What do you believe?
WE ARE OFTEN TIRED AND IMBALANCED NOT BECAUSE WE ARE DOING TOO MUCH, BUT BECAUSE WE ARE DOING TOO LITTLE OF WHAT IS MOST REAL AND MEANINGFUL. MARIANNE WILLIAMSON
Trying to find meaning amongst the tinsel can be tricky. We can get swept up in stressing about having the right present for the right person, spending the same amount on each child, trying to manufacture joy and happiness. I love entertaining and having friends and family over, but I really resist it at Christmas time. I get scowly and resentful about the pressure to buy a ridiculous amount of presents for one day. It is so silly! I wish I was religious so that I felt like there was a purpose to the day. So, this year I am trying to be more relaxed. It has been a pretty busy couple of months, so I am taking my foot off the pedal and letting the day be what it will be, and enjoying the family that will be here. A conversation with my daughter has reminded me what gatherings are for. I picked her up from youth camp yesterday. It is a Christian youth camp - we are not religious, but one of her closest friends is, and she is open-minded and curious and really enjoys meeting new people and having new experiences. One of the things that she really loves about it is vicariously experiencing a sense of belonging and community. She said that it is a place where everyone can be 100% themselves, authentic, vulnerable, seen, and heard. How lovely does that sound? A place where you are encouraged to tend and befriend, support, and do some internal exploration. She doesn't necessarily believe in God, however that looks for the group, but she does believe in something.
We don't need to be religious to believe and to be better. We can offer ourselves and others the gift of authenticity. We can let go of wanting more - instead we can give more, without resentment. We can allow ourselves to receive, without feeling reciprocal obligation. We can allow ourselves to pause, and be thankful for being right here, right now, in this moment with whomever or whatever is with us - whether that is family, a beloved pet, a good book, or simply the trees swaying in the breeze. We have little control over what comes in the next day, week, year. What we can have is faith, in ourselves and others. Faith is about the here and now. I believe in greater things, without trying to quantify or explain them. I believe in our innate goodness and wisdom. I believe, so strongly, that we have the answers to everything we need, within us. I believe that life is fleeting, terrifying, beautiful, ridiculous, exhausting and incredibly intense, all at the same time. I believe in the power of a palm cupping a cheek, the tenderness of a hug, the smile at a stranger, the scratching of a dogs belly, the warmth in the eyes of a loved one; the power of the written word, the catharsis of a big sigh, a conversation where you are truly heard and truly listen. I believe that life is beautiful. I believe in the power of love so much that it makes me cry. I believe that the people in our lives are here for a reason. Whether fleeting or for the long haul, we have much to learn and so much to give to each other. Thankyou for being in my life. I hope it is for the long haul, and we can continue to move and breathe and laugh together. May your festive season be safe, satisfying and give you an opportunity to pause and reflect on the year that was. Much love, Amanda xox