Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Can You LOVE WHAT IS at Christmas?

Welcome to the December Mindful Mama Carnival: Staying Mindful During the Holiday Season
This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. This month our participants have shared how they stay mindful during the holiday season. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

There is just one phrase that keeps me grounded, centred and mindful during the holiday season:

Love What Is.

There are so many things about Christmas that could bring me down, but I choose to see my circumstances as a welcome opportunity for joy and freedom.

Would Christmas be better if my parents were not separated?  I don't know, but it might be easier in the sense that it would involve just one visit instead of two.  But I choose to Love What Is:  if my parents had not separated 3 years ago, I would not likely have initiated a more positive, connected relationship with either of them.  

Would Christmas be better if I had a relationship with my two brothers?  Sure.  And I'd love to meet my nephew who is just a few months older than Julian.  But I choose to Love What Is:  because of their anger towards me I have had the opportunity to look deep into my own heart, find forgiveness, and learn to love myself.  

Would Christmas be better if one of my daughters didn't have such a competitive attitude towards her sisters when it comes to receiving gifts?  Well, I'd likely enjoy shopping more if I didn't have her criticisms and critiques running through my head!  But I choose to Love What Is:  she is SO GENEROUS with her gifts for her sisters and I appreciate that she values quality over quantity.  

Would Christmas be better if my Partner-Guy's family was more easily able to accommodate the needs of my young family?  It would be busier, anyway!  But I choose to Love What Is:  the relatives are able to celebrate as much as they want without my little ones under foot and my children are able to enjoy their new toys and other acquisitions without having to relocate.

You see, I have spent many, many years dreading Christmas.  I used to feel my stress rise at Labour Day as I held my breathe until Thanksgiving, and then as soon as that was over my blood pressure would climb until Christmas was finally over.  I dreaded all the forced pleasantries and fake gratitude.  I hated pretending that I came from a perfect family when it was so apparent that we were all hurting and broken.  I felt sick about putting my authenticity aside to be a people-pleaser.  And I felt even sicker about making my children put their needs on hold to placate other people.

So now we do the holiday season with only one intent:  to maximize Freedom and Joy for the six of us and to Love What Is.  That which can't be changed, we accept.  That which brings us Joy, we seek.  That which creates greater Freedom for us and others, we choose.

In the true spirit of Love and Peace at Christmas, I choose to show Love and Peace to myself, my Partner-Guy and my children.  

Jasmine, Holly and Anna (Christmas 2009)
Can you let go of what you don't have at Christmas and Love What Is?
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  1. This is such a gift of a blog! I felt such guilt in refusing to go to my partners parents house for the holiday with the kids. They are less than loving to my boys especially my oldest who is not related to them and they create a fissure between my boys and step daughter who they dote on openly making the boys feel horrible. I refuse to put any of the kids through the stress so I am staying put, making gifts by hand, minimizing decorations to sweet and simple and embracing love and family not buying and stress! It is always nice when I find my choices affirmed in your words.

  2. What a great reminder for all of us. I too get frustrated and annoyed with thinking about how I wish things could be- especially with my in-laws. But, loving what IS will really bring more joy to my holiday season. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Patti, very nice post about letting go at Christmas and accepting what is rather than trying to change it or become stressed by it. Well put!

    -Kerry @ City Kids Homeschooling

  4. I love how you see the silver lining in everything!

  5. Great post! This is something I'm really working on this year. I like to think I get better at loving what is as time goes on. My two girls have really started with the competing lately, and it drives me nuts! But they love each other and their brother so much. I love watching them,especially around this time of year. All of the amazement and wonder in their eyes.

  6. Extraordinary post and actually something to follow through with all year round. We all need to stop, breathe, and love what is instead of brooding over what isn't. It is a waste of our emotional space and energy. Thanks for your honesty and insight!

  7. Thank you for participating in the Mindful Mama Carnival.

    Thank you for this reminder. I agree. Making the choice to love what is does allow you to increase the joy and freedom. Instead of spending time feeling sad for the lack, you can focus on all that you have (or don't have.) I think where I get hung up is equating loving what is with being complacent or giving up. It's not the same thing at all. It simply means being happy while continuing to strive for the best. It means distilling your life down to your priorities.

    All of this is especially hard for the holidays.

    Also, I'm totally stealing "love what is" and "I choose to love what is" to use for my mantras when needed.

  8. Yes, yes, yes! Loving what is can be so life changing and a wonderful place to start and/or end when faced with life challenges or circumstances less than initially desirable. :) Enjoy the holidays, Patti.

  9. I love it! Yes, I am going to let go of what I don't have, and love what is! There are so many reasons to love what is, it's silly to focus on the negatives. Thank you for this glorious reminder!


  10. That is a truly beautiful phrase: Love what is. I might have to put it up on my fridge! Like you, I used to go through a similar holiday fret, but mine started after Halloween. Amazing how just changing perspectives can change so much inside and around us. Thanks for sharing this and reminding me to love what is :)
    Happy Holidays!!

  11. Yes..."love what is"....nevermind what the rest of your families want or NEED at Christmastime...the time of year when perhaps we MAKE TIME for those we love, but have not been able to appreciate because of life's demands..DESPITE how "inconvenient" it may be! I fail to see the heartfelt WARMTH in your writings!.... Everyone's looking for an "excuse"!!....an excuse NOT to partake or make somebody else's day better...but to focus on SELF!!