The beauty of emotions

December 23, 2015

The holiday season brings up a lot of feelings for a lot of people in a lot of ways:  Happiness in giving and receiving gifts.  Sadness for those no longer with us whom we miss.  Ambivalence about time with family because we’re “supposed” to be together per our culture’s pressures, despite problems and strained relations.  Delight in the decorations and lights that show up only this time of year.  Joy in time spent with those we love and cherish.  Anticipation for a new year and all the hope that brings.  Disappointment and despair over things that happened in the year closing out.  Depression for those all alone.  Longing if not able to be with people we care about or not being at home doing our usual traditions.  The list is endless and a unique blend of them for each of us.


I have had a myriad of emotions myself, as usual.  I have some big joys in my life right now, and I’m keeping that front and center.  And yet, I have some big grief that always shows up this time of year.  My mother died right after Christmas and before my birthday when I was in middle school; my whole family never spent a Christmas together after that, just a few of us at a time if lucky.  I am anticipating a lot and filled with hope for the new year.  I am proud of myself for my accomplishments this year.  I’m sad not to be with special people in my life at Christmas.  


And I’m embracing it all.  The difficult emotions are just as valuable and informative as the lovely ones.  They have something to teach me through the contrast, even year after year, even after all I’ve processed and let go and made peace with; they still show up with something new.  Many people despair at this, wishing it was done for good.  That’s not how emotions work, I’ve learned.  “From the wound a lovely flower grew” (from an old Sting song) is how I’ve come to accept the hard emotions that return.  I see this as a choice I make; when I was younger I definitely chose despair about the losses and difficulties, and all it did was disconnect me from others and myself, and the opportunity to grow and be at peace.


Loving all of it, accepting all of it, loving all of ourselves, accepting all of ourselves is beautiful and the best gift possible at the holidays.  

Love and peace to each of you from my heart and soul to yours.


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