Tag Archives: Christmas

I Made Myself Get Out, Day 2


Well, I did it again!
Returning home this afternoon
after teaching two yoga classes;
my music director neighbor was outside
and mentioned a choral concert
he was conducting at a church downtown,
one hour after my evening workshop
was finished.
I think I can make it, I told him.
But I may be kind of blahhhhh;
I’ve had a busy weekend.

Well, he said, We’ll see ya when we see ya!
I taught my workshop,
and my impulse was to go straight home
and once again
feel lonely and sorry for myself.
Don’t go to the city
the anxious one in me said,
You’ll have to worry about parking
and you’re a women
by herself

at night.
I made myself go.
I forced myself.
I found parking not far from the church,
arrived early, found a seat in the front row.
The music was so beautiful I cried.
Afterwards I gave my neighnor a hug,
thanked him for the invitation.
Home now, freshly showered,
safe and warm,
I’m so grateful I didn’t listen
to the anxious voice
telling me not to go.
I think I’m on a roll!

Not Bad

This single mom figured out how to use ratchet straps to cart this baby home! #success

It’s beginning
to finally look somewhat like
Christmas around my house.
We have a tree;
my kids and I decorated this evening.
We listened to Christmas carols
and hung up ornaments.
I’m going to bed thinking
Not bad for a single mom.

By Myself


Without my husband there to help,
getting a Christmas tree
seemed like a daunting task.
I cursed the tradition
as I arrived on the lot,
and inwardly resented
the happy couples tying their trees
on the roofs of their vehicles,
cheerfully chatting, 
working together,
getting it done together.
But I had help too.
Two young men put the tree on the roof,
and I figured out the ratchet straps
to secure the tree (mostly).
Back home I even managed to carry
that seven foot tall
fragrant Frasier fir
inside my house
AND set it on the tree stand,
by myself.
Someday, one day,
I may find a new love
who will delight in accompanying me
on Christmas tree expeditions…
Until then,
can I love the one in me
who was strong enough to get it done
all by myself?

Circles of Quiet Joy


I search everywhere for a gift,
just something, something
so that I don’t show up
Then I remember
the real gift cannot be given
or taken away.
The real gift
comes from
an inextinguishable source.
The real gift
doesn’t change hands,
it changes hearts.
We all have this gift,
and if we could really see it,
we wouldn’t
be running frantically to the store…
We’d sit in circles
of quiet joy,
the light of infinity
mirrored in one another’s eyes.

Wholly Dazed


Don’t get me wrong,
it’s not that I hate Christmas…
It’s just that it is dead to me now.
The lights, the trees, the carols,
stepping into the home
of my son’s kindergarten friend,
seeing their happy Christmas
taking shape in their happy home,
and inwardly bemoaning
the shapelessness of my Christmas,
now that it’s dead.
A marriage, a holiday, a life,
all falling apart.
Dead things decay;
particles break down
and return to the earth.
New life springs up
and eases the memory of death.
Will this happen for me?
Can I hope for this much?

Hang Ups


Years ago
his mother made
the cutest Christmas stockings
for all of us,
a little family of stockings
with all of our names
that always looked so cheerful
hanging up.
This year he asked
Should I hang yours up?
And I said No.
How can I face
that happy little family
of four
when my real life family
is… no more?
Now I’m sad
seeing just three stockings hanging up
where before there were four.
Ah, I should just get over myself.
It’s a stocking.
I could just hang it up.
Why all these hang ups?


PS I actually fantasized about asking his mother if she wanted my stocking back, being that it’s handmade and all and I kind of can’t look at it any more without sobbing.  I pictured myself saying something like, “So I can just pry the letters of my name off, I’ll send it back to you, and you can keep it safe until he gets remarried.  Then you can put his next wife’s name on it.  I’m sure she’ll love it.

I of course didn’t do that.  High fives!  The love that I still have for the woman far outweighs the satisfaction I would’ve felt at being so outrageous.  Plus, with no one there to photograph or film her reaction, what’s the point?



Of course I always was
at this time of year,
because of the absence of light,
because of the cold,
because of the way
the sun sets when I’m not ready.
But this year,
the Christmas decorations
are bringing me down too.
The Christmas carols
are making me cry
instead of sing.
I feel sad looking at my children.
I feel sad about everything.
I never knew something
that always brought such joy
could bring the sting of sadness
over and over and over again.
But I guess that this is how it goes
when home doesn’t feel like home,
when your husband isn’t a husband,
when your life isn’t what
you thought it would be.
Still, there’s something about the holidays
that makes this worse.
Is it the outward cheer
that throws my inner desolation
into such sharp relief?
Every time I see a Christmas tree
I want to weep.
Sometimes I do.
Please God, let me make it through.

A Time for Celebration


I gave so much today.
Why am I thinking about
what I didn’t give,
what I could’ve given?
Why, oh my mind,
do you want to remember
what you think wasn’t right,
how you think I failed,
how I have fallen short?
Ultimately, the spirit of celebration
is embodied in gentle little pauses
where we drop the thinking,
look around,
and see what is.
In this clear space of no mind,
reality opens up
and we see, feel, hear, touch, taste
so much more
than we normally would.
Joy is the natural result
of such open, clear awareness.
If I could find a way
to cultivate more presence
THAT would be a reason for celebration.
And, I suppose I can pause now
and celebrate the awareness I already have.
Instead of strengthening the habit
of believing that I have so far to go,
maybe I could for once
celebrate this place,
this arrival here.
This now–
the only place,
the only time
for celebration.

Christmas Tonglen Meditation


The children are sleeping,
the presents placed strategically,
our bellies are full,
we lie in our beds warm and safe.
What an enchanted life this is!
On the medium of the breath
I send out the aspiration
that all beings
know safety and comfort,
that all beings be nourished,
that all beings experience the joy
of giving and receiving.
Some of the most important gifts
are the ones we cannot see or touch;
they are felt in the heart.
On the medium of the breath
I send out the aspiration
that all beings be loved
that all beings feel a sense of belonging
that all beings experience
true happiness, true fulfillment.
Breathing in I feel gratitude
breathing out I give thanks.
May all beings experience peace.

Christmas Shopping Confession


I went to Target today
and joined in the spending craze
as is normal
for everyone caught up
in the Holy Daze.


I was in there
for only a few things
but I must’ve been
swept up in a collective current,
people flowing all over the store
examining, reading, holding,
grabbing, putting back,
putting in cart, discussing,
buying, spending, meandering–
it was all quite neurotic,
almost feverish.
Suddenly I needed to have
a lot more than I came in for.
Were they atomizing
some chemical of mass consumption
in the air?
Were they piping subliminal messages
over the speaker system–
Suddenly my children needed
stocking stuffers
and I liked a couple of sleds
I saw here
more than the ones
I bought weeks ago.
(And now I have four sleds in my car.)
I question my judgement now.
I wonder about the ripple effects of my spending,
how it affects the world, ultimately.
And I thought I was going to simplify this year…