For my lovely Americans this week is the start of the holidays, YAY HOORAY STREAMERS AND MERRIMENT or the terrors of family and loneliness but it kind of is for us Canadians also. A few years ago we like totally copied you and dipped our toes in the waters of BLACK FRIDAY, which is pretty hilarious here. Like I don’t know about you veterans but we newbies may not be doing it right. We start a week in advance and kind of just keep going for a week after. The sales water down. Fifty percent becomes forty percent and eventually it’s just a free plastic bag. Also, no one fights. No one sleeps overnight on the sidewalks of popular fancy stores. There is no news footage of a desperate housewife or fashionista jumping a grannie in line for her limited edition Coach bag with the NYC apple toggle affixed to the handle. We are all busy like properly waiting our turns and apologizing. Sorry. Thank you. Excusez-moi. It’s okay. No you go first. Don’t worry we’ll still let you buy it tomorrow on beige Saturday. I mean we don’t even get days off, sniffle sniffle please pass the tissue. Even though we ate our Turkey with much less ado six weeks ago, I am about ready to check out for the next month and return in January stuffed with Salted Caramel Bailey’s and boxes of bon bons. Ho ho ho.
But circling back to how the holidays are gonna impact you. Here is the thing.
Remember circa 2012 when all of the new agers and hippy dippies but also important shamans were telling us that the END TIMES were afoot? I remember it because I was actually interviewed for a news program on this very topic. Did I think it was true? What was my sage advice for the scared and the unprepared alike? Well I won’t belabour what I had to say about it all but I will say this. It’s been occurring to me lately as I negotiate the ramifications of long Covid and its effects on cognition (I’ll story this one later) AND as the highways wash away from November floods, my family can’t get groceries, California has nearly burned down, and I’m going to stop the list there because we all know the list of plague plus A MILLION OTHER SUPER SCARY GLOBAL DISASTERS –that perhaps the shamans who forecasted the END TIMES had a wee bout of cognitive confusion themselves. What if, dun dun dun 2012, the end of the Mayan Calendar and the forecasted fall of civilization was ever so slightly confused (wait for it) with 2021!!!!!!!!????????????? Twelve. Twenty one. Twelve twenty one. One two, two one. Thunder clap.
Makes some sense, doesn’t it?
What is the problem with the End Times otherthan devastation and destruction and the inevitable fall of civilization?
Well, what I hear most from you beloveds these days is that A. time is flying by and B. everyday is Groundhog Day.
And neither one is making us very celebratory.
How can that be, Erin?
Well wouldn’t you know I have both a theory a remedy!
The thing is when there is mass global chaos going on we are constantly on red alert. For two years we have been, I think it’s fair to say, TENSE. When we go somewhere we are scared of getting sick, and we are sick of adhering to rules. We are scared of not having the right kind of documentation, of the extra effort that everything takes. We are scared for our toilet paper and our groceries and our precious precious wine. We are scared for our loved ones and our money and our children and our love lives and our futures. Which means that no one ever really relaxes.
We are not sinking into our celebrations and our rights of passage and our days off. When we change scenery, which we do so very less often we don’t fully feel it because there are those Covid and End Times eggshells we constantly walk upon. Birthdays are ‘birthdays with restrictions’ and caveats and often an appendix of rules and regs. We are trying to feel it and do it and get into the spirit of living but it’s tiring and we feel tired and sometimes we just can’t even.
And so ALL OF THE SWEET THINGS IN LIFE have been less sweet. Held a little at bay. Distant like the aloof crush who enflames us with yearning and then throws us only crumbs of affection.
We do all the hard things in life. We work and strive and accomplish so that we can rejoice and connect and feast and celebrate (at least this is how it’s supposed to work – more on this to come).
But then there we are looking in on it all as if from the other side of the Macy’s window.
It doesn’t feel like it’s really for us.
When we can’t sink into those tender moments, the reason we get up in the morning THINGS feel like a grind that keeps getting grindier.
BUT WAIT, don’t leave me yet I am not here to tell the saddest story of all time or even to help you feel your way through your sadness. Sometimes I am but only in a good healing way and NOT TODAY End Times. Not during the holidays. Not on my watch.
There is a remedy, and I am here with it right in time for Tofurkey and Tofuham and Football and Shopping to the death to help save the day.
How do we break out of Groundhog Day and back into the space time continuum?
How do we sing like little Who’s down in Whoville?
Laughing yoga, that is how.
If you have never heard of it, well rest assured that I am not going to ask you to stretch and vibe while you overeat and drink.
I actually met a laughing yoga instructor a few billion years ago at a retreat which makes me sound super enlightened and well actually I am thank you very much but this retreat is not why.
The yoga chick however was super Coolio.
She worked with you know higher ups and big deals like yourself to chill the frick out once a week by teaching them to laugh, which basically involves staring at one another and fake laughing until you actually laugh. Sound dumb? It IS dumb. Super duper dumb. But it’s also kind of magical.
And that is why we call it yoga.
Firstly, we need to carve out some sacred space.
We need to practice turning it all off.
Deep dive into your recipe, or your shopping, or your decorations or your “I love you, man” stories.
Give yourself to your cause. Take an extra day off.
Turn off the news for a few hours.
Be playful. Restful. Try something that felt good once.
We need to LEAN IN to love. To trust fall into our families and our loved ones whoever that may be, Fluffy the pet hamster, the nice lady at the grocery who smiles kindly.
Find a tradition or make up a new one.
Binge watch a favourite movie.
We need to LET DOWN OUR GUARDS. Yes. Take a day, or days to practice breathing out.
We need to eat candy for breakfast (metaphorically if you have blood sugar issues).
Lie in your bed for a few minutes before you get up.
Sit in a pocket of sunshine.
Practice practice practice seeing present happiness as if it’s the only thing.
And the moment it feels ridiculous or pointless or difficult, laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh until you scare the neighbours.
So the clock finally turns.
And an ending begins to feel like a sweet sweet beginning.
— Love Erin
P.S. 2021 I am bringing on the love. I’ll be featured in a podcast all about better loving, from healing your broken heart to intentional dating to creating a relationship that thrives, and I’ll be launching a sister site for all of you relationship and love enthusiasts, with all kinds of insights and offerings. Stay tuned!
P.P.S. One of the kindest things you can do for me is to share my writing. If you enjoyed today’s Monday Musing and know someone else who would please forward it to a friend.