Years ago the Holiday season set my skin on fire…so much to do, so many to please, go go go. There was zero joy. Cooking, shopping, wrapping, decorating, racing around attempting to make everyone else’s holiday magical…while sacrificing my own.
In long term recovery from people pleasing and even longer term recovery from alcoholism, I relax… doing the cooking, wrapping and shopping with an entirely different attitude. I haven’t given up on Holidays, but on the frantic and insane desire to be “Mother Christmas” for everyone else. You see, inevitably, I would fail to my self-appointed role, which would only add to my self loathing and addictive behaviors.
All that changed one day…Christmas Eve 9 years ago I ended up at the Mall of America in Minnesota. Any of you who know the place, will know immediately what mayhem I was facing. I was getting that last gift that “Mrs. Perfect” must get or Christmas would be ruined. It was a zoo. It took hours to get out of there and as I left the mall, ready to escape to the jammed parking lot, a little old lady was standing, puzzled, looking at the rows and rows of gleaming cars in the snow.
Long story short, we spent over an hour driving around that lot looking for her car…but the miracle was what happened between us in that ride. We were transported from “where we had to be” and all the “to-do’s” and began chatting about the meaning of Holidays, family and love, spirituality and what she had learned in her long life. Her wisdom eclipsed my petty concerns. This was the beginning of a spiritual path for me.
When we finally found her car, she asked me to wait and came back to my window having retrieved something to give to me. It was her favorite Christmas mug, that she took with her everywhere, which was dripping with the remnants of her morning coffee. She held my hand and told me with gleaming eyes she wanted me to have it to remember our time together, and the true meaning of Christmas.
That giant mug is now my favorite Christmas possession. I feel its warmth and its message to me. I am deeply grateful for her wisdom, for the ability to pause and see that my sanity is a choice.