I have a confession to make. I kind of hate the holidays...One would think I'd be caroling my way through with so much gratitude just to be here and celebrating my way through the holiday parties and just the excitement of the season. Yep, Not so much. Growing up my holidays were always festive, happy and miraculous. As a grown up, for me, the holidays have been full of stress, chaos and insane expectations. Add to that the fact that two years ago (almost to date) a cancer diagnosis was thrown at me just in time for Saint Nick and I didn't know if I'd survive to see another Christmas. When, much to my amazement, I finally did survive to see another Christmas last year, just as I began to let my guard down, side effects from my clinical trial crept in and I thought I was looking at a recurrence of cancer. The day before Christmas last year I was on the phone with my health team scheduling appointments for the day after Christmas to try to figure out what this new lump and rash on my right breast was all about. Ho freakin' ho. All the while, I was putting on a happy face trying to be positive and merry, but inside I was falling apart. How could I be back here again? That was my thought process. So, fast forward to present, here I am...surviving family get togethers, shopping for gifts, trying to make everything magical for my children and just living up to the Hallmark movie that keeps playing in the background. I know everyone says I'm putting the pressure on myself, but it's more than that. It's so hard to partake in all of these rituals and expectations that feel somewhat shallow and meaningless. I'm still finding my place in where I fit in post cancer world and conforming to the hustle and bustle and expected banter of the season doesn't seem very authentic to me anymore. Maybe this will change for me as I continue to heal, but right now this is where I find myself. Take Thanksgiving....it was a great day with great company and great food. I know I have a lot to be thankful for. I went to bed that night, however, feeling like a fish out of water. I felt judged. I felt uncomfortable. Even people close to me in my circle don't seem to get me. It's like this major divide occurred and finding the bridge to our two very different worlds isn't rebuilding itself very easily. Sure, this might sound more dramatic than it actually was, but I felt it. I don't think it was intentional, but anyone who has gone through the kind of trauma I have would probably understand this. I'm just different. I'm not the same person I was before all of this madness. The most at peace I was all day was during my sunrise six miler when I noticed the few leaves still spiraling down from the trees overhead or the heaviness of my breath in the very cold air. That's just the kind of thing I just notice now and it makes me feel more alive than any holiday ever could.
So where do I go from here? I'm trying to find ease. Ease in the crazy, Ease in the uncomfortable and Ease in my existence with people, scenarios and holidays that don't seem to fit. I went to a beautiful "thankful, restorative flow" yoga class this morning that was this giant gift to me from the universe. The piece of this class that I carried away was to live my life with ease...may peace and kindness find me (and you) each and everyday. When it comes down to it, that's what I think I'm searching for and that is my goal. Peace...kindness...ease. Instead of conforming to people and situations that are triggering my angst for this season, I need to search out and create the ease and peace that will get me through this trying season. Rather than feeling the heaviness of buying the perfect gift or making the greatest cookie known to man, I need to remember that each day is just that. One day. I promise to express my gratitude for that day and the mere fact that I get to live it. I won't worry about who gets me and who doesn't. Perhaps I will stumble upon something that's been missing from my life that will allow me to embrace the gifts set out before me. Maybe that's what this feeling of uneasiness is all about. I vow to take time out for myself to take a breath, run a mile or sip that glass of wine with zero care of who gets me, who doesn't or what judgement is passed my way. This ease begins in my mind, heart and soul...perhaps the greatest gift I can allow for myself this holiday season is to embrace this new person I'm becoming and give zero fucks how I'm conforming or not, to the world that surrounds me. With this approach, I'm hopeful for a deeper appreciation for the magic a season of life can yield. -M