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Monday Musings & Motivations – Part Sixty-One – Holidays

I have something to admit. I’ve not been especially holiday happy for the past few years. I find myself dreading the holiday season and I didn’t used to be that way. I once welcomed holidays, decorated, watched holiday movies—all that stuff that families do during the holiday season.

I’m not going to go into a maudlin account of why my holiday mojo faded into obscurity. For those of you who followed me through that bleak period of my life, you know—I got a few whammies during one holiday season—hurricane, displacement, death of a loved one, moving, relocating—all those top stressors that have your mind on edge and your flight/fight acute stress response in high gear. I feel it still sometimes and from what I’ve read, it can take a while for you and your mind to settle down.

Teetering above a precipice. Not a fun place to be.

Teetering above a precipice. Not a fun place to be.

Seriously, I'm alert and ready to go if I have to. Or stay, maybe. Or go. I don't know...

Seriously, I’m alert and ready to go if I have to. Or stay, maybe. Or go. I don’t know…

Psychologists in the 1920s discovered that humans, like animals, have the same kind of wiring. If we sense upheaval or fear, physiological and psychological responses occur and there we are, waiting on the precipice of fighting it out or running away. It’s an uncomfortable state of being. It’s a stuck feeling. A teetering, limbo, stuck in the middle with you but not-you feeling.

It can be triggered randomly after the initial stressor(s) has occurred by an incident, a smell, a song, anything, even something mundane can bring it all back and you’re in that not-you place. Memory flashes bring raw, fresh pain to the surface and a big old panic or anxiety attack can literally knock you off your feet. Make you feel foggy, weird, tired, despondent and leave you wondering if you’ll ever feel “right” again. If you’ll ever be you again.

And then, something happens. A break. A glimmer of hope. You begin to take deeper breaths and instead of fighting to catch your breath, you’re breathing into it—into your soul, into your heart, into your life and into all the love in it.

So, IS it a Wonderful Life and This Doesn’t Sound Very Holiday-ish. . .

I was talking to my sister last week and we were discussing these past few years, how we felt. She said, “I’m tired of being unhappy about this. I want to move on. I want to feel good about the holidays, happy. I’m going to.” It takes fortitude to do so. It takes letting go and in the letting go, you feel a guilt about that. As if you’re taking something away from the loss by doing so, by moving on and being happy.

But you’re not. Moving on and living the best life you can live is the only option. The other not-you, teetering limbo anxious state isn’t it. It’s what I imagine purgatory is, if there is such a thing and seriously, why would there be? My happy place is filled with ice-cold water, wine, chocolate, great food, great books, good movies, bicycles, dogs and my peeps. There’s a unicorn that trots by every once in a while too and I can eat as much as I want and not have to exercise, yet be phenomenally healthy.

My happy place.

My happy place.

And to All, a Good Everything

I don’t exactly know what has sparked my glimmer, what is happening that is making me begin to feel like me again. But, I’m holding on tight to it with a surety that it is within me to create the life I want and to feel good, sure and strong about that fact again.

Maybe it’s from talking to people I love. Maybe it’s the text I get from a friend who checks in with a “You good?” pretty regularly.

Yes, it is a wonderful life.

Yes, it is a wonderful life.

The simple goodness of being enormously grateful for all that I have here, now, right in front of me is leading me away from the teetering precipice and bringing me back to my serene spot. Maybe there really are Christmas miracles. I guess it’s all how you look at things.

Here’s to the holidays and please know that if you’re in that other place of not feeling like you, there’s light. You’ll get there in your own good time—honor that—and you’ll find your way back to you. The holiday season can bring joy and sorrow so we might as well talk about and acknowledge both of those states of being human. We’re all in this together.

The guy in the red suit says, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.” I say to everyone who celebrates Christmas or the holidays (or not), to all that rejoice in peace, love and kindness to all human kind— “To all a Good Everything.” There’s a permanent impermanence to life and even that can make us aware of how wonderful it is, how gracious we can be and how important it is to treat one another with kindness and respect.

That seems to be a good place to start.

Have a joy-filled holiday season.


Are you in the holiday spirit this year? Are you like the Griswolds when you decorate? What’s your favorite holiday movie or song? Describe your happy place.

About Brigitte



23 thoughts on “Monday Musings & Motivations – Part Sixty-One – Holidays

  1. Good morning, Brigitte! As with so many of your wonderful posts, I can so relate to this. What I’ve learned about the holidays is that I can enjoy the season, be happy and embrace the memories of past holidays without expectations that this one has to be like the ones from the past. Peter and I start new traditions (even if they only last for one holiday season!).

    I’ve been learning to play the piano this past two years and I’m getting good enough that I can now play some easy Christmas carols, so I’m having lots of fun filling the house with music. And my sister now lives here – in all the years I’ve lived in Colorado, I’ve never had family live here, so we’re getting out and doing holiday shopping together.

    Like you, we’ve had lots of losses, but I’m learning to include my loved ones that have passed in my celebrations if that makes sense. It seems to help the fog lift a little more every time I do that.

    Thanks for a wonderful morning boost!


    Posted by Cathy Ulrich | December 12, 2016, 9:18 am
    • Cathy! So wonderful to hear from you. I admire you for learning to play the piano! I’ve always wanted to learn to play a musical instrument. Was/is it difficult? I bet it’s worth it. I’m putting that on my list. You’ve inspired me. I bet it is so great having you sis nearby. I understand what that’s like; I’ve always lived away and to have a family member close by is priceless. I hope you two (and Peter) have a joyous Christmas this year. It does make sense — including loved ones that aren’t with us physically anymore — it takes a while to get there, doesn’t it? I miss you and your posts and I hope that we can all begin our “community” again. Maybe your beautiful pics can include audios of piano sonatas now! :).

      If anyone can do it, you can. Thank you for the friendly boost as well, my friend and have a wonderful day. >

      Posted by Brigitte | December 12, 2016, 9:23 am
      • It is difficult, and it requires some significant level of determination, but it’s so worth it. I reached a point sometime over the summer where things started really clicking and now I’m playing much more challenging pieces (including the original version of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata!) I have a wonderful, kind, patient teacher and I do a lesson every week. It makes me practice, which I do almost every day.

        Yes, it does take a while to get to the place of including our non-corporeal loved ones, but I find myself doing this more and more. Have a joyous Christmas, Brigitte and more posts, please!

        Posted by Cathy Ulrich | December 12, 2016, 9:34 am
      • Yay! I look forward to hearing your music, Cathy. And please, more from you as well. Be well, Cathy. :).


        Posted by Brigitte | December 12, 2016, 9:56 am
  2. Hi Brigitte! I can’t imagine dealing with all those stresses in a short amount of time … no matter if it is around the holidays or not! But I can also see how it would impact future holidays. I may not know what it is like or even understand, but I can see it.

    I’ve always believed the most important decision in life is the people we chose to be around us because they are the ones that can build us up or tear us down. Then again, each of us also have our own natural demeanor that affects the mix.

    Definitely not the Griswalds in terms of decorating. Movies? Well, It’s a Wonderful Life makes me cry if I watch it … even got the sniffles at a recent performance of Christmas Carol.

    More importantly, bestivus of holidays to you!

    Posted by aFrankAngle | December 12, 2016, 9:42 am
    • Frank, what a pleasure seeing you here! It was a enormously stressful time. But onward and upward. I believe that as well — about surrounding one’s self with people who reflect what we what to see, in ourselves and in our world. I’m usually a pretty happy person but everyone has their moments and maybe time does heal all wounds, or at the very least, makes them less raw and exposed. But you learn, always from both joyous and painful experiences and that’s a good thing.

      We have a tiny tree up this year but we love it. I like your two movies, classic and ones we watch. We just watched Family Man last night, another good one. Thank you for stopping in and your wonderful insight. I hope you and yours have a beautiful holiday season. >

      Posted by Brigitte | December 12, 2016, 10:01 am
  3. I have not decided yet but I think I will take a cue from you and your sister and just decide to be happy. That does not make the stresses go away–but I think I should take a breather. I love your saying about the permanent impermanence of life-kind of puts everything in perspective. I am glad you can breathe again and begin to enjoy what you once enjoyed..happy holiday season my friend!

    Posted by on thehomefrontandbeyond | December 12, 2016, 10:53 am
    • You know, Lou, I think at some point it is just a necessity. It feels so much better to be happy than the alternative and though it’s difficult, it’s worth it. I hope this finds you and yours well and as always, your stopping in to share your insight and wisdom brightens my day. Thank you. Merry Christmas!


      Posted by Brigitte | December 12, 2016, 5:11 pm
  4. It’s nice to see you posting again, Brigitte, and thanks for the look into your inner holiday journey. I share some of the same feelings, e.g. this year my holiday funk has not appeared. I guess Lincoln was right when he said that we can be as happy as we choose to be. I choose Peace and Serenity.

    Posted by Allan G. Smorra | December 12, 2016, 11:48 am
    • It’s nice to be doing so again, Allan and thank you. I miss our community! I guess the older we get the more we’ll face these things and I’m very glad your holiday funk hasn’t shown itself. Maybe we’ve both rounded that curve. I hope so and I hope that you and The Lioness are having a beautiful holiday season and that that peace and serenity continues into 2017. Great to see you!


      Posted by Brigitte | December 12, 2016, 5:13 pm
  5. A long time ago, Brigitte, I decided to be happy EVERY day. The holidays bring with them an enhanced effervescence in the air that seems to go a little flat at other times of year. The happy is my constant. The holidays …well…just a little spike in the wassail bowl! Merry Christmas, dear friend! 😉 xoxoM

    Posted by Margarita | December 12, 2016, 12:56 pm
    • I’m so glad that you’ve accomplished that feat and I do believe it’s possible. Getting perspective is the first thing, but honoring the transitions of what happens in life is also necessary I think. Grief is a process — a human one— and it’s different for each individual because each of us come from a different place of being and understanding. I love happy being a “constant” and I think it most definitely can be. Merry Christmas to you, dear friend and here’s to a splendid 2017!!


      Posted by Brigitte | December 12, 2016, 5:16 pm
  6. Im trying to concentrate in the simple goodness and to deal with the cycle of change
    With positivity. Friends make the travel lighter
    and happier. Lots of blessings 💕

    Posted by UpChuckingwords | December 13, 2016, 6:22 am
  7. Brigette, I’m so glad to read this. Earth school, is well, SCHOOL. And we know, that sometimes not all parts of school are recess and Art. (although I always find myself wishing for it)..I hold space for you to fell all your feels, AND to move towards the light. Cuz I think we can do both. Love you muchly♥♥♥

    Posted by Carr Party of Five | December 13, 2016, 11:25 am
    • You know, Lisa, you’re right. We’re here to learn, grow, love and hopefully pass something on of worth and value. Recess, art and writing my favorite subjects and seriously, what makes the world more interesting in my opinion. :).

      And I think so too—both things happening at the same time. Thanks for putting that so eloquently. Love ya back. >

      Posted by Brigitte | December 13, 2016, 12:59 pm
    • Lisa, my comments never show up on your blog…just wanted you to know—it’s not from lack of trying. :). >

      Posted by Brigitte | December 13, 2016, 3:33 pm
  8. I made a conscious decision earlier this year to also focus on the positive as much as I can. That being said, it also came with a decision to honor whatever negative feelings DO come up and instead of making myself feel bad for feeling those things, to just sit there, feel them, and then pick myself back up. These last few months have been tough for a variety of reasons and just yesterday, tears came without warning. But rather than feel guilty for crying when I have so much to be grateful for, I indulged in the cry, wrote out all my stormy feelings in my journal, then went calmly to bed. I’ve learned that my happy place is not just choosing to be happy but also honoring whatever feelings I have without judgment on myself. Still a work in progress and I think this holiday season will still feel slightly bittersweet, but I’m hopeful that the new year will bring better and greater things. Always great to see you Brigitte, I’ve missed you and your posts.

    Posted by lillianccc | December 13, 2016, 11:13 pm
    • Hey Lillian, so nice to hear from you. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here. It’s the not honoring and/or not acknowledging those “negative” or sad feelings that can trip you up. I think, we all for the most part, want to focus on the positive—of course! But being humans, we hit snags at times and it’s not as easy as one might think. I like the practice you have of feeling it, journaling and then calmly going to bed—resting your mind. I think we’re bombarded with messages that if we’re not Mary Poppins happy all the time there must be something wrong with us. That’s not realistic. We are human, we have ups and we have downs. The key is, as you say, to honor it, feel it and then hopefully the letting go will be easier. Joy is all the much sweeter for some of the pain, inevitable in life, that we face. I’ve missed posting and missed you as well! I hope you have a wonderful and happy holiday season, Lillian. Thank you, as always, for sharing your wisdom, that I’ve always told you, is far beyond your years. :). >

      Posted by Brigitte | December 14, 2016, 7:59 am
  9. Brigitte,
    This is a wonderful post to your blog and it is always great to read what is going on in your mind. I know that you felt alone at times during the hard times but we were here. We, your family and friends. There is an internal power and grace in overcoming those obstacles through self perseverance yet being able to lean on others when needed.
    I have also relagated the holidays into just another day because of my schedule. I know that sometimes it’s takes an effort to make the holidays special. I remember them from my childhood and try to duplicate them, but I can’t. I now make new special memories when I look at my beautiful wife and our two dogs and live in the delight of OUR life.
    I love you.

    Posted by Jeff | December 15, 2016, 1:39 pm

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the mood or character of a place, situation, or piece of music:
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