Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sunday Scribblings #31 - Holiday Memories

I'm really having a hard time making people understand.
Getting them to see why I feel as I do about the holidays.

It's not that I didn't have everything I needed growing up,
or that "Santa" didn't bring me what I wanted.

There were many Christmas traditions - baking and decorating cookies
(and then stealing them from the freezer before they were delivered!),
watching the Santa Claus Parade on TV,
having my picture taken with Santa Claus
decorating the tree,
receiving cards in the mail,
Toblerones at Swiss Chalet,
visiting my grandparents and relatives,
Frosty the snowman on TV,
performing in Christmas plays at church.

I'm not complaining about my past.

I'm simply talking about the present.
And in the present, the whole Christmas thing doesn't work for me
(for the reasons mentioned in my previous post)

That's it.
So I do have good memories about the holidays.
I just don't really have room for the artificial and
guilt laden "traditions" that seem to be part of the holidays at this point in my life.

Remember this TV show? That's a good memory....

It might seem that I'm making things more complicated than they need to be.
From where I I sit, I'm just living my truth.
You know why?
I feel more honest when I am living in a transparent way,
not hiding my thoughts and feelings,
not pretending.

Perhaps it seems strange that I wouldn't follow the crowd,
that I would follow my own instincts for happiness.

I have learned from many a strong and wild woman that this indeed is not odd.
A difficult way of living, yes, but honourable.

Take Jungian analyst and cantadora storyteller Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés,
author of number 1 New York Times best-seller,
Women Who Run with the Wolves (Ballantine Books, 1992).

In an online article in Radiance Magazine (by Isabella Wylde), Pinkola Estés talks about living with integrity.

She explains how our egos interfere with our instinctual nature by convincing us of false paths.

"We take a job we hate for the money we love,
think that if we just do something,
that somehow life will be made miraculously better
(i.e., buy gifts, act happy, eat turkey - my words, italics and bolding ).
That's the kind of out-of-boundary that most people struggle with".

Pinkola Estés goes on to say that

"If you don't have a sense of the instinctual nature,
then sometimes you are outside of your own cycles rather than in them".

"The cycles are birth, light, and energy, and then depletion, decline, and death.
Then incubation and new life comes. Cycles, that is how we are supposed to meet everything," she emphasized.
"Our children, our work, our lovers - everything goes through that cycle. There is the time to say that is enough, to incubate, and then to come back with new energy and new life again.

"And when a woman is in that mystical and practical sensibility called the instinctual nature,
then she knows when it is time to make things live and time to let things die", she says.

So, maybe this whole rejection-of-christmas-thing is part of a huge cycle.
Like my moods and menstrual cycles and the moon and sun and seasons and planetary elements.
And it's up to me to judge when it's time to let that tradition
or live
or die
or come into rebirth.

Not to jump on the holiday celebration bandwagon is to risk
being considered a "scrooge", "grumpy" or
a million other
judgmental labels.
But fortunately I've learned not be
concerned about
what others think.
I had to let go of people-pleasing to preserve myself a few years back.

Pinkola Estés affirms this for me when she says

"The injunction in our culture is to 'be perfect,' which is ridiculous, impossible, and not only that - it is boring!
Perfection means that you have to be totally still, that nothing can ever change.
To live that way would be disastrous."

I love moving
I hate being totally still
I hate consistency - it's the last refuge of the unimaginative (Oscar Wilde)

A few final words of advice from Pinkola Estés:

1) Be friendly but never tame.
2) Misbehave with integrity.
3) Don't let the bastards grind you down!

Rock on sister.


  1. i TOTALLY feel your thing jelly bean!

  2. Oh, yes. And it sounds much easier than it is...nice follow-up.