(Scenting the boughs with spruce and fir…)
It is an amazing year for me. There are important changes on the horizon but the biggest shift for me right now is entering the holiday season for the most part at peace, at ease, with a wondrous sense of joy and excitement. I have heretofore been shuddering with a kind of unease and fear about the holidays as we passed Thanksgiving and headed toward Christmas, not knowing what to buy, spending too much, or the last couple of years since the fire having very little to spend. But this year I am filled with a kind of sweetness toward the coming holidays and that will have been the greatest gift of all.
Yesterday I bought a couple of tiny things to go with my small gifts and it tickled me all to bits. And today I ordered the baby gift for the new baby growing in his or her mama’s belly that we will celebrate with a baby shower 2 days after Christmas. My eldest daughter will arrive with her family the day after Christmas so she and her husband and little ones can have Christmas at home while my son and daughter-in-law, with the bun in the oven, will be here in time to celebrate Christmas with us. There will be lots of good food, family, and fun and the days leading up to it will be full of the rare gifts of the season. Here is what I am listening to over and over just now, the Christmas concert by my favorites, Celtic Woman, with all of their wonderful Christmas carols in a wonderful concert setting they did a few years ago. A great way to celebrate the season with my favorite music playing in the background…
For me, these last months in therapy doing EMDR have been miraculous and brought me through hard places in my life as a bipolar woman with serious PTSD, agoraphobia, anxiety, and more, and I know this is why this Christmas season is a gentler time for me. I have been doing regular weekly therapy for months in this powerful healing modality and lifted some of the worst trauma that I usually wear like a cloak around my shoulders as I have walked into these weeks. I had a session yesterday and told my therapist that I was amazed at how much better I feel than I usually do this time of the year. She agreed that I had done an amazing lot of work and she congratulated me on having done the work. It is very much a joint effort but something that she said that I did.
EMDR is a hard thing to describe to people hence the link to the website but suffice it to say, in layman’s terms, that it desensitizes one to past traumas so that memories have a neutral effect if they are there at all, and it changes the tenor of our life so that we can walk through our days with a greater sense of ease and ability to handle stress. My therapist also gives me affirmations and breathing techniques to help me — I have post-it notes with affirmations stuck up all around me — and I practice them daily, many times a day. It is a lot of work on the part of the patient, guided by a skilled and caring clinician, and I thank God every day that I have found such a wonderful one.
To approach the holiday season without fear is such a huge deal to me I cannot tell you. I used to shake with fear and pray that it would be over soon. This year I am not without my moments but I have tools to use to get through them, and therapy sprinkled throughout the weeks. I can listen to carols and plan tiny gifts and small celebrations and even phone calls with family with delight, something that I couldn’t do even last year, and the guilt added to the fear when one can’t happily spend the holidays with family with a modicum of Christmas cheer further dampens one’s spirits. This year I am happy. You’ve no idea what it means to type those words. This.year.I.am.happy. Praise God!
So on I go with little plans and dreams and good cheer filled with a sense of wonder over it all. Life is not perfect, nor could it ever be. I am still a nightmare of a housekeeper, and work at Pastiche which I dearly love in a little circle of my desk that is clear nearly buried by books, notebooks, art supplies, and more, but I am even having a gentler attitude toward all of that which used to send me into a terrible panic. I do my best and let go of the rest.
I hope you are finding your way into the season with a quiet joy dear one, at least some days, at some times. Hold focus with those moments, relax, and let them spread. One set of affirmations my therapist has me do is: *I’m loved/I’m cared for/I have my needs met.* These have helped me a lot. More recently she gave me a set of 2 exercises that I have repeated so many times I’ve longsince lost count and they have helped me more than I can begin to say — *I can create safety for myself./I can take care of myself.* Powerful affirmations indeed and they are lifechanging for me. I offer them to you with love.
May the season continue on gently and with grace. May you find peace and hold it close…