Archives for posts with tag: I’ll be home for Christmas

Here’s a Memorial Day weekend reminder that now is not the time to be thanking veteran’s for their service. This is an opportunity, for all of us, veteran’s too, to honor the fallen. The brothers and sisters in arms who did not come home. Who gave everything. This is our time to bow our heads and reflect on the horror of war. Just saying. It’s not about the living.

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This matters to me. It probably matters to a lot of veterans. We know the price paid to serve, sure; we also know the price that was not exacted from us. We came home with our lives ahead of us. We may be human wreckage – that’s a thing for some – we may be filled with internal torment you just don’t see – also a thing, some of us struggle with for many years – and for many of us, part of that lasting pain is the loss of so many. We lost people we loved, and served with side-by-side, and we lost esteemed professional colleagues, and we lost legends that had gone before us. We lost role models, and wing men. We lost “that guy”. We lost people we never met, and people we knew very well. We lost leaders, and comrades.

Most of us, most of the time, believed we were fighting for a righteous cause. We’re carefully indoctrinated to think so. Some of us knew better or understood things differently. A small few of us knew a very special painful truth; you don’t understand the price we pay, and you don’t understand how carefully we are remade to serve a purpose. You don’t understand, really, that we always knew some of us would never come home. You don’t understand that we served every day knowing that that someone could be… us. You don’t understand that many of us never quite leave it behind. Because you can’t. It’s not your experience.

Please don’t burden veteran’s with your thanks  today. This is our day to remember. To grieve. To acknowledge that we came home. To regret that others didn’t. This, too, is our day to stare fiercely into the eyes of those in power with a challenge – you show me this was in fact worth the price. Prove it. Prove it or go fuck yourself – and bring our brothers and sisters home. This is our honor, this is our Memorial. I’d frankly very much like to stop adding new bodies to the body count. I say the price for your glory is too high.

I’m taking the weekend off. This is a time to reflect on what matters most, and what is the value of a human life. ❤

It’s the holiday break from work, and I’ve got a couple of weeks at the end of the year to get some needed down time, celebrate the holidays, and invest my time in my own needs and agenda for a few precious days. Time to share with loved ones. Time to meditate. Time to explore the world within – or the world beyond these walls and windows. Time for me. Time for love. It’s a great idea…isn’t it?

Being home for the holidays holds so much promise, so much potential…so much risk. Yep. Risk, too. Risk of drama, risk of disappointment, risk of ‘failure’…and all of that self-selected and self-imposed. It’s easy to get attached to a particular idea, a particular dream of holiday magic, and find myself disappointed, not in the moment, but overall – having invested too much in a pretty daydream, and failing to enjoy the precious moment that is.  I sometimes also get hung up on what was, and what wasn’t; that’s just the chaos and damage, leaking through to now.

I sing holiday carols – I love most of them, the heartfelt yearning, the love, the wonder, the sentiment. I sing along with them and feel.  There are a few that always make me weep; I am grieving, in some cases, feelings I don’t have for myself, or crying because what is real can sometimes hurt so much. One of my favorite emotional holiday carols is “I’ll Be Home for Christmas“, an old WWII era carol. The homesick sorrow of soldiers on the battlefield, missing their loved ones and the safety of a holiday at home…it’s not why I cry. I cry when I hear/sing that carol because I don’t have that home to go back to; it’s an empty promise. It’s spelled out in the song, too… “I’ll be home for Christmas…if only in my dreams…” Yes. I will also be home for Christmas, every year, no matter what…if only in my dreams. What do you feel when you think of ‘home’? Where is that place for you? Is it a geographical location, or the companionship of a specific other person? Is it a place, or a place in your heart?

I do have a very clear idea of what these holidays feel like, and I’ve been ‘home for the holidays’ on a level that amounted to ‘proof of concept’ more than once. It remains an experience of rare heart and beauty, and great sentiment. The price of admission is feeling the feelings, and being with others who share them. It’s called ‘the magic of Christmas’ because the experience of it is not a given, and it is an experience worth cherishing, nurturing, and savoring.

This morning is an ordinary enough Tuesday morning, I guess. I was wakened earlier than I wanted to be awake by the sounds of doors, voices, laundry… I looked at the clock, stunned to see all that going on at such an early hour, on a day I expected the house to be rather quiet. Morning appointments trump sleeping in.  This morning I find myself recognizing that this particular desire to ‘sleep until I wake’ isn’t so easily fulfilled, the logistics are complicated, and require a shared commitment that is lacking, and the frustration and disappointment of failing to find my way to the quality of sleep and rest I am seeking is becoming its own thing. Time to let it go, I guess; it’s not worth being irritated about not achieving it. “Enough sleep” will have to be enough.

I’m in pain, again today. I’m in enough pain that Rx pain relief doesn’t do much to relieve the pain, just dulls it somewhat and renders it manageable. I’m in enough pain to be uncomfortable to be around, for people sensitive to that sort of thing; it’s just too obvious that I am uncomfortable. I’m in enough pain to struggle to manage my mood, and my temper. Yoga doesn’t take away the pain, but it does make movement easier, and a bit less uncomfortable moment to moment. Everyday pain has become so every day at this point it is now a challenge to remember a time when I didn’t hurt like this, although wisdom and intellect tell me that such a point of view is flawed and inaccurate. I have hurt like this, in winter, for years now. It always sucks just this much.

home for the  holidays...

home for the holidays…

Home for the holidays – the adult version; I know what I want, I know that it is ‘real’, and I know I can’t have it. What I can have is still a wonderful holiday, still worthy, still filled with joy; there are verbs involved, and a certain level of adult acceptance – and self-acceptance – are required, and perhaps ‘some assembly’. We can’t always get what we want… Today is a good day to celebrate the holidays that are, with the people who are here.

I rather expected writing daily would become almost effortless simply by gaining 40 hours of my time back to my own calendar, my own agenda, my own experience. I apparently had an oversimplified understanding of time, effort, and my ability to set cognitive and practical boundaries with loved ones. It’s the holidays! Admittedly, my attention is easily diverted toward The  Holiday Express railway I was surprised with this weekend, circling the heavily laden tree (would it be possible to hang even one additional light or ornament?). I have entertaining daydreams of scale homes and businesses, a future holiday village, some kind of year-round display. Yep. I do actually dig the train that much. I find myself wondering if my partners are surprised by how much joy it brings me.

The holiday train my partner surprised me with this year. :-D

The holiday train my partner surprised me with this year. 😀

My musings bring me back to history, and the contemplation of ‘who I am’ relative to my current relationships, relative to former relationships, other times in my life, other careers, jobs, homes, other trains…We each have such a rich history, such an amazing personal narrative to share. I feel a momentary pang of sadness knowing that my loves were not – and can’t ever be – ‘with me there, then’ in other times, other places. Funny thing that ‘past’ bit – it’s over. It hasn’t all been good stuff, but it has been part of who I have become as I waded through the best and worst of my experiences.

I live very much in my ‘now’ these days. It has even grown to be a very comfortable fit, over the past year. The excitement and adventure of 2014 is beginning to develop as a sort of ‘horizon’ in the not-so-very-distant future.  I consider it each morning as I wake and unfold with a new dawn, briefly, before settling again into ‘now’. There are some opportunities to grow that have my attention, like “The Year of Enough“.  My own annual One Hour Facebook event is already on the calendar.  Articles about New Year’s resolutions are beginning to become common.  It’s the time of year that ‘the world’ gives us free rein to reconsider who we are, what we want, where we are headed. For a few weeks people seem more positive, more encouraging, more hopeful, more compassionate…like a soap-bubble, however exciting, colorful, and perfectly wonderful it appears, it bursts so easily, and is gone – generally in a fairly predictable way, and usually before the end of January. That is a sad thing. Let’s do it differently this year, shall we? Instead of resolving this or that, perhaps we can each simply choose to be the best of who we know we can, each day, each decision, each relationship…and see what comes of that? We’ll talk about it at the end of the year, share notes, and continue on. 😀

I’m hurting a lot this year, but it’s just pain. I made a good decision to take a few weeks for me, turns out I’m needing it just to be comfortable and well. I even find myself able to see ahead to a future in which I am not in therapy…not because I gave up on it since it wasn’t working, but because I will have learned what I can, and don’t need the ongoing significant support from outside my relationships, and my own self-care. That is quite possibly the very best gift I am getting this year.

I would like to write something more significant today, but I likely won’t.  (As I put a period on that sentence, I find myself smiling along to the beat of the song in my head, and thinking ‘what could be more significant that becoming awake, and aware, with my will and my values in harmony’?)  I don’t have words for the smile I feel on my face, and in my heart.

I have so many words to choose from, and I do love them so. This morning, though, I am thinking, too, about silence. I would also like to give that a try. Maybe next year…

Today I am content. Today I love with compassion and joy. Today I am humbled and awed by the simple beauty of being alive and aware. Today I will change the world. 😀

This morning I am somewhere between things. I’m between giving thanks and Yule gifting. I’m between the dark of night and the light of day, sitting in the pre-dawn gloom. I’m relaxing in a strange place somewhere between calm and pain, not quite in a great mood, not quite cross from being uncomfortable. The pain is what it is – it, too, is somewhere in between – between ‘as bad as it’s ever been’ and ‘really not so bad’. The morning is quiet, and there is nothing to move me from being between things to any extreme – and I am comfortable with that.

I am up early. Without the inflexible requirement to be up at a point early enough to prepare for a specific work schedule, I find I am waking just a bit later. 6 am isn’t exactly ‘sleeping in’, but it feels more relaxed than feeling my eyelids snap open sometime between 4 am and 4:55 am for an alarm that is set to go off at 5 am.  I still set my alarm – for 7 am. It has yet to actually go off. I wake at 6 am. It feels like sleeping in. I am content with feeling like I slept in and waking at 6 am. There is some quiet morning to time to explore my thoughts, to exist in silence, to tread lightly where the angst-y bits might find foothold, to meditate, to chill… to be.

Strange handful of days since I left the workforce. Some snow. Some fog. Some rain. Some twinkling holiday lights – more of that than much of anything else, happily, and the neighborhood is alight with holiday splendor. Time at home with family has been relaxed, gentle, easy… so little turmoil, so little of the everyday push-pull of grown people all ‘working on their shit’ and finding their way in their personal darkness. It’s chill and good and filled with the qualities that define ‘family’ and ‘love’ in the best ways. Happy Holidays, indeed.

Some snow.

Some snow.

Another view of the snowy day outside my window.

Another view of a snowy day outside my window.

Snow, gone. Fog follows.

Snow, gone. Fog follows.

I haven’t had a ‘Christmas vacation’ for years. I had reached a point, years ago, where ‘the win’ as a professional was to work partial days, or  perhaps a handful of work-from-home days, through the holidays rather than take real time off… I short-changed myself there. I didn’t understand ‘what really matters’ (at least to me). So. I am home for the holidays. It’s lovely.

Taking time to savor holiday memories.

Taking time to savor holiday memories.

I often find myself sifting through scraps of holiday memories of childhood with great delight and wonder.  My parents made some major holiday magic over the years, and every year I find myself astonished by the feats of Yule merriment and celebration they managed on such limited resources.  I enjoy celebrating the winter holidays, myself, and over the years I have also learned to make some holiday magic. This year, it is wonderful to also really relax, take a few deep breaths, and simply enjoy the days.

Today is a good day to be merry, and a good day to love. Today is a good day to be joyful. Today I will share smiles and words of encouragement. Today I will appreciate what I have. Today I will embrace contentment and sufficiency. Today I will change the world. 😀

The winter holiday season is a big deal for me.

Fun ornaments

This morning I am surfing the universe of retail luxuries in search of gift ideas that will be memorable, exciting, appreciated, worthy, nurturing, and result in wide eyes and delighted exclamations on a certain upcoming winter morning. The shopping is part of my piece of the fun, and there’s no particular stress in it for me; giving from a place of love to someone who receives with love as well is a marvelous experience whether it is something practical, or something utterly unnecessary. 

Expensive isn’t a requirement; I’m not trying to impress anyone, I’m just saying “I love you” with a gift. Relevant is nice; I like gifts to meet a need, or fulfill a passion, or show some specific sort of affection or appreciation. I like a gift to say “I see you, and I enjoy this quality about who you are.” The shopping is an exciting way to explore my understanding of someone I care about, as well as the shared experience we have of who we are together, as it brings my focus to first one, then another particular detail.

Books, jewelry, toys, games, clothes, event tickets, collectibles, hobby related bits and pieces, lifestyle upgrades, something fun, something serious, something that smells good, something that feels good, something colorful, something rare, something out of the everyday experience… the choices are vast. I still make a wish list of my own, every year, and in my head I start it off with ‘Dear Santa…’, even though I’m now ‘far too grown up’ for that. lol. I hope I never lose my sense of wonder and child-like delight with gifting traditions.

So here I sit considering gifts on a winter morning… and thinking about childhood letters to Santa Claus. Maybe I’m not so grown up, after all? 😀

Dear Santa… I’ve been pretty good this year. Better than ever, I promise. Please give everyone in the whole wide world something to smile about this year. If you have time and resources left over from that, I’ve got a list…but I’ll be just as happy to see the smiles of people I love when they open their gifts from me, as getting anything bigger than that. It’s been a busy year, and I already have a lot of stuff. 🙂  If you’re really sure you want to put more presents under the tree, though, I understand.  My list has lots of stuff on it, and it’s all awesome: paperweights, tea cups, books, earrings, nail polish, yoga gear… just in case you need help choosing something, but you know I just love presents, anyway, so whatever you decide on will be wonderful. I’ll be sure to save some of your favorite cookies for you!  😀