May the meaning of Christmas be a reminder that both sorrow and joy are the paths to wholeness.
Christmastime, for some, is filled with hope that the outcome of all the preparation will become beautiful memories connecting with family and friends. For others, it is heartache because loved ones are absent, or there is an obligation to see certain people who dredge up old wounds.
It appears that either side is built on expectations. The hopeful expect their effort will bring forth a wonderful holiday, while the hopeless expect their best attempt at triaging past wounds will get them through the holidays without further emotional pain.
The disappointment behind failed expectations is a reminder that life is unfair. No matter how we show up with integrity, the results do not always make us feel good.
When you think about it, the struggle to control outcomes is stepping into a loop of insanity. The insanity looks like a lot of effort and energy expended outwardly to make something happen or avoid something from happening, so we feel a certain way. The madness is that we cannot control outcomes, no matter how much energy we expend. Whenever we look on the outside to feel good on the inside, feeling bad is inevitable. How long it takes is the only unknown.
The feel-good or the feel-bad are fleeting moments in time. The suffering is from the desire to only feel good. An impossible goal.
We can make ourselves more resilient to the winds of emotion by directing energy inward. Otherwise, we become short-tempered, exhausted, anxious… and so on. That is not the purpose of the season.
How we feel is our guide to what we need to heal. When we try to control outcomes, there are still unhealed memories that we haven’t been able to integrate and accept. Those places where we lack wholeness will keep coming up with intense feelings. The more energy we expend to control negative emotions will eventually lead to disappointment.
Sitting with those hard feelings seems unfathomable. Yet, that is how they subside. Let the intensity wash over you. Do not try to numb the emotions, especially during a time of year where it is easy to become distracted by shopping, cooking, and celebrating. The numbness creates blind spots that cause us to sabotage our lives. On autopilot, we react to the past, creating more of the same rather than being present for a new experience.
In life, there is tremendous sorrow as well as enormous joy. Both are imperative for us to learn who we are and what we want. That is how we become a more authentic self. By facing our pain, we can finally heal old wounds. We each have so much to bring forward by being who we genuinely are. Otherwise, we expend energy fighting against ourselves. How self-defeating is that?
The reality is that when we show up as ourselves, outcomes hold less weight.
May the meaning of Christmas be a reminder that both sorrow and joy are the paths to wholeness. Let Christmastime be the birth of acceptance as a way to find peace within ourselves.