AT THIS TIME OF YEAR.  I don't know about you, but I find this time of year there is both an excitement AND a dread that seems to be looming around.  People I meet on the street, like on my way to the dentist today (I live in a small town so everyone knows everyone or are friendly anyways!)... the first question they ask is "so, are you ready for Christmas?"/Chanukkah/etc. (with a kind of depressing tone of voice.) 

I've find myself so many people ask this question because they are REALLY interested or because of the pressure TO be ready?  When I answer back, and ask back (with my curiousity as explained above in mind) I find people are sad, anxious, disappointed or struggling with how to go about BEING ready "on time!"

Do we set the expectations for this time of year SO HIGH that DOING OUR BEST just isn't good enough any more?  When we say "only gifts for the kids," does this rob the person who LOVES giving gifts to their special loved ones of THEIR gifted time of showering other people with specialness?  Or, would it be OK and accepted to just say: "if you want to do it...a gift would be fine, if you can't (for whatever reason - no questions asked)...that is perfectly OK to."  Christmas is about "being authentic" and about "being acceptable" and about "being truly loved."  It isn't meant for feeling "less than" or "inadequate."  Yet somehow, for many people, the whole occassion is anti-climatic because of pressure - before, during and after (debt especially.)

For those fortunate people who have this whole thing I am talking about licked, and who are able to say, feel and celebrate this holiday as their FAVORITE holiday - and they act that way - and they pass that joyfulness onto others....WHAT IS THEIR SECRET?

Have they found the REAL meaning of Christmas?  Is it that they are SUPER ORGANIZED?  Are they loaded and able to withstand the financial pressures of the holiday season, or were smart enough to do all their shopping on boxing day - for the next year?

It all remains a mystery to me.  What I do know is that it isn't right that so many people are walking around asking...."are you ready yet"....hoping that you will be a co-hort with whom they can share the woes of NOT being ready, the pressures of getting ready and the angst they feel "about the whole darn thing."

WHAT ABOUT MAKING THIS YEAR DIFFERENT?  What about reaching WAY down deep into our heart (not into our pocket books) and asking ourselves...."WHAT WILL MAKE THIS EXPERIENCE MEMORABLE IN AN AUTHENTIC AND POSITIVE WAY?"

What about having a family meeting and asking that question.

What about phoning a girlfriend/family member and asking that question.

What about....sitting silently in the middle of the room (literally)....until something comes to you.  And then, still sit the middle of the room....until something else comes to you....and until all the chatter goes away....and until you have a plan....where you can breathe, see yourself happy, see yourself satisfied, see yourself in surroundings that aren't hairied.....

For me, when these big questions come up, I talk to a person who knows me who can remind me who I REALLY AM, I sit in the middle of a room and focus on my breathing and ask what is really important in the whole scheme of things, I journal, with the same intention in mind - asking "what am I forgetting?" (about what is really important rather than what I "think" is important in my chitter chatter) and what really works (and maybe this is for you too) my art.  I always feel authentic in my art...I feel myself, centered, real and I feel represented by everything around me.  This is a good place and a safe place so I ALWAYS SOMEHOW EITHER BEGIN OR END THE introspective PROCESS WITH A CARD.  I hope you like the results of my journey of asking "what is really important - what is it I really need to remember."  SQUISHY HUGS.

This is the part where you get up (from sitting in the centre of the room) and step (out) into the plans for the Holidays...the plans that "you" can be calm, comfortable and peaceful with.  Because, like all good things, it is the BELIEF that "you" will be OK....that will MAKE IT SO!!!

Happy Sitting.
Shapemakers:  Creative Memories
Paper: Stash from Michael's
Hardware:  Stash
Book Pages:  Stash (a collection of 100's of poems I've collected throughout the years written by world leaders