Less Is More

 On December 24th, the inside and outside of our home is currently indistinguishable from August of this year.  If you look anywhere in our neighborhood (or on the planet) right now little twinkling lights, bows, wreaths and inflatable characters abound.  Every year I completely indulge in the feeling of warmth and genuinely revel in every traditional preparation for the Season.  I count down the seconds of November until the socially acceptable date of December 1st allows for my heartening immersion into Joy.  A fresh tree, ambient lighting, décor, décor, décor… I love the ritual and the comfort of the preparation.  And of course the celebration that follows with friends and family.  My memories are rooted in connection with my parents, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents and my parents friends we hadn’t gotten around to seeing in so long, now popping by and sitting for a while (a drink) and really being present.  We use the excuse of the holidays to make community a priority, as if this time of year is non-negotiable with excuses, we must connect.  So if we love the process and the experience that this preparation provides us, why am I not doing it this year?  Because as the Grinch says “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store, Maybe Christmas means a little bit more.”  This year has been one of incredible growth and activity and a lot of accomplishments.  In the philosophy that we study and the lifestyle that we practice, a huge weight is given to balance and self-care and boundaries.  As December approached my husband, knowing my love of tradition and the pleasure I take in the ritual decorating and tree lighting, asked about scheduling all these activities in and I said, “I’m not doing it this year.  We have been busy and this is a holiday and I want to do less this year and really enjoy the season and the nuances that come with it without the effort and the lists and the rush of it all.”  Not one to be as moved by hanging ornaments, he received my message and the conversation ended.  As Christmas grew closer and closer he likely was dreading a last minute change of heart and scramble to make it all happen in, ironically, more of a hectic experience than the one I was initially intending to avoid and asked again about the tree Et. al.  Again I said, “I don’t want to do it.”  It’s ok to not do it all, in general.  Finding Peace in a Season where it quite literally is the message should be not only ok but celebrated.  It is so important to ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing and if it really contributes to your beliefs and purpose.  As we pass friends and clients who ask the standard “are you all ready for Christmas?” I have the inkling to explain and say that we aren’t doing all the ‘getting ready’ this year and also share why, but I am resigning to just say ‘yes’.  Because we are ready.  So many people are frantically scrambling to do more, buy more, almost compulsively over committing and will now attach their holiday memories with chaos and stress.  I don’t want that. I still love the process and the nuances of the preparation and the feeling every detail gives me but I’m also ok with taking a break from that for one year and knowing that Christmas will still be equally as special and memorable.  So I will have hot cider, listen and sing to as much Christmas music as possible, diffuse fresh Fir essential oils, and visit as many of my loved ones as possible this Holiday and I am so excited. Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Happy Holidays! I hope every moment is warm and bright.  Namaste,  Steph     https://www.instagram.com/stefdowney/  

On December 24th, the inside and outside of our home is currently indistinguishable from August of this year.  If you look anywhere in our neighborhood (or on the planet) right now little twinkling lights, bows, wreaths and inflatable characters abound.  Every year I completely indulge in the feeling of warmth and genuinely revel in every traditional preparation for the Season.  I count down the seconds of November until the socially acceptable date of December 1st allows for my heartening immersion into Joy.  A fresh tree, ambient lighting, décor, décor, décor… I love the ritual and the comfort of the preparation.  And of course the celebration that follows with friends and family.  My memories are rooted in connection with my parents, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents and my parents friends we hadn’t gotten around to seeing in so long, now popping by and sitting for a while (a drink) and really being present.  We use the excuse of the holidays to make community a priority, as if this time of year is non-negotiable with excuses, we must connect.  So if we love the process and the experience that this preparation provides us, why am I not doing it this year?

Because as the Grinch says “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store, Maybe Christmas means a little bit more.”  This year has been one of incredible growth and activity and a lot of accomplishments.  In the philosophy that we study and the lifestyle that we practice, a huge weight is given to balance and self-care and boundaries.  As December approached my husband, knowing my love of tradition and the pleasure I take in the ritual decorating and tree lighting, asked about scheduling all these activities in and I said, “I’m not doing it this year.  We have been busy and this is a holiday and I want to do less this year and really enjoy the season and the nuances that come with it without the effort and the lists and the rush of it all.”  Not one to be as moved by hanging ornaments, he received my message and the conversation ended.  As Christmas grew closer and closer he likely was dreading a last minute change of heart and scramble to make it all happen in, ironically, more of a hectic experience than the one I was initially intending to avoid and asked again about the tree Et. al.  Again I said, “I don’t want to do it.”  It’s ok to not do it all, in general.  Finding Peace in a Season where it quite literally is the message should be not only ok but celebrated.  It is so important to ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing and if it really contributes to your beliefs and purpose.  As we pass friends and clients who ask the standard “are you all ready for Christmas?” I have the inkling to explain and say that we aren’t doing all the ‘getting ready’ this year and also share why, but I am resigning to just say ‘yes’.  Because we are ready.  So many people are frantically scrambling to do more, buy more, almost compulsively over committing and will now attach their holiday memories with chaos and stress.  I don’t want that. I still love the process and the nuances of the preparation and the feeling every detail gives me but I’m also ok with taking a break from that for one year and knowing that Christmas will still be equally as special and memorable.  So I will have hot cider, listen and sing to as much Christmas music as possible, diffuse fresh Fir essential oils, and visit as many of my loved ones as possible this Holiday and I am so excited. Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Happy Holidays! I hope every moment is warm and bright.

Namaste,

Steph   

https://www.instagram.com/stefdowney/