I wanted to be sure of you...
This morning I went to out to breakfast, and as I sat to enjoy my piping hot coffee and eggs, a young man came into the restaurant. He was probably in his 20’s. He was filthy from head to toe with deep settled grime—the kind of dirt that comes not from hard work but from wearing the same clothes for weeks and not washing your body. It was difficult to observe the filth of his fingernails left unattended for months or even years. His face was scarred, and his twitching and wild eyes made it clear that his life force had been relinquished to a cycle of drug abuse. He was ravenously hungry and completely out of place, but not unexpected, in the small neighborhood coffee shop. He was seated within my sight line, and every time I looked anywhere except down at my plate, I could see him struggling to get his food to his mouth while his body trembled.
Immediately before I left my warm cozy home for the restaurant, I was playing with my one-year-old grandson, marveling at his bright eyes and curiosity with the world. I was observing his love and adoration for his parents, his gentle laugh, and the emotional and physical safety that surrounds him. I was thinking about all of the unspoken dreams about who he may one day become.
As I watched the guy at the restaurant, I was reminded that no child thinks, “I hope to be ravaged by addiction when I am in the prime of my life” or “I hope to be isolated from family, friends, love, and safety in my adult life.” I thought about how he too is someone’s son, grandson, brother and maybe even a former boyfriend, student, or teammate. I was reminded of how much grief they must feel about their loss. I tried to imagine him at an earlier time in his life when he too giggled easily and felt emotional and physical safety.
This holiday season, remember that yes, this is the time when the promise of miracles and magic seem just within our reach. Also remember that feelings of grief and disappointment are close to the surface. For each of us, the darkness is highlighted by the bright lights. Our sadness and isolation are silently and sometimes not-so-silently shouldered within the sounds of joy.
So enjoy and celebrate and be kind, be patient, hold space, and within it all, allow yourselves to be Piglet, Pooh, or both, sometimes checking to see who is there and sometimes just being there.
Tis the season to be jolly, but at anytime your coworker, a member of your team, or your neighbor—maybe even yourself—may have nerves that are a little more raw, a temper that’s a bit shorter, or may just show up a little quieter or more reserved. A smile, a kind word, a nod or even just a bit of space can just let someone know they can be sure of you, and that can make all the difference during this time.
We’ve been sold a bill of goods, and that is the story about how if we are good enough, clever enough, meditate enough, say enough affirmations, or bake enough homemade cookies, joy and abundance can be ours. But here is the truth: joy and abundance is truly about being able to experience the full range of emotions, to show up as life presents itself, and then to know how to bring yourself back to soul center—the place where peace exists.
Take time, acknowledge your feelings, nod to the one who needs reassurance, hold space for yourself, and laugh and love fiercely.
Happy week of giving thanks!
P.S. Having a hard time finding your soul center? So did I, until I created my “let-go list.” I developed my let-go list for the times when I am feeling so adrift that I’m not sure how to get out of the spin inside my head and to come back to center. In those times, I know I can simply look at my list and do the thing that feel most attractive or easiest in the moment. My list includes simple things that restore me to my soul center. Here is my most current list:
Write in a journal
Go to the ocean
Eat healthy foods
Be with horses
Care for my garden
Care for my finances
Send love to my daughters
Identify five things I’m grateful for