The fairy tale of Christmas
Since I was very little I remember looking forward to the Christmas period as a magical time. I was looking forward to receiving presents and I was fed religious stories, as my parents were practicing catholic, so I was believing in baby Jesus being born in a stable and the rest of it …
I was also believing that it was baby Jesus bringing me presents rather than Father Christmas or Santa Klaus, but growing up I soon realised that it was very likely to be a story made up by adults, especially when one year I caught my mum sneaking in my bedroom at night on Christmas eve leaving my presents at the foot of my bed, that was the moment of truth! That marked the beginning of the disillusion period when little by little all the stories that I had been fed for years came up in the open and revealed not to be true, alas!
I personally think that aware parents could avoid perpetuating this cruel feat on their children, I really think there is nothing worse and as damaging for a child as lying to him/her, honest! I also don’t think that the intention behind the lying is a good one either, much more real and appealing stories could be told children like for instance ancient traditional stories connected to the natural realm rather than having to feed them necessarily religious stuff. Winter is definitely a magical season or it can be especially when it snows.
The burden of Christmas
Apart this disappointing side of Christmas, what I can remember from time immemorial was seeing my mum being stressed and run down during the month of December because she was burdened with all the organising that she had to do to stand up to the tradition: what would be cooked, who would be invited on Christmas day, presents to buy, etc. etc. I remember this being the only time when I could see my mum crying and being more short tempered than normal and I couldn’t understand why this was going on …
Now with hindsight it is obvious to me that being in that state was the result of many factors all coming together at the same time and that it was all explainable. When I started having a clue of what was going on I also started feeling some relief and learnt how to help and console my mother, that made me feel less powerless. December is simply the darkest time of the year in the Northern hemisphere, so that alone was possibly the culprit of feeling low and more prone to negativity. To that I have to add the fact that my mother, like many others around the world, was still completely conditioned by traditional patriarchal customs, therefore she was left with very little space for herself and behaved as she had very little right to establish what she wanted in her life, forget about giving the old stuffy traditions that had ruled for so long the elbow, it was simply unthinkable, or at least for a woman like my mother.
Fortunately I was born a rebel so I stood a little more chance to be successful at breaking the status quo, even if I didn’t even understand what the status quo was when I was a child! If something seemed awkward to me, I would intuitively leave it aside and looked for something closer to my interests and feelings, it was as simple as that and I started questioning everything systematically during my teen years.
I soon realised that I wouldn’t see my father in tears during the Christmas time, he was all relaxed and looking forward to having the usual ritual of the festivities being perpetuated, of course he didn’t have much to do to make all that happen, besides sitting at the table, eat and putting the world to rights in the presence of the relatives who would join us for the occasion. Me starting questioning all his opinions didn’t go down very well and at times transformed the dinner table more into a battle field rather than a peaceful place where to rally with relatives and be merry!
Well, my father was a born rebel too in his own way, so I suppose he got in me a brave heart to oppose him rather than the ideal obedient daughter, but he didn’t seem to appreciate it very much. Now thinking of some of my memories of that time I can’t but crack up laughing and admire the rebel in me showing up in the world timidly at first, but steadily increasing with time. So in a nutshell I would say that the end of the year was never a quiet and peaceful time for me while I was growing up and even when I left home and I was either travelling or later living in UK there was never that time of peace and quiet that I always intuitively thought it should be, just the opposite.
Nature shows us that winter is time to wind down and rest therefore we, as part of nature too, should do the same and take stock of what we have done so far and review things, rather than going into a frenzy of goal setting, partying like mad and by doing so jeopardising our health with over indulgence at a time when we tend to be naturally the least active, therefore having less chance to burn all those extra calories. It just seems to me that we are all hijacked by consumerism in all senses and instead of saying no to it and resume a bit of sanity we just go along happily, not really thinking of the high toll to pay for all of this. I include myself in all of this because even if I tend to have a very calm time in December and am out of ‘The Christmas machine’ I still live in this society and somehow by doing so I am touched and influenced by everything that goes on in this time of the year like everybody else: no man/woman is an island!
Sharing few thoughts
Why am I sharing all this, you might think, the reason being very simple: I woke up on 1st January feeling more thankful than normal and having the desire to share my thoughts with you for no other reason than it might be useful to you too …
This past month was for me very challenging in different ways, so no change on that front according to the season trend that I explained above, but this year I must have been weaker than normal and my immune system opened the gate to some unfriendly bugs that found my body an appealing residence and settled in for some time, it is never a short time!
When we lose our physical faculties, even for a short period of time, we always feel tested and under the weather and I felt like a weathercock gone mad in the wind for few weeks and then ended up in horizontal position, because I couldn’t stand any more. Resting in such a situation is never a choice or an idyllic place to be, our mind starts racing with strange ideas and our demons come out of the closet all at once and life loses all its appeal.
Situations like these are always good to reevaluate things and press the reset button. So when I opened my eyes on 1st January and felt like the old me and even felt a bit of optimism looming at the horizon, even if it was another grey day after a whole week of them, I felt like in paradise, oh joy oh glory, this is nice, I thought!
I felt more than normal very grateful for everything I have got in my life: my home, my friends, family, partner, all those experiences that pleasant or unpleasant made me who I am today and all those experiences that I haven’t experienced yet and are waiting in line to fill my life so that I can become even more the person I want to be and just one word was in my mind: thank you!!
I went for a walk outside in nature, the first one in over ten days and my mind started working again and feel more balanced. The energy started flowing in my body and I remembered how it feels to be normal, just wonderful!! Winter is not an easy season in all sorts of ways and, if we fall ill, it becomes even more difficult and challenging. Soul searching when our mental faculties are okay can be demanding, but when our mind is lacking clarity because we are sick, introspection can be hell. I paid a visit to hell for a while this past December and am so grateful that slowly I feel like writing again, a breath of fresh air for me!
Whatever might be our experience of the festivities, to remind ourselves to be kind to ourselves first to increase self-compassion so to be the best we can be is a very useful thing to remember when we feel gasping for air because we feel at the end of our rope and there is no tomorrow, we all have been there once or twice … This will be my mantra this year: compassion and kindness first towards myself and then the rest of the world. Happy new year boys and girls, may 2019 teach us the lessons that we need to learn the most!
Love and hugs from The Flying Witch