Friday, December 19, 2014

My Christmas Letter

I've almost lost touch with Christmas, this annual rite of hospitality and generosity.  Kind of wanted to ignore the whole thing, but a blogger friend wrote a Christmas letter, so I decided to Christmas is a good time to reflect and write my own thoughts down.

I've never been one to write Christmas letters.  I don't even like getting them.  Most of the ones I read are far too breezy to feel real.  Well.  Here's my stab at this little ritual. Doubt I'll make it an annual event.  File it wherever you like.

Merry Christmas.  Yes, it's bearing down on me, and instead of preparing this house for the cat sitter or wrapping gifts I'm rambling on here.  2013 was challenging.  Best hurried through. 2014, on the other hand, has been a blessing.  A stranded-on-a-desert-island-with-no-one-but-your-monkeys-on-your-back kind of blessing.  Did lots of exterior work on the house. New bench.  New door.  New landscaping.  New curb appeal.

What does this have to do with my blessing.  Nothing.  Well, maybe it's a reflection of it.

My Year

January and February 2014.  On the inactive list because of shoulder surgery.  With plenty of time, I ponder.  My past.  My future.  I love my life.  I really do. I am not mourning my married life.  Except at holidays, I revel in being single.  However. There is this lingering insecurity, this anxiety about my worth, my legacy, my emotional welfare.

March 2014.  I name this lingering insecurity the 'feeling felt' void.  Yes, it's been nearly a decade since I have felt felt.  You know, when someone really knows you through and through and loves the pants off you?  Well, now that I'm not expecting that kind of male companionship, girlfriends will be my loving community, right?  Oh, dear.  I do not make friends easily.  I need a Friendship Coach. 

April 2014.  I write about Anam Cara.  In Celtic tradition, an Anam Cara is a teacher, companion or spiritual guide. With the Anam Cara you can share your innermost self to reveal the hidden intimacies of your life, your mind and your heart. Readers, you're my Anam Cara. My Friendship Coach is, too.

May 2014.  I stop protecting myself, pretending I am well adjusted.  I'm not! I have difficulty loving myself.  Difficulty feeling my own feelings.  I am off putting, aloof at times.  Who cares that I'm 61.  I have Mommy issues!  So I start telling about my mother.  I stop protecting the memory of that childish woman who drank and yelled and expressed contempt for everyone but herself.  The one who blamed her husband and her children for spoiling her destiny.  Oh, yes, I was one meek daughter, and I've become one meek adult post widowhood.

June, July 2014. I start identifying the monkeys on my meek little back and begin picking them off.

August 2014.  I start putting myself at ease around people, whatever it takes (no liquor).  I fight my habit to put everyone else at ease (read: mother) before I even think about letting myself feel at ease.  On vacation in my RV in Maine, I truly relax.  My spirit rests in the vastness of the sky filled with stars, in the gentle rhythm of 28 foot tides, in the distance of neighbors' campfires, in the absolute quiet of the wilderness.  I reach out to an interesting couple my age.  We have a splendid time relaxing and chatting!  New friends to visit next time I'm in Maine!

September, October 2014.  Continuing my meek search for friendship, bicycling with a nice group of people, going out to lunch afterwards.  Make some headway, never feeling quite at ease the way I did in Maine.  Budding friendships on hold now, to be resumed next spring.  Busy buttoning up my property for the winter.  Finding additional support for my aging father. 

November 2014.  With winter bearing down, no time for socializing.  Wait a cotton picking minute! My Friendship Coach insists.  You're abandoning yourself, just like your mother abandoned you.  I resolve to stop being unkind to myself.  It's just so c-o-m-f-o-r-t-a-b-l-e.

December 2014.  I resolve to notice, to take heed of my feelings.  Learn from them, and address my needs.  I'm not your typical person on my suburban street, yet I have every right to feel at ease.  People like me.  There's no competition. I stop trying to be 'not me', stop believing only a Super Size personality gets the cheese.  Though I don't quite see it yet, I'm a benefit to all.  I was invited here.  Well, not by my mother, but you know that already.  I am free to be at ease, even as others (think mother) are spinning out of control.

"I used to think that to become free you had to practice like a samurai warrior, but now I understand that you have to practice like a devoted mother of a newborn child. It takes the same energy but has a completely different quality. It's compassion and presence rather than having to defeat the enemy in battle." — Jack Kornfield, The Question

If you've made it this far, Thank you for reading.

I wish you a bright and merry Christmas,
Lots of love and many

   ))) hugs (((    


  1. I love your Jack Kornfield quote.

    You are a brave woman,putting your emotional self out there for your Christmas card list people to see. But I suppose that is something a friendship coach would advise all of us to so, not hold back, be authentic with ourselves and others. Have a good holiday!

  2. Have a good holiday, too. Just read your comment again. Believe me, this letter isn't going out in the mail! Yikes! I feel safe taking a stab at emotional honesty here, but in the real world? To those who actually see me, my inner feelings remain too anonymous. My Friendship Coach sees being anonymous as the ideal way to avoid making friends.

    Writing here about my daily activities is actually much scarier. Be good practice, but I'd have to set a timer and hit the 'publish' button after a half hour or else I'd be tweaking my afternoon away.

  3. a decade? Good Grief--you were a very young widow! Don't we all have parent issues? (My kids probably do also!) I loved when I read about your trip to Maine--something I would so love to do, only, Vermont for me. Friends? The ones I still have from school are beginning to drive me nuts. I have only made a couple of friends in the last decade and they aren't really FRIENDS because they don't know my history--which I would tell to a REAL friend. I think my best friend now is me. We understand each other. We talk to each other. We enjoy being alone together--just me and myself.

  4. Yes, I was a young widow, and I dearly wanted to remarry! I agree that since we all had parents we all have some parent issues - hopefully happy parent issues! I certainly had happy husband issues after my husband died.

    My mom was the great take away artist. Just when I hoped she'd be kind, like when my brother stabbed me 'playing' (like all older brothers do, you know?) or later, like the time I thanked her for thinking of her children in her will and leaving us some money when she passed, she'd be her cruelest. After I thanked her for thinking of us, she smiled sweetly and said "Oh, I'm not leaving you anything, sweetie. I'm spending it all first.". My husband gagged at her cruelty, and I cried later in his arms. Luckily, in her saner moments, she'd named me POA (probably because my husband was a financial genius). He and I managed her finances, rearranging them, assuring after her death that each child would receive something and her husband (who she was leaving nothing - zilch - to in her will) would have financial security the rest of his days.

    I feel you treat we readers as your real friends. You tell of your history, you tell of your love and your hurt, you share yourself. It's sad we can't join you for a real cup of tea, but posting is the next best thing. I shudder to think how isolated I'd feel if I didn't post every once in a while.