, fun and worth repeating. Which means we can create new traditions now, traditions that fit our lifestyle and beliefs. We can choose to have a tree or decorate a houseplant. We can choose to not decorate at all. We can choose to eat pizza for Christmas dinner instead of holiday hams and hours of cooking. We can designate a pajama holiday instead of a fancy dress event. We can choose to be happy for the holidays instead of overstressed, sugar bombed and broke.
My work with the Beloved Dead has shown me that we do not give a flying-fuck what we got for Christmas from Grandma when we were 8. What we remember is the house filled with laughter, the smell of yummy food, and the feeling of love. We remember emotions, events, and silly stories. So go out and make memories that feel good. Stop doing what others expect, create new boundaries that keep you happy and healthy during the holiday season, and remember to spread love. It’s what it’s all about folks.