Christmastime is upon us once again. No matter who you are or how you celebrate, everywhere we look, we are faced head-on with all things merry and bright. The month-long noise of jingle bells, shopping, parties, kids, school, work, family, friends, etc. are poured onto plates that are most likely already overfilled. When grief is added to the mix, the holidays become even more of a complex maze to find our way through. Christmas can feel more like a deadline than a happy, joyful event. Anxiety can loom overhead like a dull, gray cloud, covering any rays of light that you are desperately hoping to glimpse.
This holiday season, know that you are not alone. It sounds cliche, and maybe it is, but it is also true. Grief is heavy, and many of us have to carry it alone. Individually, on our own beautiful grief journeys, alone but together nonetheless.
Here is a mental exercise you can do, that I pray helps you find your ray of light.
When I had my second baby, my postpartum season was especially difficult. I often felt alone in my thoughts and struggles. One say, I saw a post that helped me feel just a little better. It was an illustration someone had made showing a new mom through a window. It was the middle of the night, and she was awake with her sleepless baby, walking around the nursery and trying her best to lull the crying baby back to sleep. I immediately felt for this painted mother, with the exhausted look on her face, as I was exhausted as well...but then something amazing happened. Something simple, yet so amazing, and something that I have always kept close in mind.
The illustration panned out slowly, pulling back from that nursery window to show the wider street, to show the neighborhood, to show the city, to show the continent, to show the world. Mothers and fathers in windows everywhere started popping up suddenly, throughout the night, in their own nursery windows. With sleepless babes, struggling individually, but somehow still going through it together. Somehow closer together than any of them imagined. It gave me a sense of peace, knowing that another mom somewhere (and probably not too far away at all) was also awake in that moment with me, exhausted too, and also struggling to cope with it all.
This holiday season, no matter what struggles you are going through, when it just becomes too much...try this exercise. Close your eyes and picture yourself looking out your own window, surrounded by the colors of your own thoughts and memories. Then slowly pan your vision out away from your window, and scan it down the street. Slowly scan it throughout your town, throughout your region, your country. Scan it across the whole earth. Peer into the windows you pass. See all the others just like you, looking out their windows, surrounded by the colors of their own thoughts and memories. And send them a loving thought, a similar vibe, a prayer of love and understanding, whichever you prefer...and imagine them doing the same for you.
I am certainly sending prayers and warm thoughts to you and yours this holiday season. To all my clients past, present, and future, and to anyone struggling this year, I see you. And you are not alone. May you find peace in the chaos this Christmas season, and may your New Year be filled with renewed hope.