The Holiday Season
Updated: Dec 5, 2021
Thanksgiving was over. The dishes were all washed and put away, even the roasting pan was back in the spot where it spends the majority of the year. There had been a fairly large dent put in the leftovers. The company was gone.
It was time for the Christmas decorations to go up. But before I got started on that project, I thought it might be a good idea to sit down and take a break. And that’s when it hit me how tense I was. My shoulders were in knots. I made an effort to relax them before I gave myself a headache.
I was reminded of something my very first yoga teacher, Amy, used to say as she was giving us directions for our next pose. It went something like this, “From table top, make sure your fingers are spread wide and firmly placed, tuck your toes, and lift into your first down dog of the day.” All normal stuff. And then as we paused and got comfortable stretching out our legs, she would continue with “... and don’t wear your shoulders as earrings”. Wait! What? I would always get tickled as I tried to imagine yogis from 2000 years ago saying that, but you know what? That crazy turn of phrase was absolutely spot on.
Like most of us, I tend to carry most of my tension in my shoulders which means they are tight and lifted to within 3 inches from where my ears are. When I do take a moment and realize that I need to relax, it’s almost painful to settle my shoulders down to where they should be.
After about 2.3 minutes of thinking about and actively trying to relax, my monkey mind skipped right back to the Christmas decorations, and then of course it was on to gifts, shopping, greeting cards, wrapping, cleaning, cooking, parties, and the list went on and on.
In the span of another minute, my shoulders were back up at my ears. When did Christmas become a checklist? Do we enjoy it or dread it? Do we take the time to revel in the festivities and activities or do we hope to just survive it all? Do we say “I GET to…” instead of “I HAVE to…”?
I am vowing here and now to get more out of the season this year. I’m not going to merely slog through the activities that no longer suit my life just because it’s what everyone does. I want to participate in the things that are meaningful and enjoyable to me and my family. Christmas is the season of love, and I plan to both give and receive as much love as I can. And I may just treat myself to a different kind of earrings.