Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Holidays: A Cocoon Blanket

I love this time of year. From September till Christmas I live in a state of pure joyous anticipation. I even like labor day weekend. Its the beginning of all the fun. The cooler season.  Orange and White Pancho. The holiday decorating and baking (YES. I baked those very difficult pumpkin muffins Trader Joes had) Halloween. Birthday parties. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Cozy pajamas. Holiday scented candles. The pumpkin spice latte. Vacations and plane flights to visit family. Festive parties with friends. Thoughtful gifts. Counting down days. Making lists and checking it twice  ten times.

The holidays and this time of year feels like a warm cozy blanket that wraps me up and carries me for the next few months. My husband, Scott looks so cute in the mornings when I have to leave for work early. He wraps himself up with all the blankets in our bed and tucks himself in like a little cocoon. (truly I think he is relieved because I am a cover-stealer... apparently?!!!!?…) He looks the way I feel during the holidays. I feel like I am in a safe, warm and cozy cocoon blanket. 

I like being busy, my life being fat, rich and full with holiday goodness. What is it about this time of year that makes me live in a smitten fog of joy that is not really grounded to reality? In my head everything will work out. I ride the train of the holidays gladly and happily. It feels secure here. My problems can be ignored by the rush and zip of holiday bliss. Honestly sometimes it’s good to take a “mental break” from problems. Besides often the more I obsess about my problems the worse they become. Often when I have a “brain break” I come back with more energy. I don’t necessarily have an answer but at least I can face it and tolerate my uncomfortable feelings. I feel bigger than my problem and that is a huge win.

Of course I come home from my family Christmas with presents and filled with happy memories. But I also enter January with no one to buy gifts for anymore and no one to send Christmas/Thanksgiving/Halloween cards too. There is no more left over Turkey (and mashed potatoes: YUM) and the apple cider has sold out. January is that time of year where the school year suddenly starts to feel mind numbingly long and since I work at a school I especially feel this. However I don’t look forward to summer as most teachers do because as a therapist I don’t receive a pay check in the summer and it is terribly and unbearably hot in our bedroom without air conditioning and I digress….

Because right now

Right now.

Right now is a tight cozy holiday blanket all wrapping me up and I cocoon in it and soak up it’s smell and goodness. I embrace now so that I can have courage for January.

Isnt’ that true with life? When the good times are here we have to soak up the joy. We can’t turn joy on mute. We need our joy to get us through those hard times that will come. 

I need the strength that comes with joy.

 Even if I do feel like a happy hedonist throughout the holiday season. So be it. The blissful fog is really alright. It’s okay to be happy. So much of life makes us feel guilty about being happy. We experience “forboding joy” as Brene Brown puts it.  We are terrified to feel happy because we live in a culture of scarcity and we assume the minute we feel anything good something, someone will come snatch it away from us. I mean maybe this is a little superstitious of us right? Like we are going to be punished for celebrating? Better not get too happy or else…. (stomp stomp, fe, fi, fo, fum…I smell happiness)

There is a myth surrounding the idea of experiencing happiness and it’s that it is innately selfish. I reject this notion. I’ve been reading “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin and she writes, “The belief that unhappiness is selfless and happiness is selfish is misguided. It's more selfless to act happy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly lighthearted, yet everyone takes the happy person for granted.

I don’t know what the holiday season is like for you. It might be a difficult time with traumatic memories that lurk nearby. The holidays might not be “your blanket”. Your cocoon might rest in something else.  As much as my conscientious side tells me this is hedonistic; another part of me, the part where my gut and intuition lie, where the critic has no place, tells me that celebrating and encountering happiness does good for our souls and for the souls around us. It nourishes and self-soothes. It’s contagious just like anger, sadness and anxiety it is.

So blame it on me. Your fellow blogger. I gave you permission. Give yourself permission. Whatever you enjoy, do that this holiday season. Whatever gives you that cocoon blanket feeling, do that and do more of it. You are worth the celebration.

1 comment:

  1. Heather, don't know how I managed to miss this wonderful post of yours....? I'm a lover of the holiday season too. I'm Mrs. Christmas. Love it all. Love how you say, "When the good times are here we have to soak up the joy. We can’t turn joy on mute. We need our joy to get us through those hard times that will come". Absolutely. I thrived on the seasons in England because spring would wake me out of my post-holiday stupor, with its new signs of life and it's wondrousness, leading on to summer and then back round to dark nights and the holidays again.....[I miss the seasons, it makes me melancholy]....love your image of the holidays as a cocoon blanket....that's *exactly* what I'm hoping this year's holidays will be for my littles xxx