This year, I’m spending Christmas alone. It wasn’t exactly planned that way but I’m feeling much better about it this morning. Looking at the Emotional Scale (you can get your own *free* copy by signing up), I’m feeling calm, grateful, joyful, relieved, and only a smidgeon of worry…when I let certain thoughts surface.
What a change from the usual frenzy!
More than 20 years ago, by the time Christmas rolled around, hubby and I had attended more than 10 parties already and then proceeded to travel hundreds of kilometers on wintry roads to be with family. Emotionally, I remember feeling mostly excited and abundant but there were moments where I dipped to the lower end of the scale feeling sad, disappointed, overwhelmed, and impatient. I certainly had fun and enjoyed Christmas but I did prefer, and still do, the vibrant energy of the New Year which triggers more uplifting emotions like optimism, curiosity, and enthusiasm. Gotta love those!
Free From Traditions and Expectations
Since those first years as a couple all the way up until now, I’ve always celebrated Christmas with my husband and our two sons. Naturally, when I found out hubby had to work and my sons would each be doing their own thing, I expected to feel sad and nostalgic on the eve and day of.
But… I’m happy to report ’tis honestly not the case!
As I said earlier, I feel calm and joyful and grateful. More importantly though I also feel free. This is a rather fantastic feeling and so new to me! I’m realizing that freedom is an emotion I’ve rarely given myself permission to feel. There are obviously some interesting reasons why it’s been that way – and I’ll be sure to mine this insight in 2016… – but what I feel compelled to share with you is the significance of this gift.
Choosing to feel good in my Christmas solitude has required me to give up attachment to traditions and to what others think. I don’t mean to bash Christmas traditions as a whole but, when you think of it, they do lead to expectations. If I insisted on tightly holding onto tradition and labelled my children “selfish” for not visiting or if I let myself be affected by those who question the quality of my relationships with my sons, I’d be in a knot, whining to whomever had the bright idea to call me today. I would be feeling disappointed, sad, and lonely instead of experiencing this expansive freedom.
Best of all though, I believe that by choosing to let go of the tradition of a family Christmas gathering, I feel that I’ve given my children the freedom to follow the beat of their own heart. Never do I want my boys to visit out of guilt or obligation or tradition. I want us to meet when our emotional energies match because, in those special moments, the best times will surely be had.
I wish you a very Merry Christmas!