It sure can seem mad, eh? There is so much joy and excitement (and making) for me, and also a nagging sense of dread for all the things that get piled on my plate(s), sometimes literally! Even if I've been trying to have a simple Christmas for years, the rush-rush feelings always creep up on me and catch me unawares. There is also a sense of dread for all the "things" that come into the house...we are indeed blessed. But I struggle with the excess. I am not a natural manager of "things". I have to remind myself to "breathe." And for me, breathing is at the heart of rhythm.
When you are a mother of young children, the trickle-down theory is most certainly in effect, especially when it comes to rhythm. Also, when you are a mother of young children, the children's needs come first. How to balance this? How to keep your own rhythm so that you are better able to meet your own needs while nurturing children and creating a nourishing homelife? What better time of year to end up nourished by all the sensory and spiritual treats of the season (as opposed to thoroughly depleted)?
In thinking about nourishing the senses, I was reminded that the four lower senses as presented by Steiner correspond to early childhood (birth-7) Those senses are: touch, life, self-movement, and balance. These can all be affected by the season. Think about parents too rushed to give hugs, babies in car seats as they are toted from store to store, all the blinking lights and over stimulation of too many commitments, the cold weather forcing everyone inside, children being at adult parties and having to "hold" themselves together.
What if I protected and nourished my own senses, with an emphasis on those 4 lower senses?
So here is how I am going to purpose to nourish myself and keep quiet joy throughout this next month:
Touch: For me, a whirlwind of activity can mean not truly connecting with those I love. So, I will purpose to "touch" them in the larger sense of the word, and not only give hugs, but receive them with warmth (as opposed to rushing on to the next thing).
Self-movement: I will purpose to continue exercising and moving my body in healthy ways, and not be afraid of going outside. We all need the sunlight. Feeding animals, neighborhood walks, and yard work can get us all outside and moving. And I will continue my runs, knowing it is healthy for me.
Balance: I think this one is self-explanatory. For young children, this often means literal balance in their bodies. I am off-balance when I am tired. This just means, for me, saying no to too many commitments and weaving in adequate "down" time.
Life: My sense of life is very full at this time of year. I think with all the joyful preparations at home, the magic of children, and the sense of anticipation, it is easy to be engaged in life. But for adults, sometimes the holidays bring deeper sadnesses. As we spiral inward, we confront shadows. We dig up griefs. We miss loved ones who have passed on. Family issues come out (I've talked to at least two people this past week who recounted family holidays with words like "jail" and "addiction".) This is the core of our work as parents, as humans, I believe. To know about the darkness, acknowledge the darkness, and consciously choose to walk in the light.
Thinking about this really helps me, keeping even more sacred the rhythm we have established at home, forgiving myself when I stray. I have to make these decisions for the self I am going to be after the holidays as well. I don't want to do major damage control because we got too far off the path and everyone is out of sorts for days. I want to make space for the spiritual blessings of the season, and this can only happen from a place of quiet. So, we will see how it goes. Writing about it this way helps make it less of a dreamy idea and more of a tangible goal, and hopefully this will help me be a source of strength for my family.
And now, to announce the winner of my giveaway:
comment #6: Renee of Heirloom Seasons! Congratulations, Renee!!!