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Filtering by Category: Holidays
Am I (with the best of intentions!) gearing up to survive this season? Or am I setting myself up to thrive?
Maybe the answer to this question is obvious to you, but if you're like me, you're not always sure; survival-mind is so deeply normalized by our culture today that we often don't realize when we're caught in its grip. Hyper-consumption (the f.o.m.o. fomented by Black Friday, Cyber Monday... the belief that eating and drinking well past the point of our body's comfort or health means we're in sync with the "holiday spirit"...), overspending and over-commitment, and habitual people-pleasing are just a few ways in which we perpetuate and naturalize survival-mindset, that deep-grooved network of beliefs that whispers there's not enough, more is better, and that's just the way it is.
You know you're in survival mindset if you're bracing for the days ahead. You know you're in survival mindset if you're letting yourself off the hook with regard to self-care (eating well, sleeping enough, honoring your boundaries and priorities) in the name of being festive, fun, a "good friend" or a "good host." You know you're in survival mindset if you're striving for perfection, if you're spending more time thinking about what others will think of your efforts than you spend enjoying those efforts along the way, and if you're responding to feelings of overwhelm by shifting into auto-pilot, that slightly numb state of being in which we tell ourselves that the delayed reward of "getting it all done" justifies the edgy cortisol high we're riding through a sea of seemingly endless tasks.Read More
As mammals, we instinctively face the cold dark by simultaneously conserving and sharing. By turning inside and reaching out. Like foxes and bears and squirrels, we stay put in nature’s darkest hour. We move inward. We shelter. We become quiet. We burrow into memory and reflection: prayer, the lighting of candles, rituals of silence and observation. And we also gather. Like penguins, who press themselves into a circle of contiguous heartbeats to counter the arctic night, we too draw our bodies nearer to others’ at this time of year: congregations of singing and sermon, feasts with family and friends, long snuggles under blankets and bedclothes… This pirouette from dark to light, from what hurts to what heals, is, I believe, the condition of gratitude: a deeply human, perhaps deeply animal, confrontation of our own fragility and mortality coupled with the recognition of our potential for tenderness, healing, and love.Read More