Tis the season
I have always been a BIG fan of Thanksgiving. While growing up, if someone we knew didn’t have somewhere to go, they came to our house to sit at our table, and to be welcomed into a home. Sometimes our little dining room looked more like a small café adorned with 3 or 4 tables filled with folks. My mother lived by the phrase, “the more the merrier.” However, Christmas I was “meh” about and, as I got older, I stopped coming home for Christmas. Instead my adult Christmas’s were spent with friends and lovers.
Christmas at the Colino House was usually just my mom and Joseph. And what I lacked in Christmas spirit, Joe more than made up for. He loved Christmas and it was his absolute favorite time of year. Each year he’d embrace the theme with his decor; glittery snowmen, 1950s wire silver trees with antique balls, white poinsettia strewn everywhere, handmade villages with little lights brightening the windows, and real cookies strung on the tree. For years I watched from afar as he and my mom entered this Christmas wonderland. It was a true gift that they shared.
This year, many of the gifts that have been given to us are ones that we wish we could return as we face a flurry of losses that feel particularly acute this month. 2020 has taken away our way of living and connecting. 2020 took away our hugging, hand holding, and celebrating of birthdays, graduations, marriages, births, traveling, performing, teaching, and taking yoga in person. 2020 took away our ability to be in a room together breathing, sweating, and feeling, which has been one of the biggest gifts to me in my life. Being with others and doing what I love, is the gift of a lifetime. Just like the gift of Joe’s yearly Christmas wonderland or the gift of breath in body.
This year took Joseph’s physical body from me, yet his Christmas spirit is everywhere. I recently went down to our treasure-trove of a basement and brought out the ghosts of Christmas past; glittery snowmen, little Christmas trees, the paper village, and antique glass balls. I thought, “I’ll honor Joe and do-it-up for him and my mom,” all the while wondering, “why go through the effort if no one will be there to appreciate it the way that he did?” I sat there questioning what the use is of creating a wonderland for someone who is no longer here to waltz in it?
Days have gone by and the magic of Christmas is slowly working its way into my scrooge-like bones. The smell of the evergreen, the twinkle lights, and those god-damned snowmen have brought the yuletide into my heart bit by bit. Just like the Grinch we know and love, maybe my heart too is growing 3 times its size. I’m realizing that so much of cherishing this yuletide is just as much for me as it is for Joseph. We have lost so much this year, why not give ourselves the gift of Christmas joy and count our blessings like cookies on a tree? And even if it is not the Christmas we crave, maybe it’s the one we need. If it’s not the Christmas that we need, maybe it’s an offering just to breathe like we do in the most difficult pose, and through our most difficult losses. Joy and pain as well as gifts and loss can exist at once on the yoga mat, at the dinner table, in isolation, and in our hearts. In these final days of 2020 I’m struck by a musical refrain that Joe loved deeply, “Let your heart be light, from now on our troubles will be out of sight.” Maybe next year some of these troubles will be out of sight.
Pushpaputa Mudra (Handful of Flowers)
What: A gesture, an energetic seal, a symbol of intention
Where: In Meditation
When: Whenever you are able to carve out time for yourself
How: Place two hands on your lap like empty bowls or side by side in front of your heart
Why: To connect to the heart chakra, Anahata, and to ask yourself some meditative questions-What have I gained this year?
What gift/gifts have I received?
What do my hands hold?
Inspiration Station ✨