Making Space for Grief on Holidays

Many people see the holidays as a space for joy, which is a beautiful sentiment and intention. But the holidays are also a space for grief. For some people, the holidays remind them of turmoil and abuse. Having time and space with family wasn’t a blessing but a threat.

For others, the holidays remind them of what’s been lost: family members, loved ones, time. Whether it’s the loneliness of the first Christmas in a new town or the grief of the first or fifth holiday after the death of a beloved friend or relative.

Sometimes when we look back, we judge the year we’ve had, we feel the failures of the past twelve months, we compare our bounty to the bounty of others and find ourselves, our wealth, and our lives lacking.

All of this is normal, and yet, it’s easy to feel a sense of shame, a desire to hide or fix our grief in a season where it seems only joy is allowed. It can push into isolation or hiding your feelings.

And so my invitation is to allow space for yourself to grieve this year over the holidays. Let yourself cry about the Christmas mornings you didn’t have, cry over the year that went wrong, cry over the loved one who isn’t with you around the hearth. Let your tears flow out so that the joy and gratitude might as well.

The holidays are a merry time of year and letting yourself weep so that your heart may open and feel the spirit of love and hope might be the very thing that allows you to feel close to those you love and those you’ve lost.

This Christmas, I’m going to take some time to journal, to grieve, and to love the tender parts of myself. Then I’ll wipe my tears, eat a candy cane, and watch Die Hard (which is totally a Christmas movie BTW) and allow the new space I’ve opened up to be filled with love and gratitude for the incredible life I lead.

I hope each of you makes space for whatever you feel and that you find love in the strangest of places.



PS If you feel terribly alone or overcome by grief in the holidays, get help! Call a friend or if nothing call the helpline. Even if you aren’t suicidal, having someone to share your feelings with can help. Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255


A Big Turn Off

This will be a short blog.
Turn off this computer and go do something real with someone you care about. Take a walk, sing a song, or make a meal, no matter what this time of the year can help us remember that the best things in the world are analog. 
Happy Holidays!


Slow Down

That Time Of Year

This is the time of year where everything seems to be going so fast. It’s an acceleration to Christmas day, then New Years Eve, and then beyond. That’s why it’s so important that we slow down this time of year. When we get to the gym and find someone is using our machine or when we get to the store and find that the lines are long, irritation can arise. But these things are only a problem if we are in a hurry.

I’ve been told that in Russia for one to two weeks this time of year almost everything closes down. Because everything is closed people have no choice but to slow down and enjoy time with their loved ones. In many places things may only close for a day or two around the holidays so we have to make the choice to slow down.

Slow Down

When we slow down something truly amazing happens, we relax, we notice beauty, we become more kind, and we enjoy ourselves. But perhaps the most amazing thing of all is that we can get almost as many things done in the same amount of time. Frantic activity rarely leads to efficiency.

In addition to being more efficient we also perceive things differently. The lines move about the same at the grocery store, but because we slow down we don’t feel like they are going too slow. People may be on our favorite equipment, but because we slow down, we remember there is a new workout routine we’ve wanted to try out.

Theres no Hurry

Being around others who are in a hurry can be contagious so when you find yourself feeling frantic, try out these tips to help you slow down –
· Take a few deep breaths
· Reconnect with your heart
· Take a walk, run, or bike ride (alone if that’s what you need)
· Leave extra space in your day by planning ahead or managing expectations
· Let go of how things are ‘supposed to be’; being calm and relaxed is a better than any perfect dish, ritual, or present

When we are in a hurry nothing seems possible, our lives contract, and we rush from one thing to the next. When we slow down our lives expand, many things are possible, and we greet each new activity with a fresh and excited mind. Make the choice to slow down; it’s the best way to spread peace on earth and good will to men and women alike.