There was a moment, many years back, when I decided to let go of expectations that the holidays would somehow heal the wounds of the year or the misunderstandings of the past. A moment when, despite my enthusiastic belief in the power of human beings to change and my misguided sense of my own ability to magically influence the trajectory of relationships, I finally let holidays off the hook so that I might actually enjoy them. On that day…heading into the fall marathon of Jewish holidays, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s…I decided to instead find one small thing to celebrate for each event. Five minutes with a nephew that felt like real conversation. The cake that turned out perfectly. Watching a movie with my kids. A small thing of goodness that became the thing I would take with me from the event. Perhaps your holidays are different. Perhaps they do create an environment for larger shifts. If so, I wish for you more of the same this year. For me, change is not what these days are about. Noticing with a grateful eye the tiniest gems of goodness – that’s where I invest.
A few nights ago we had a reunion dinner of couples who shared elementary school history with our kids. Some of us hadn’t seen each other in years. The cake I made did not work. I had to run to a chocolate shop to buy a replacement dessert, only to learn that 3 other people had made dessert and my panic-buying of a ridiculous amount of chocolate was unnecessary and overwhelming on all sides. Oh well. Later, I had a moment of sharing with a mom whose child is experiencing a sense of relief in their new living and that made my heart swell with gladness for her, for that child, and for cord of our relationship that has remained small but strong over years. That was the moment of the night for me. Others interactions were lively, fun, other desserts were really good, the house was warm, the dogs hurt no one and I only overate by about 7% but the value of that night rests in her gaze, her honesty, and our shared care for her child.
May you, too, have a moment that lives as as warm as apple pie in your heart and may that be enough.
Looking ahead to the new year, a few announcements:
For those who have enjoyed the free prose poetry offering, What to Remember, thank you…and I’ll be closing that site down at the end of January. I hope to continue to develop free offerings and to find other ways to use these poems. Please enjoy them for the next six weeks or so (the link is in the Ongoing Offerings section below) and I will keep you posted about their use moving forward.
And! I am in the process of developing a brand new course – one of self-study and conversation and a year’s worth of exploration and I am beyond excited to be pulling in references to poetry and philosophy and art as well as the psychological sciences that have been the bedrock of my work. Much more to come there in early days of 2024.
And! I was joking with our attendees at the Better Boundary and Authenticity workshop with Karlee Fain last month, that one of the ways I set boundaries is to say that I am writing a book…and that is more true sometimes than others. 🙂 AND…I really am and have been writing a book on beauty, goodness and excellence and am so happy to say that the first draft is complete and I hope to have it out by the end of next year.
In the interim…know this…the goodness within you…your generosities, your willingness to explore and grow…your courage in taking on new ideas and practicing new habits…your care for each other, for yourselves and for the world…is the light worth waking up to in this world. Thank you for all the ways in which you have shown that light to me and for all the ways you have enabled the light of others. In our ordinary touches of sweetness we make so much of the year worth living.