“365 Days of Mindfulness” [Day 51] O Holy Night, Hold On Tight…

I am writing this for…

All of us who love Christmas, appreciate the beauty of the whole thing, know how sacred it all is, love our family and friends more than words can express, BUT RIGHT ABOUT NOW ARE FREAKED OUT, STRESSED OUT, HAVING PANIC ATTACKS, AND/OR CRYING, AND MAYBE HAVE JUST TAKEN A XANAX…

… which is what I just did…

I used to have to take a fair amount of xanax just to make it through a day not even taking the full amount my doctor prescribed, and now I have a prescription for it but don’t even take it every day. Well you can be pretty ding dang dong sure I will be using it this week.

You might think having said that that I don’t like Christmas (This isn’t true, at near 60 I still feel like a little girl at Christmas and get excited all to pieces…), or am dreading what might be rough waters ahead with family (which is absolutely not true. I have a very sweet family and we love one another a lot), or, well, whatever. The truth is my “Anticipatory Anxiety” has its banners waving high, everything is all out of order in my bi polar world which makes me feel as though everything is out of control which is NOT good for someone who makes it through the day as if climbing a ladder and it is very important, every single rung must be climbed individually and in the right order, if I miss a rung I can be in a very bad place. Christmas week all the rungs fall straight off the ladder and I feel as if I am careening through space with nothing to hold onto. I just sat here crying, feeling terrified, everything whirling and swirling out of control, OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GGGGGOOOOODDDDDDDD….

So I took the xanax.

I just talked to Rachel, my middle child, 2nd daughter, and the one child of 3 that lives here. She is coming over tonight for our usual Monday night date. We are currently watching Downton Abbey, which we love. I think I cried and said something like I was so scared because how would I get it all done and what if this and how about that, and… Of course Rachel is a psychologist (Didn’t I plan well? If you’re crazy as a loon you really need one in the family…) and she calmed me right down and was glad I took a xanax (She is very proud of me for being very moderate with my meds. I have a horror of taking too much and my doctors have always told me how nice it was to work with someone who had been on xanax a very long time but would only take very little. One script usually lasts me at least 3 months. But you better believe this week I’m glad I’ve got them!) and yet she said, and I have to laugh, “Oh my God, now I know where I GOT this…” She has anticipatory anxiety too and EVERYTHING is at her house (My sweet grandson is so allergic to dogs he can’t come here so I always go there and we all celebrate there.) We are both looking forward to having a festive glass of Bailey’s and watching Downton Abbey although I did kind of wail and tremble because I don’t even like Rachel to see the wreck everything is right now.

Here’s the thing folks. Christmas comes, Christmas goes, as it does every year, and somehow or another we always make it to the other side. And actually once I make it to Christmas Day I’m fine. When I get there and it’s lots of wonderful food, my beloved family, my sweet grandbabies, and we are all together it is just wonderful, and then the days after are easy. But this build up. Whooweeee….

I have all of my gifts but not a single one is wrapped yet. I won’t get a chance to wrap them until tomorrow night. Luckily on Christmas they go have brunch with their dad earlier in the day and I go to Rachel’s house and have Christmas with all the kids late afternoon/evening so I have most of Christmas Day to finish my wrapping. I’m trying to not do that thing where — And Lord Have Mercy, why do we DO this to ourselves. I feel I can say WE because a whole lot of other people tell me they do this too — when you are afraid you can’t get it done anyway and you are scared poopless and a nervous wreck it gets to the night before and you think, “Well, I’ve got all day tomorrow,” which essentially sets you up for MORE panic to the nth degree. I think it’s like people who wait until 5 minutes before an exam to study, or get right up to a deadline and then have a nervous breakdown trying to get it done, but always somehow or another do. That’s me. As if I wasn’t in shoddy enough shape to begin with I kind of add this into the mix.

(Man you’d think I’d have some modicum of pride so that I didn’t spill every embarrassing thing about myself in these blog posts but it seems once I start writing anything might come out, and usually does. There’s a reason I hide out here in an underground cave on another planet…)

So this is me, right now, with Rachel coming in an hour and forty minutes and me needing about three hours to do what I need to do before she gets here. I guess I better go. As long as I keep writing I feel safe, but I am going to dislodge myself, painfully, from this keyboard, get out of this chair and actually DO things and God help me, I hope I live through it.

I love the song “O Holy Night,” it is actually one of my favorite Christmas songs and I adore Christmas music. But right about about now I rewrite the lyrics, “O Holy Night, Hold On Tight,” And I will be singing it for the next 3 days.

Hold on, do what you have to do to get by, know that this time next week will come in the blink of an eye, remember that this week isn’t really an accident in the time/space continuum that makes Christmas week last 3 years, and we will get through to the other side.

I would just like to say, in closing, if you are one of those people who start next year’s Christmas shopping in January and has it all done, wrapped, and ready to go by March please don’t tell me about it. We could never be friends and I would never speak to you again. I am generally a very, very nice person. This, however, is the exception to the rule.

If you don’t have your presents wrapped yet, if you are having a nervous breakdown, I love you to pieces, come sit by me. You are not alone, there’s strength in numbers. Or something like that.

Blessings, Bliss.,and Fa lalalala la la la la…


If you enjoy this blog a donation would be deeply appreciated to help me continue to bring “Maitri’s Heart” to you. Thank you, and many deep blessings to one and all…


  1. The holidays have always been hard for me too. USUally! I’m a procrastinator and a clutter bunny. But somehow this year it isn’t so bad. We’re keeping it simple. Hubby and I exchanged gifts Saturday – just because we both just couldn’t wait any longer like silly kids. I have until noon on Christmas Day to wrap the last 2 presents for the inlaws and they have the Christmas dinner, etc. I don’t know why this year is better. I’m feeling whole. That could change in a flash, but for now I’m truly feeling the joy and peace and know I’m loved and I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I’m looking forward to a new year and new challenges. I am truly blessed. So hang in there friend, sweet sister, I’ll help you hang onto your kite string or we’ll fly together. You are so special to me. Thank you for being YOU. Merry Christmas to all.

  2. Oh Paula, you sweet thing. I just loved reading about the lovely time you had with your husband. I do love Christmas, I really do. You know I got so excited when my kids were young, it’s so much fun with the little ones. But I’ve been alone since 1999 and of course I get together with the kids and their families for Christmas and I just love it. I think it gets hard when you don’t have someone in situ to celebrate with. I didn’t get a tree this year and I will never do that again. I have been very sad without a tree. I never DON’T get a tree but I have honestly been nearly working around the clock and the people who usually help me get one couldn’t and I since I have a hard time going out anyway the hustle and bustle of Christmas at stores and such this time of year is just too much. Since I was born in 1954 I grew up with very different kinds of holidays. Slower, sweeter, you never saw anything about Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving and that made the whole season really special because it was just a condensed period of time. Now when Christmas things are out before Halloween by the time the holiday season gets here one can be weary from it all. I grew up outside St. Louis and my mom would take me to downtown St. Louis when all the big department stores had their windows decorated with the most amazing displays. It was a real treat. I miss the old department stores, I never have liked malls and they are a nightmare for me now, I just don’t go there. I think I am just so old fashioned. Everything in me longs for the old fashioned Christmases but not only are they long past all of the older relatives are gone. No parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles. I am the older generation now. I remember May Sarton writing that she became an orphan at 50 when her father died. She was an only child too so once your parents are gone and all the other relatives, well, I’m getting maudlin and I don’t mean to. My sweet daughter Rachel was here tonight and we had the loveliest time and I have calmed down. Kind of swings between panic and melancholy but I think it’s really not so unusual. It’s one of those times I wish I had a partner to share it with, but truly I am so happy here with my animals. It’s just the holiday time…

    I’m about to get the newsletter out and then go curl up with my my puggeries. Have a wonderful week sweetie. I am sending you so much love…


    • Oh my goodness. I grew up in St. Charles, MO – just over the river from St. Louis. I think Christmas lost most of its magic for me for a long time ago when I found I couldn’t have children. So I better go put the ferrets in their cage and get me to bed too. Hugs hugs hugs

  3. Teresa Myszka says:

    Every January i promise myself to start Christmas shopping earlier. Well yesterday,( December 23) I was out finishing …buying the last gift…i did start earlier, now i just have to work on getting finished sooner. Yesterday, the weather was frightful, torrential rainpour, coming down in sheets, the stores were packed, people were very cranky, the Christmas music that has been playing since after Halloween was jarring my nerves, and i was wet and wild, looking for that last gift..the gift for the person who has everything, doesnt need anything, doesnt want anything, finally found the perfect gift and got in a line that snaked around the store to pay for my purchase. A gentleman standing in line behind me engaged me in conversation, he started with “i made chicken and dumplings yesterday, it was delicious” i laughed out loud. The stress melted away….and yes i did get his recipe.
    Dear, sweet Maitri…..Merry Christmas

  4. writing is a beautiful salvation! writing is my cure, for sure!

    sending hugs and my special cranberry sauce with orange zest


  5. Hang in there Maitri….I know all too well about anticipatory anxiety. Between my dad’s passing, losing my job, and feeling invisible, I who usually adores everything about Christmas, have not put up one thing! No tree, no ornaments, no baking, you get the picture. But I am trying to love myself through this, knowing that it will pass. I will be with my highly dysfunctional family tomorrow, God help me, but I do love them so. Accepting things as they are is the best I can do right now. I will remind myself the real reason for Christmas, which is all about love, and I can do that…no problem. Sending love to you!

  6. Writing is the anchor I always cling to when my ship starts bobbing away from shore right smack dab in the middle of the worst possible storms. So I read your words with a heart full of love and a mind so grateful for the honesty of your writing that I can’t even begin to tell you what it means to me. I’m giving my partner lots of extra attention these days. With his children and grandchildren and twin and all the rest of the rellies all the way over in Australia, his spirits can take a bit of a nosedive in spite of his sunny personality. I’ve let myself off the busy-holiday hook the last few years. As long as I take deep breaths and as long as I read Dulce Domum (that poignant chapter from Wind in the Willows about Mole’s ache for home) every Christmas Eve, I keep my head above the swirling waters.

    Sending you so much love!


  7. I am old-fashioned too (even though my Christmas memories are a mixed bag for sure) and the crowds and malls and noise are too much for me…and even during the holidays, having the best little family ever, I still need lots of breaks and quiet times to myself (as always). The older I get the simpler and quieter (safer) I like it, really…anyway, sending you love and good thoughts from the frozen north (really frozen, with ice sparkling the trees, so pretty!) xxx Lidian

  8. Oh Teresa, I am so sorry honey that you were caught out in all of that, but gracious me! I am in love with the little man with the chicken and dumplings! And if you ask me, that was really your guardian angel in disguise. I think there are angels everywhere just now. 🙂

    I hope you are safe and warm and cozy this Christmas Eve night, and I hope you have a beautiful Christmas Day, and let us know when you make the chicken and dumplings. I’d like a bite!

    Blessings dearheart,


  9. Oh Katya honey special sweet hugs to you too, and again, I miss those days we used to write together in cafes, sweet memories those…

    Have a blessed and beautiful day with your sweet family…


  10. Sweet Donna, you have indeed been through so much honey, but if you accept things as they are, as you say, and remember love, and remember the reason for the season, well honey, you’re miles ahead of many others. Just sitting here with you and the other commenters is such a sweet gift. Often it’s these little things that mean the most, and there are so very many of these…

    Blessings and love honey, and hold on. It is as Julian of Norwich wrote in the 11th century (and it is carved into a sterling silver bracelet I never take off) “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” And so they shall.

    I am sending you so much love…


  11. Oh sweet sweet Cathryn…

    One of the great gifts of this year has been meeting you and I hope we are able to get to know one another better. And bless your sweet partner’s heart, that must be so hard, but then he has you, and I know you are a treasure beyond measure to him. You are there for one another and what a sweet joy that must be.

    And oh… The Wind In The Willows! I will have to look that up and read it! Gracious me how I loved that book when I was young and I haven’t thought about it in ages. What a precious memory and wonderful practice you’ve made of this. I will look it up this week. You know you can be near your loved ones and still have that ache for a home you once had or a home you long for in your heart, one that you perhaps dreamed of long ago, that is so for me.

    I am sending you so much love and a big warm hug and so much more…

    Blessings to you and yours,


  12. Oh Lidian! How wonderful to see you here honey…

    I so know what you mean. My sweet memories are of the Christmases when I was little, all of the old fashioned little things, my beloved grandmother’s little home, she who was my safe person, who has a cozy simple little home. And just all of those memories, and pictures from those years, the 1950’s and 60’s…

    But here we are now, and my children have grown and I have grandchildren and it is a whole new age, and there are beautiful things about this time too, but oh, it means so much to me to be able to talk about these things with other people who understand. I am so glad that you are here, your visit has meant a lot to me.

    Blessings and love dearheart,


  13. This year Christmas rushed by in a whirlwind more than every before it seemed. I could so relate to your post! I did end up getting most everything done but I was up until the wee hours of the morning the whole week of Christmas doing the things I had somehow not found time for earlier in the month (well..I DID have 2 sets of company come stay at the cottage a week after one another..so that is my excuse 😉 ). I never got a single Christmas card out this year, one of the things I had to let go off my list to make things a bit easier. Oh well…at least we are both in good company!

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