Joyeux Noel, 2009

Well as a starter, Merry Christmas to you and yours and may all the blessings of this season of the year be upon you today and the whole year through.  This being my 65 Christmas you would think  I would be a pro at producing it by now, but Christmas despite the similarities from year to year, is as different one from the other as are the snow flakes.

This year the tradition was for Bernie and I to stay home and celebrate with each other the gratitude that we both feel living in a small paradise, overlooking a frozen white lake.  The cottage is beautifully decorated in white lights, and candles adorn every corner of the house and light up a poinsettia or a sprig of blooming holly.  I did not tire all day of listening to Christmas Liturgical  music on Pandora. How they manage to play such sacred and beautiful music with no interruptions is a high tech blessing in itself.  And the food, well a sweet & quaint inn in Quebec City could not have produced a better Christmas dinner.  Bernie stuffed a pork roast with apples and pears and cranberries, and roasted beets and turnips and we cracked open a bottle of delicious sparkling water, oh, and the mango cranberry relish was divine.

It was a perfect Christmas, and last night, just to add to the melodrama of it all, we stayed home and watched a 1947 version of White Christmas with Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby.

Least you think we planned all of this, we did not.  Actually, it was Bernie’s way of making lemonade out of the proverbial lemons.  After getting my flu shot, my immune system being already somewhat crashed due to my chipmunk mind’s free wheeling, I proceeded to get the flu from the live virus that modern medicine sees fit to to squirt up our collective noses.  We had wonderful invitations to Friends homes for both Christmas Eve festivities as well as for a vegetarian christmas dinner. But when the flu calls, well you simply sneeze, sniffle & and say yes to the uninvited guest.

As a finishing touch we sat at the table and sipped a delicious herbal tea and had a piece of German fruit cake–a perfect christmas confection. If you ever hear me complaining about undesired outcomes, please remind me of Christmas 2009.  I could not be more grateful for the flu that I have been these last few days.

But, it does bring up a constant, or perhaps I should use the word, “chronic” notion and that notion is: Nostalgia.  I do not think that grammatically I should have capitalized the word and perhaps it should have been encapsulated with quotation marks.  Something needs to encircle that word because it has to be harnessed.

Only recently did I discover that it was actually first coined by a Frenchman as a disease, mal du pays. It means a sickness that arises from wanting to be home…homesickness.  All these years I have been romanticizing the concept as a delicious longing, akin to loving.  It entered my consciousness as a form of bittersweet memory for the love and companionship of my devoted grandmother, later as a deep heart felt regret that my marriage to the one love of my life had failed due to my selfish, greedy desire of wanting more, for never being satisfied.  Again later, it got all entangled with the father I should have been and the opportunities lost to my out of control grab the gusto mentality.

Nostalgia this year seemed to have had less of a grip on me.  I am pretty sure that the work that I have been doing of emerging from the the ego, out of narcissism into a space of stillness has a great deal to do with how I was able to make lemonade out of this flu.  I am looking for every opportunity to follow the bell into silence.  And although it was not the bell that I would have chosen, following the flu into a new christmas tradition ended up as a wonderful destination.

It remains simply awesome to me what the power of  a singing bell can do to a mind absorbed with fear, disappointment, and worry that the outcomes will not be what I want or what I think I need it to be.  But when the task at hand is the only task in mind then an acceptance of the moment becomes the only thing that matters.  The process takes over and it becomes clear that outcome was never meant to be in my purview.


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