What sort of traditions do you have? While we experience our personal, family or cultural traditions throughout the year, it seems the winter holiday season often hold the most cherished or memorable.
Do you attempt to re-create those traditions year-after-year? If so, how do you feel when something (or someone!) doesn’t live up to your expectations?
I’ve been traveling a lot lately. The massive decorating that happens at our home in December has fallen on the rest of my family. And, I must say, they have outdone themselves this year! One morning a week or so ago I came in from a trip just a few hours before dawn to find Christmas had literally exploded inside and outside the house in my three-day absence. It was beautiful…but something wasn’t right.
You see “areas” have been designated over the past three years that we’ve been living in this house. The snowmen, Santa Clauses, elves, angels and bears all have their particular “home.” A few pieces were not where I expected them to be. OMG! CHANGE!!!
I chided myself for being gone and not showing up to be part of the decision-making process. I quickly released that thought and decided pondering my angst could wait until I’d had some much-needed sleep. But when I awoke surrounded by all the beauty I completely forgot about my guilt-induced criticisms from a few hours before.
The danger of having traditions is that we can use them as a way of ignoring the fact that nothing stays the same. Paradoxically, change is the only constant in the universe. We long for stability, a sure foundation and base of operations from which we can venture out into the ever-changing world. Putting too much faith in constancy can result in a rather jarring realization when change occurs despite our best intentions to maintain some condition as static.
Traditions – be they holiday decorations or just reading the paper together over coffee on Sunday morning – are essential to our relationships. But, like our relationships, over time those traditions will change. Sometimes we make a conscious decision to alter our behaviors and other times we find our traditions expanding, morphing into something greater or different, or dissolving all together.
The delight of these changes can be exquisite. Fighting change, on the other hand, can cause us to lose sight of the very reasons we hold our traditions so dear to our heart. As you move through the winter holidays consider enjoying and savoring all your traditions, both large and small. Revel in the joyous memories some of those acts will cause to bubble up. And, if a long-held tradition does not live up to your expectations, would you be willing to enjoy the moment anyway, treasuring these new memories in the making?
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,