Holiday decorations add color and joy to the lagoon in downtown Loveland, Colo.
By Shelley Widhalm
Christmas can be a season of joy or not so much depending on your personal story and outlook on holidays in general.
First off, there’s the over-commercialization and the religious aspects. There also can be stress, anxiety and fatigue from a change in routine. I think of it as another month of the year with lots of red and green, repetitive (and beautiful) Christmas music, and a time to practice contentedness.
The Joy Bubble
That contentedness comes from acceptance and a bubble—I accept what is, I try for what I want, and I have a bubble around me to protect me from negative emotions. I feel them, of course, and then let them go. I also encounter crap (from not-so-nice people and things not working out just how I want) that I absorb being highly sensitive, but then I have to move on.
However, I haven’t fully learned the turn-the-other-cheek lesson, though as a non-confrontational person, I say things in my usual sweet voice (but my thoughts are not so nice). I want to work on my thoughts and brush off the negative and quickly move on.
Why am I going into all of this? Well, I committed to a weekly blog (and skipped a few weeks this year) and can’t seem to focus on writing. I just talked with a friend who brought up the holidays depression bit, and I told him about my bubble and how I go out in nature every day (I’m a runner and photographer) and take joy in that.
The Joy Choice
Joy, really, is a choice (for those of us who aren’t in the midst of awful life situations)—but if life is okay enough with bills paid, a job, friends, family and everything in place, it can be practiced on a daily basis (or at least for the most part). I chose joy because I don’t like being down. It’s too stressful, and it makes me tired. It takes more energy being sad and angry than going about, thinking, “Whatever.”
In my practice of joy this year, I even liked to learn snow. I used to say I hate snow, but then I realized how pretty it is stuck all sparkly like to the trees. We got two-plus feet of it here in Colorado just before Thanksgiving, and it’s still hanging about. Joy.
I also learned to like having a business—it’s kind of hard, at least for me as a dreamy artist type. I go to the Loveland Business Development Center and am advised to make my blog about promoting my writing and editing. I really doubt I did that here.
Writing for Joy
But here goes—the holidays are a busy time of year (wonderful or sad, however you look at them), but the need to market doesn’t go away just because it’s December. In fact, blogs, articles and edited content need to be kept up to pace, so that when it’s Jan. 1 and resolution time, the getting-behind-feeling won’t be there, and it will be time to start anew with new goals.
The thing about goals is that meeting them, even halfway, is a way to feel joy. I know, because I’m still in business after three years (I thought that would never happen), I came up with a plan to publish my novels, and I’m improving as a writer because I do it all the time. All. The. Time.
I love writing. I found my love. How can I not be joyful with a big love like that?
6 thoughts on “Merry Christmas (with Reflections on Joy)”
Glad you have joy in writing! I like the idea of a bubble to keep out the negative things that intrude. I would suggest (as someone confronting a bit of not good news) that it’s important to seek and choose joy wherever you find it, if only for a few moments as a way to keep going on the journey.
I am sorry you are confronting some not-good news. That is always hard to process. I like the idea of seeking joy even for a few minutes. I do rely on nature a lot for that. I check in daily with the ducks at the lagoon and take joy in their fun behaviors!
Great work! Love its beautifully written honesty about the season. It really is quite chaotic, being human, during what is portrayed as we should all be bouncing off the wall happy the entire time. I don’t know one person who is…
I don’t know one person who is either. I am happy at times and other times have to work at it and then others have to process the sad/other feelings. Thanks for reading this!
Good reading Shelley. Everyone is searching for joy and somehow, we need to realize that it’s inside of us everyday. Thanks for your insight.
Thank you, Candy. I like the idea that joy is inside of us every day. I do have to work at it, and I’ve learned to see that hard times aren’t forever!