One of the gifts I gave last year were Gratitude Jars. They were simply Mason jars with fabric tops and a sign explaining how, throughout the year, whenever you felt gratitude, to write that event out on a piece of paper and put it into the jar. Then, as the year draws to a close, you open the jar and read them. My jar is pretty crammed full at this point.
Christmas time is full of rituals. I watch the movie “Polar Express” when I decorate my tree. My family goes to Christmas Eve service at our family church, followed by a drive to see all the festive lights. We open one gift on Christmas Eve. My dad says the Christmas prayer as we all hold hands in a circle. Before opening gifts, we search for the mercury pickle ornament in the tree. Rituals are the backbone of traditions, really, and they are what make the holiday feel whole.
With the Gratitude Jar I created a new ritual in my life, to serve me on my path of living the life I desire for myself. This year I also set aside a specific time for writing. Obviously, I love writing these articles, and I’m thrilled to have carved out this special time to celebrate that love in my life. It feeds my soul to do what I love. So, do you have time carved out to celebrate the life you desire living? Perhaps it’s time to bake with your children? Or it’s a Saturday morning to spotlight a new book? Are you able to get in that walk or run that you crave, to keep your body looking how you desire? Maybe you volunteer at a food bank to feel that sense of charity? Whatever calls to you- do you have a ritual built into your life to honor and celebrate it?
Typically, there is a lot of rushing in preparation for all that goes into an amazing holiday. Having rituals helps invoke that deeply contented energy into everything else you are doing. I’m a big believer that the energy you build something on will determine its success. If you build your life on the foundation of frenzy, it will never be stable. Perhaps that’s why I’m such a planner? I want that calm, intentional energy to go into as much of my life’s foundation as possible. Truth be told, I lead a pretty intentional life. I only have jobs I love, I only hang out with people I genuinely like, and I always make time to do what I enjoy. There is little drama; no swirling, frantic energy, and thus there is less overwhelm. It suits me.
So, as we approach this ultimate day of giving and receiving, what ritual will you uphold? Perhaps you’ll expectedly cast yourself as the disappointment? Perhaps you’ll wear the hat of family eccentric? Perhaps you’ll embrace your role as the moody brooder? Maybe you’ll act out the façade of, ‘I’ve got it all together.’ Or, perhaps your ritual is to share in your truth? Perhaps you’ll break a pattern and reach out with a hand of love, and not reactivity, as you converse with a previously troubled relationship? Or perhaps you’ll wear the inner smile of acceptance as you stand in front of the mirror in your holiday finest? The life you carve out for yourself is the one you will have. No one else decides it, no matter what your past. It’s all in you to decide.
There have been so many coaching sessions that have ended with my client saying, “I just need to call her, and not hold judgment, but just embrace her with the love I feel for her.” As I sit here writing this with my little dog curled up on my lap, my feet on the ottoman, next to my sparkling Christmas tree, in my cozy living room; I am smiling, because it’s really that simple. Love those you love, no matter how you think they feel about you. Be the you that breathes inside of you, no matter what breathes inside another. If there is any time of year that can start a ritual like that, it’s Christmas.
I wish you all a joyous Christmas with the gift of full acceptance for all you hold in your heart. Celebrate this day, and your family, for all that they both mean to you.