Permission to feel

I was going to write about the few quiet days that I spent on the couch, convalescing after having rolled my ankle while on a beautiful trek. My ankle is better now and I am fairly certain that I have written before, numerous times, about how much we can learn about ourselves when we take a break from the world. Alas, sometimes those breaks are of our own volition, but more often, they are forced upon us.

Now that my ankle has (mostly) healed, what has been on my mind are thoughts about Christmas festivities. Joni Mitchell’s River is on repeat somewhere at the back of my head. No, it does not snow here. It tends to stay pretty green; except, with the recent lack of rain, the grass in our town is looking more like golden hay. As for making lots of money and quitting this crazy scene? Well, I do daydream of a white Christmas. But I’m starting to become tangled in my songs.

I wrote another post about the difficulties I have been experiencing settling into Kiwi summer holiday traditions in the lead-up to our first NZ Christmas, then chose to not publish it from worry that it sounds peevish. I do keep in my mind that at least a few of my friends in the northern hemisphere are already feeling tired of the cold weather. In the interest of maintaining sensitivity and not turning this blog into a platform to whine in Scrooge fashion, I will not venture any further.

What I will tell you, however, is that this year, I am letting go of my usual tendency to try to create the perfect Christmas. This year, Santa will be lucky to have just a few cookies with his glass of milk as a midnight snack on Christmas Eve. I have been staying far away from the hot oven. There are a few other corners that I have been cutting. I normally love Christmas, but this year it does not feel the same. And that is okay. I am giving myself permission to feel incomplete. I am giving myself permission to not watch Love Actually and sing Walking in a Winter Wonderland. I suspect I might end up watching my favourite holiday films and sing beloved Christmas songs in July, in the middle of a NZ winter. And that also is okay.

Dear reader, I am choosing to share this post with you because I know I am not alone in feeling slightly sad at Christmas this year. Some of you have different reasons for feeling that way this season. Whatever those reasons are, wherever in the world you might be reading these words, I hope that you can join me in giving yourself permission to hold space for your emotions and allow yourself to focus on self-care, remembering that only impermanence is here to stay.

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It always helps me, when I experience sadness or anxiety, to go outside for a walk and reconnect with Nature. These vibrant Pohutukawa trees are Nature’s Christmas gift to Kiwis. Due to their timely blooming in December, they are known as the NZ Christmas tree.

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