* * * * *
“Uh, Lily. We have a situation out here. Mama is lying on the floor with her hands over her face,” Quinn calls into the bedroom.
I wave an arm to signal that I am okay, giggling at the absurdity of the scene, and whisper to my children to brush their teeth and pick out books.
And I breathe, right there on the hallway floor, slowly and deliberately taking inventory of all the blessings in my life, until the overwhelm begins to melt away and I can think clearly once again.”
* * * *
I wrote these words just over a year ago, in a moment when I had hit the wall of exhaustion and complete holiday overload.
(You can read the full post HERE.)
It was also in that moment — right there on the floor of our hallway — that I promised myself that I was going to do things very differently this year.
I had no idea exactly what this year’s holidays would look like, but I knew I wanted December to feel softer, more spacious, and less frenetic.
I wanted to be present with my family (really present) and enjoy the small, beautiful moments — not just barrel through a ridiculously long to-do list and collapse in exhaustion at the end of each day.
* * *
As December approached this year, I noticed the familiar tightening in my stomach and tension in my jaw starting to build.
I felt the pull to pick up the pace, burn the candle at both ends and do more.
And as the pressure built around and inside me, I consciously and gently dug my heals into the sand and said:
“No, thank you. I know where that path leads. I’ve been there too many times. That is not what I want for myself or my family.”
In early December I told you how I was feeling and how challenging the holiday season is for my sensitive soul (blog post HERE) and as it turns out, many of you were feeling the same way.
And so #slowholidays was born.
As I write this there are over 220 photos in the #slowholidays collection on Instagram. Photos, from all over the world — of tender moments, sweet surrender, and continual refocusing on what is most important.
Today I am sharing my #slowholidays journey, which was a deep and powerful experience for me.
* * *
#slowholidays and Sandy Hook
The world changed in the middle of this project.
Like many of you, I am still processing the horror of the Sandy Hook tragedy and have not found peace or made any more sense of it than you have.
But one thing that I saw everywhere I looked on December 14 and every day since is that in an instant we all became better parents.
More patient. More present. More focused on what is really important.
I also felt a collective sigh of letting go. Of the rules, the shoulds, the have-to’s of the holidays.
We refocused on connection, intimacy, community and love.
This is one of the small rays of Light from that dark day that I have been focusing on and breathing into.
Slowing down this holiday season really helped me with this.
Click the image above (or right HERE) to join me on my #slowholidays journey.
Did you participate in #slowholidays (publicly or privately)? Or slow down and focus mindfully in another way during this holiday season? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the experience. Please share links to photos or blog posts or share your reflections in the comments.