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Friday, December 26, 2014

The Time In Between

The time between Christmas and New Year's Eve has always felt a bit awkward. There's that melancholy sadness of another Christmas come and gone, and yet another celebration in the works. I usually toast the New Year with my daughter, pouring sparkling grape juice into obscenely expensive German crystal wine glasses to make it extra special. Then, she is off with her friends, and I usually find something interesting on the telly to keep me awake until midnight, at which point I say "Happy New Year" to my dog, and go to bed. As routines go, it's a simple one.

I don't like crowds. I find large, social gatherings exhausting, so though I love to wear sequins, I rarely find myself in a position to do so. It's all good. I value the quiet, the ability to complete a thought and the relative predictability of not-a-party. As I get older, I appreciate that quiet even more.

It's funny though; this year is absent the anxiety I usually feel about another year going by. As much as I like predictability, I like to feel that I'm making progress, that there is hope and that I'm moving toward something meaningful. It's not hard to understand why a person would feel a bit out of sorts in the post-Christmas-hype state of overeating and undersleeping. For somebody like me, just messing with the routine can send me a bit off the rails. But this year, I realized that my best years AREN'T behind me. There are things to work on (always), but the time period I'm in right now is filled with sparkly goodness, and the kind of joy that makes me laugh until my cheeks AND stomach hurt. I am doing things. I am learning things. Maybe that doesn't sound like much, but to someone who has become accustomed to having to focus on coping with the way the Universe acts upon her in unpredictable ways, it has been very nice to be the one doing the 'acting upon".

And it works. I act, things change. It hasn't always been the case. Sometimes I've felt like negotiating my life was something akin to driving with the parking brake on. Sometimes it's still like that. But it's changing. My personal impatience makes me want it all and right now. But I think things happen the way they do for a reason. I have time. Interestingly enough, that used to be my horse-training mantra, and then it became my dog-training mantra. Now, it's just a mantra. I'm okay to be in the moment. Even the challenges only serve to reinforce my commitment to the things that are meaningful and important. The Universe says "How bad do you want it?" My answer has to be an unwavering "THIS bad!".

So, on to the new year. I have a new book to finish, and so plenty of work to do. I'll "do my best and surrender the rest" (thank you, Nadiya!). I'll do so knowing that what's for me will not pass me by, that I don't need to control (and in fact can't) every element of everything, and I'll look forward to learning and moving through the lessons of the year to come. I have rarely had such a decent attutude about anything. Progress!

I hope you all have a safe, joyful and magical New Year's Eve, and a very blessed and wonderful year to come!

Monday, December 15, 2014

What I want for Christmas

It's funny how my Christmas list changes and doesn't change yearly.  What a crazy-awesome year it's been for me. I can't say that all my problems are solved by any means, but the gratitude I feel is immense. I feel a little funny writing a Christmas list. I mean, the season really shouldn't be about this giant greed-fest that it's become. I saw Chris Rock on SNL talking about this very subject; he said (and I'm paraphrasing) that Christmas is supposed to be the celebration of Jesus' birthday, and Jesus was one of the LEAST materialistic people to ever walk the Earth. So HOW did it get to be the season of mad materialism? A HELL of a good question.

Having said that, topping my wish-list this year (as always it seems) is a pony (a horse, actually!). Horses and dogs are the two areas of my life where I can get happily spendy, and I'm largely okay with it. I seem to lack the materialism gene in every other way, so I forgive myself this indiscretion. I was raised by depression-era grandparents, so my philosophy is very much one of "buy the best you can and take care of it". I recently replaced my 30 year old washer/dryer set because I could no longer find parts to repair them. Seriously. As you can imagine, this time of constant 'upgrading' seems like an uber-waste of resources to me, but I digress.

So, aside from the prerequisite pony, what would I like for Christmas? If I could have anything I want (and this IS my list, after all), I would wish that my family could be together for the holidays. It was the one time of the year (and sometimes two) that I was overjoyed to be ensconced in noise and chaos, because it was the loving noise and chaos of my family. I'm so grateful to have had those memories. On the upside, Christmas with my friends (the family I chose) is pretty great too, and I do have that to look forward to.

On a grander scale, I wish we could better see the humanity in each other. I think it begins by eliminating the sponsored-brainwashing of the media, and coming from a heart-centered place. Yeah, the individual is important, but without the support of each other it's a pretty lonely place to be. Together we can make HUGE things happen. We're starting to see that, and as the light begins to shine on ugly things once hidden, we can collectively make things better for ourselves and each other.

I wish that when I tuck myself into my warm bed at night, I could do so knowing that everyone has a warm bed. That I didn't have to know that, on a cold night, someone is sleeping in a tent because they have nowhere else to go. I wish that when I sat down to a good meal, I could do so knowing that nobody else is going hungry. We have been both homeless AND hungry. The lie is that people do it to themselves. The truth is that sometimes, people need help. Do you want to believe the lie, or show compassion? I wish I had the voice and the resources to do something tangible for those who can't do for themselves. I'll get there.

I wish that all domestic animals would be in the hands of competent and knowledgeable caregivers.  I wish that none of them would be given as Christmas gifts, nothing more than a trinket among many other trinkets. They deserve a special homecoming all their own.

I wish that children could become human beings before they 'plugged in', that school was an enriching experience, that the education of the soul was at least as relevant as the education of the mind. I wish that children could be grounded in the world, with dirty hands and pink cheeks from playing in the fresh air. We are beings of the earth, and as such the value of of fresh air and the outdoors will never be obsolete.

So, I guess I don't want anything outrageous or unreasonable then ;-) And if you can't give me one of those things, I'd also really like an L.L. Bean gift card :-) In any case, I wish you all a wonderful, magical holiday, whatever you celebrate this time of year. I wish you good health, happiness, fulfillment of dreams, ambitions and wishes. Thank you all for being a part of my journey!

I leave you with my favorite Christmas song: