Merging the Season of Thanks into the Season of Light
November’s Season of Thanks generously shares its energy of appreciation. As we now turn toward December’s Season of Light, we fuse together gratitude’s momentum with the energy of cherish. Sophie, a coaching client, craves a December celebration incorporating Peace, Love and Joy. Challenges this year have stressed her grieving body, mind and spirit. She shares her vulnerable feelings with coach to help her create a new outlook. Sophie learns that time may not erase or heal all grief.
Grief expert Edward T. Creagan, M.D. says,
“Time helps, but it might not cure. Time lessens the acute, searing pain of loss and makes red-hot emotions less painful — but feelings of loss and emptiness may never completely go away. Learning to accept and embrace a new ‘normal’ may help reconcile losses.”
“My dad passed away a few months ago. He suffered chronic conditions affecting mobility and mindset. He lived in constant pain and didn’t have kinds words – nothing was good enough. His mind drifted and concept of time was skewed. Family refused to help, so I was his primary caregiver.
Dad and I argued about how I made coffee or folded clothes. He would yell and accuse me of being late, even though it was a made-up doctor’s appointment existing only in his mind. I returned home confused and exhausted. Now that he’s gone, I’m relieved but also feel guilty and sad. I wake up not knowing what I should do. I’m off-kilter. I feel scattered in every direction. My head and heart are all twisted up.“
Sophie’s Holiday Dream Board
“I have created a Holiday Dream Board. In the center of the board is “Cherish”. Cherish for me means to honor and appreciate myself and others with tenderness and respect. Photos and quotes illustrate the word’s significance. Here are highlights and ideas:
1. See my light.
Since cherish expands my gratitude bucket, I am learning to see life as a series of moments to hold dear. Can I shine light onto the heaviness of my story? Yes, it’s time to turn my viewpoint around so I can play with life – not run from its burdens. I cannot self-medicate with anger, blame, denial and resentment.
“To shine your brightest light is to be who you truly are.” -Roy T. Bennett
2. Find the warmth of music.
My heart cherishes holiday music. I plan to attend a live concert and relish traditional songs to lift me up. No doubt I’ll be the loudest singer in the group!
“One thing I love about Christmas music is that it has a tradition of warmth.” – Zooey Deschanel
3. Re-discover the holidays.
Without mom and dad, holiday festivities won’t be the same. It may take a while to re-orient my celebrations from melancholy to cheerful. I will seek self-compassion to orient me out the old and into the new.
“I’ll be seeing you In all the old familiar places that this heart of mine embraces…all day and through” -Billie Holiday
4. Tune into my body.
I want to cherish my body with relaxation. At the moment, it’s probably best to start off with a massage to see what parts of me need attention. From now on I commit to listening to aches and pains from a place of tenderness instead of frustration.
“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”– Buddha
5. Connect with friends.
I’m emotionally ready to cherish my friends again. Because the tradition of sending holiday cards is slowly disappearing, I’m going to send cards. I want them to know how much they mean to me. Cherishing messages sound like this:
• May you cherish beauty and the joys of the season.
• Please know how much I cherish you and our friendship.
“The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.” — Hubert H. Humphrey
6. Clear my mind.
I didn’t realize how much I think about my dad. It’s as if he lives in my head. My mind carries a living photo album of his house and belongings. For the holidays I intend to relinquish worn-out mental habits. I want to create new cherished experiences. Today I will toss the sleeping pills so new dreams can show up! I’m tired of numbing my head.
“Clear your mind. Your heart is trying to tell you something.” – Unknown
While Sophie is off to a wonderful start with her fresh mission to cherish the holidays, let us explore how to cherish ourselves by asking:
- Do I cherish myself?
- What parts of me do I hold dear?
- Can I understand that the act of cherishing infuses my spirit with joy?