As I gaze at the fire, I find myself reflecting back on the week that was. While there have been ups and downs, I can say that I'm feeling in a better place this year than last. I let go of the expectation that I would follow the From Hectic to Harmonious Holiday Challenge to the letter this week, though I wanted to try my best to live in the spirit of it. We had some celebrations that were planned months ago, like our Solstice celebration and several family gatherings, as well as some unexpected events, like saying goodbye to an extended family member, the acts of gathering and sharing with a homeless shelter, and what looked like the beginning of an ear infection with one of my little ones. It was definitely a week of ups and downs.
Through it all, I found that we were able to offer ourselves - our time, our talents, our thoughts - with the emphasis on others. My hope was that we were able to lighten the load and take care of some details so that others didn't have to. We were able to be grounded but flexible. And that was what I wanted to get out of the holiday challenge...I wanted to move away from the to-do lists and the manic rush to each day's deadline towards a more thoughtful, intentional, and peaceful holiday season. Where the focus of the celebrations is more about the joy shared with others and authenticity than the actual items placed under the tree or on the table. Where the spirit of "it's the thought that counts" can be found in every nook and cranny.
Day by day, as the holiday challenge emails arrived in my inbox announcing what would help me achieve that harmonious vibe I was after, I slipped it in my back pocket of activities to share when the time was right. Building a snow fort turned into making a fort in the living room (day 21). A solstice walk around the block (day 19) turned into walking to the corner and heading back, followed by a toasty fire and a warm bath infused with calming lavender oil. Planning a vacation meal with my children (day 15) wove its way into a family meal, and shopping together for the ingredients happened at the last farmer's market of 2013 (day 16). Making homemade cocoa (day 17) happened right after we arrived back from an extended family snowshoeing walk (day 18).
So, in a nutshell...yes, it is feeling harmonious here.
I'll be away from the space for the next bit. I hope all enjoy their holiday festivities, and have the ones you love best close in your heart. Peace, light, and joy to you all!