moving with grace
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to navigate the holiday season with grace. Even though I’m not in the thick of it, I don’t work in the city, don’t have children or even a large family, the exhaustion, the stress, the rushing to get everything done is somehow, a little contagious.
One tempting avenue is disconnection. To disconnect from Christmas completely. To say no to gifts, no to making an event of it, no to making a special meal or coming together with others. It’s tempting because so much about it can be wasteful. The food. The gifts you don’t enjoy. The wrapping paper. The plastic plates. The decorations. The family arguments.
The problem with disconnection is that we have so little ritual in western society. We have next to nothing. I’m guilty of rolling my eyes at these celebrations. Christmas, big birthday parties and weddings, but I’m starting to wonder why. I’m starting to wonder if they really are so bad. I’m starting to wonder how we can make them special again.
We can lead by example. We can create a delicious meal that doesn’t involve any suffering. Give a beautiful gift from a small business. Choose not to use disposable cutlery or plates. Choose to be kind to the cashier when you’ve been standing in line forever. Choose not to snap when you're triggered. Choose not to judge others for being on a different path to you. These are all notes to myself this season.
Yoga has taught me many things but one is that we always have a choice. It’s simply that most of the time we don’t realise it. The reaction comes so hard and so fast its as if the choice never existed. But it does. We need to learn how to find and hold that space in between.
Yesterday I started to feel rushed. I started to feel I wouldn’t get everything done. I had to clean the house, buy gifts, prepare classes, teach, write.
I didn’t have time to take a yoga class so I took a yoga class. I wanted to go to a tiny shop but I had the address wrong. When I got to the wrong place I took a bus to the right place but the driver didn’t stop even though I pressed the button. I walked an extra 20 minutes to the shop. I wanted to buy coffee beans from my favourite coffee place but by the time I got there it was closed. I wanted to give up.
I finally reached the shop that had now taken me over an hour to reach. I had a great conversation with the owner. I found the perfect gifts. She told me exactly where she had sourced them. She recommended another coffee place and I had one of the best coffees ever. I bought chocolate coated almonds. I taught yoga classes as the storm rolled over the ocean and hail hit the windows. It was a perfect afternoon.
We can make anything special. We can make anything graceful. I'm going to choose richness over resistance because I think these celebrations can still offer us so much. I'll let you know how I go.