Monica J. Griffith

We are in the thick of the holiday season and while it is one of my most favorite times of the year, I realize that I do not always feel this way and I’m not alone!

Then, I ask myself: How can people not be merry and jolly and loving and grateful during this season?

Is it possible people are overwhelmed? Maybe caught up in unrealistic expectations or intense soul-searching or comparison thinking? Has ‘the way it’s always been’ become more than we can (or want) it to be now? Did someone we love, someone close to us leave and now there is an empty place at our table? Has the commercialism of the season become more than we can financially bear – yet, keeping up with the ‘Jones’ is still the expectation….

Maybe we just have this lonely or sad experience for a day, a few days or a week. Maybe it is the way we now journey mark the calendar from November to January.

I can only tell you my story – because we each do have a story to tell. Yes, this is one of my most favorite seasons.

I love the smells of holiday baking and cooking. I delight in going through my cookbooks, looking for the perfect holiday dinner and desserts and treats. I am completely energized in the planning phase! I count back the days until I need to have my baked goodies packaged and ready for mailing. I create my grocery list, checking everything off several times – and still, I need to make additional runs to the store.

While we no longer put up a live Christmas tree – I still love the scent of pine, of the cold and crisp air that comes with the Colorado snow. I even enjoy the scent of the furnace when it comes on for the first time of the year. And the candles, oh the cinnamon, pine, and mistletoe wax burning aromas!

And the sounds of the season – the Christmas carols (I do wait until after Thanksgiving to play these!), the sounds of snow shovels on the drive ways and walks, the kids sliding their way to school on the icy sidewalks. The stillness of the world late at night when snow is silently floating to earth.

I delight in the sights as well. The twinkling of thousands of lights decorating neighborhoods bathing the world in warmth. Green wreaths accented in bright red ribbons placed on doors and light posts. Pathway lighting that flickers as if they are candles fluttering in the breeze. And the children – particularly those who are anticipating the arrival of Santa. The innocence of the little ones as they experience the delights in their world.

And then – the stress or sadness or loneliness sets in. Sometimes, it can only be described as ‘the blues’.

I am tired. I feel empty. Expectations seem to overwhelm me. I can’t do it all – and worst – I don’t want to! I miss my family who are many miles away. They are celebrating together, and I am here. I miss my Dad, who is no longer on this earth and I can’t talk to him or hear his laughter or seek his advice. I don’t have enough money to shower my kids and grandkids with gifts. I don’t want to go out into the crowds of people celebrating with family and friends. If I watch another Hallmark movie I think I’ll become nauseous!

What is it? This dark cloud that has encapsulated me? Where is the Merry Christmas now? What is it that everyone is so in high spirits about? Can’t they see I am suffering? What am I going to do now?

Whatever my (or your) reason for not being merry it is my (or your) reason and my (or your) reality!

And, here’s the thing – I live there, for a little while. I think we all do. And, for me, the important thing is to see that I am dwelling in a place that is stressful or sad or lonely. That is not where I want to be – not during this season or ever – for very long.

So, becoming aware of it and then shifting to what is more important, to what has meaning for me in my life, is much more appealing. I don’t like being sad or the numbness of being lonely or feeling stress. That is not how I want to be or be known!

My intentions are to be a loving family member (even hundreds of miles away); to be a contributor to my community (delighting in my volunteer work); to be a masterful coach (supporting others in their life’s journey); to be spiritually developing (living the real meaning of this season).

When I become aware of what is getting in the way of my joy and shift the focus of my attention to the Intentions of my life – I have a purpose! I make a difference! It is important that I participate in the best way I can with my life. Set aside the stress, the sad, the lonely and the ‘blues’. I will take one small, sweet step in life.

Christmas may not be merry for everyone – I know that sometimes it’s not for me. Nevertheless, I am armed with good intentions and when I do the things that fulfill my purpose here, the merry returns.

Do you know your Life’s Intentions? Do you know what a difference you make? Are you willing to discover what has real meaning and relevance in your life and begin to live the life you were meant to live? Are you ready to put at least a little merry back in Christmas?