I know that Christmas is coming and that the holiday season is here. How do I know? Well, mostly from the level of stress that I am feeling. Between making an authentic advent calendar for the kids, finding perfect presents for the family and squeezing time to sip some punch and wine with friends before the year’s end, this month is like riding the little mini-ferris wheel at the Altes AKH Christmas market. It’s no wonder that I am struggling to feel festive.
Next week I fly off to the States to spend the holidays with my family. Because my family is the typical fractured family of the modern age, we will celebrate 7 Christmases across three states in a one-week or so period. For me, it’s the mad dash to get it all done before frantically rushing out the door to the next celebration. For the kids, however, it’s a land of presents and great food. It’s no wonder that they love America.
It makes me wonder, how can I get the Christmas wonder back in my life? I genuinely want to feel excited about the holidays like my children do. I want to wake up on Christmas morning and not feel like I am preparing for a battle. I want my eyes to shimmer and shine and belly laugh like a bowl full of jelly (but if this is a fantasy, there would be absolutely no jelly!). And while I am at it, indulge in all sorts of Christmas goodies and not even think for a second which part of my thighs they will settle upon. I want Christmas to be wrapped in this veil of mystery and magic, sit in wonder and awe under the tree as presents present themselves.
In mindfulness, there is the concept of the beginner’s mind. This idea is rooted in using our mind to see things like it’s the first time, absent of preconceived notions or judgments or expectations. Basically, it’s like the face of a small child on Christmas morning, full of wonder, awe and curiosity asking, “I wonder what this is?” It asks you to put aside your fixed ideas and beliefs and approach life with true wonder. Indeed, it presents a gift of curiosity and possibility into a situation that I associate with stress and challenge.
I wonder if I can do this. I wonder if I can find a way to let go of my preconceived notions of the holidays and just see things with a twinkle of my eyes. I wonder if I can wake up Christmas morning with a sense of joy and whatever presents itself in the moment. I wonder if I can find joy in the moments and gifts of the season, even if they are calorie-rich. I wonder if I can willingly suspend my disbelief and feel the magic of it all alongside my children. I wonder. I wonder. I wonder….