Christmas trees and bell ringers greeted me at the grocery store today, as well as larger throngs of people. After all – “Tis the Season.” As I made my way through the grove of trees in front of the entrance and entered the store, there was an immediate sense of chaos. Children were crying and screaming. Most shoppers had that frazzled, bewildered, almost confused look on their faces, as if they were unprepared for another Holiday season already. My how the year has flown. Elderly, white haired, bedraggled looking women were shuffling along as they pushed their grocery carts, many of them with their elderly husbands in tow – obviously bushwhacked into making the trip in preparation for the annual Thanksgiving food fest…
By the time I got done I felt shell shocked, as if *I* had been bushwhacked – or is that ambushed. I was significantly over stimulated by all the noise, people and chaos. I was in dire need of Silence ~~~~. Maybe Sunday’s post arose because I would need to remember what I wrote! That in the midst of chaos, there *is* inner peace - down there somewhere. In the midst of complexity there is simply awareness – if I just notice. And in the midst of confusion there is an innate sense of stability – if I stand still long enough to feel it. Although, what I feel in the moment is a sense of dread. My heels are already beginning to dig in like a child’s first visit to Santa… What do you mean I need to go sit on that big fat man’s lap in the red suit!! No Mom, please!
Sad but true. The Holidays for me hold a lot of memories that feel like finger nails on a chalk board. You know – that edgy feeling. It’s the usual family memories of unresolved, ready to wear, emotional baggage lurking just beneath the surface. I may be the official Scrooge or Gratitude Grinch here, but “The Season” does not fill me with “good cheer”, and Ho-Ho-Ho’s… And as far as I could tell today, it doesn’t for a lot of other people either. It seems for most of us the stocking stuffers this year are stress, tension, confusion, and chaos – you know the little gifts you get to open *before* the big packages.
So – how to maintain equanimity in the Season of Chaos… Today I decided it would be lots and lots of down time, seriously taking care of myself… Now this may sound selfish, but it’s true. The best way for me to get through this is to seriously nurture myself and do things that nurture my body and feed my spirit. Today’s grocery store wisdom reminded me that I haven’t been doing enough of that! Life has been very intense lately and I have not been taking time to just rest in Awareness – to just Be - to deeply relax, let alone do the things I really enjoy. So this is the prescription I’m writing for myself as we enter the marathon season of chaos:
Do only what needs to be done, and don’t let others determine what that is.
Listen to soothing music.
Cloister myself and spend time in silence at least once a day.
Try to be around people who comfort my heart when it is weary.
Limit time with those who don’t.
Relax as much as possible and don’t take anything too seriously.
Accept my feelings, especially scrooge and grinch.
Practice radical non-resistance to what is.
Stay lighthearted and apply generous doses of humor.
Carry awareness and a heart of wonder in my pocket at all times.
Look for forgotten joys.
Remember that even in the chaos “The Mystery” is still there - expressing Itself…
What about you? What is your recipe for getting through “The Season”?