Parts Pause Shifting Into Holiday Season

Nov 23, 2022 | Blog, Newsletters, Sunday Pause Mailing

Hello friends and colleagues,

I wanted to connect with you before the Thanksgiving holiday and hoped to send this on Sunday–a more relaxed day for reading and self-reflection. Instead, life gave me the opportunity to put an important theme of accepting good enough into practice.

I’m reassuring unsettled Parts who value predictability and meeting expectations that their response makes sense, AND that all will be just fine even if this doesn’t arrive on Sunday. Yes it’s a work in progress to trust that sometimes good enough, is simply good enough. Bridger, my happy timeshare pup, shows us how it’s done in the 7 second video below from a recent Idaho cabin retreat with just the two of us. This clip just makes me chuckle. He’s rarely tired!

As our cultural rhythm shifts into holiday season, how are you and your internal system of parts? Really, how are you? 

Regardless of our level of holiday engagement or disengagement, this time of year stirs up a range of emotions for most of us. Emotions like anticipation, joy, disappointment, relief, sadness, connection, stress, loneliness, overwhelm, loss, grief and celebration slip in and out of our days and nights. It’s a lot. No wonder we’re weary come January!

Pausing as we Breathe in and Breathe out…
What would help you open your heart a little bigger to the responses that get stirred up within you this time of year?
How can you welcome those parts and take care of them this holiday season?

One of the things that helps me welcome the parts that cringe in anticipation of the next six weeks (not all of me cringes, don’t worry!) is to find a few enjoyable activities unique to this time of year to mark the shift in seasons.
Since my last mailing 11.06 (click here if you missed it), Spokane received enough snow to enjoy some unusually early Nordic skiing. Ski conditions were marginal, but I’ve learned over the years to look for the pearls in the mud.

We see what we’re looking for, afterall.

Instead of focusing on my late start and the ridiculously early loss of daylight, the forest debris on the trail, or the inconsistent and sometimes challenging ski conditions, I chose to focus on the surprise gifts in the moment. I focused on how my body felt moving on skis through the snowy, silent forest for the first time in eight months, the intricate geometrical patterns of snow on pine needles, shadows and light, the sound of my skis shuffling on crusty snow, and an unexpected sighting fifty feet down the trail of what looked like two individuals sauntering towards me in poofy, dark, furry, hooded parkas.  
After skiing here for nearly 20 years and regularly seeing trail evidence of the moose who live in these woods (scat, footprints, shed antlers), the shadowy figures ahead of me soon morphed into my very own moose sighting! FINALLY! As soon as the moose saw me, it moved off the trail to munch in the woods. I hung out on the trail taking in my new friend at a safe distance with awe. Later out of his earshot, my parts squealed with delight!

Last Saturday, I was unexpectedly gifted another sensory experience to help shift me into this season. I received a ticket to a sold out 2 1/2 hour performance of Handel’s Messiah at the Episcopal Cathedral a mile from home. I had sung in the Cathedral choir here for several years prior to Covid. This was my first visit back to the magnificent stone Cathedral–a sacred space unlike any church in this part of the country. 

I grew up sitting in the wooden pews of Lutheran, Methodist and Baptist churches in our small southeastern Arizonan town listening to Messiah highlights sung each December.  Hearing the familiar soloist’s voices each year marked the development of my childhood. I still remember the soloists’ names and the unique timbre of each of their voices.

The glorious music and intricate solos from Saturday’s concert filled my spirit and reminded me of the beauty of the season and the mind boggling capacity of humans to create beauty, stir emotion and connection.

As we enter a bustling holiday season, I hope you can continue to take Pauses for you and your parts—whatever that looks like. I hope you can find the morsels of gifts in your life, large or small. I hope you can experience connection with loved ones—whether it’s in person over a tasty meal, sitting or walking together, or sharing a long-distance phone call. 

I hope you can connect with YOUR parts and with your loved one’s parts from a place of openness, love, and grace.  One interaction at a time. Do what you need to do to take care of your parts. Be gentle with yourself and with one another.

Thanks for reading and for your presence in my world. Below I include a link to Ross Gay’s gorgeous poem on gratitude—to read and to hear him read. Erik and I are savoring his Book of Delights, which you should, too!  

Our holiday cactus sends annual brilliant blossoms your way.. Giving thanks for so much while acknowledging the pain and hardship our world continues to face.

In gratitude for you, your ancestors and all the heirlooms they have given us. Savor and celebrate them! Have a special week,