Monday, November 26, 2012

How slow can you go??

Martha Stewart's Woodland Christmas
This time of year has been a source of dread for me in years past.  Visions of the "perfect" holiday appear on TV specials, in holiday magazine editions and everywhere in stores.  The perfect table must be set with food served that rivals the head chef's entrees at the Hilton.  Delectable goodies must be made and served on just the right plate.  The images of people giving and receiving expensive gifts with delighted, joyful faces complete the perfect holiday picture.  But those images are based in fantasy and aren't grounded in reality.  The most memorable holidays are those that had their share of disasters, like the year we went to put the turkey on the grill to slow cook for hours only to discover that the bird was still in the freezer.  Over the years I have found that each holiday season can be whatever I want it to be and as a result each year is different from the other and that's a wonderful thing.  By listening to the pulse of each season and accommodating whatever life has presented at that time, I have found that all my life experiences are fond memories, because these memories are anchored in reality and not in a superficial image that someone else has created for me.  By maintaining a sense of flexibility and resilience I don't deplete my energy reserves that are so precious.

So, with all of that said, this year has presented the holiday season with very different circumstances than others have in the past.  Sid and I have sold our home and we are moving to Prescott, Arizona.  Our home is sold, but we have not successfully been able to negotiate the purchase of the home of choice in Prescott.  We are now homeless and that brings with it a feeling of being an orphan with no place to go.  Of course I exaggerate.  People that are truly homeless are in complete dire straits and have few resources.  I am very blessed indeed and I never lose sight of that.  But back to my waning energy reserves . . .     It was difficult to meet the demands of having a home presentable enough to show to prospective homebuyers.  Having our home on the market only lasted for 3 weeks, but it was a long three weeks for me and the result has been a slump and a flare in symptoms.  My challenge now is to pack a home and be ready for a move to . . . who knows where!  Ha!  If I lacked a sense of humor this would feel more like a disaster to me.  I know if I don't try to control this situation and I maintain a sense of calm and hope, everything will ultimately work out and I will have fond memories despite the urgency of this life challenge.  I now have three boxes packed and I feel a sense of accomplishment.  Just having a few boxes packed makes me feel as though I am in control.  When challenges of this sort demand more of me, instead of moving faster I move slower.  That's my strategy.  Have you ever watched traditional slow tractor races?  In the midwest there are tractor "races" at the summer county fairs and these races are very popular.  People pack the bleachers to watch these events.  Most are wearing overalls and ball caps that advertise farm implements, hybrid corn or fertilizer.  These fans congregate early in the hot, summer sun burning a "farmer tan" on bare arms.  Murmurs can be heard throughout the crowd as probable winning strategies are discussed and winners are predicted.  Everyone knows the contestants' names, because they are neighbors and members of closely knit farm communities.  The contestants have discussed their top secret strategies with only their closest confidants.  With a slow tractor race, the winner is the tractor that comes in last.  And there are strict rules; no cheating allowed.  If you have never seen a slow tractor race you can only imagine the event.  It is very much like watching grass grow.  The tractors must move as slowly as possible and still keep the engine running and in gear.  That's quite a feat and the true excitement of the "race" is at the finish line as the last tractor slowly, almost imperceptably, creeps over the finish line.  Those tractor races are a true lesson in how to run this race of life and still make it over the finish line fully intact and a winner.  When things get tough and life demands more and more of us, don't go faster . . . go slower.  That strategy will result in more life satisfaction, less frustration and a feeling of calm.  And your energy levels won't be depleted.

 So here I am entering the season of frenzy and preparing for a move too.  Hmmmmmmmmmm.  I have invited friends over for Christmas Eve and already warned them that we may be eating off paper plates; and don't expect to see a tree.  They laughed.  I am managing the demands of this season by altering the expectations that others may have of me.  I am fully grounded in reality so I am working to ground those around me in reality too . . . my reality!  In fact, I may have my guests pack a few boxes while they are over in the promise of giving them accommodations for an Arizona vacation.  I must tell you that I feel exhausted at this moment, my chemical sensitivities are flaring, my pain is threatening to become less controlled and I'm moving slower and slower.  I am very determined to cross this next finish line so it is okay to move slower and do this holiday season in a manner that will create more happy life memories and fewer stressors.  After all, life satisfaction is all about the number of laughs and having an abundance of love.  If you are one of those people already feeling the energy drain of this season, listen to the wisdom of your body and go slower.  How slow can you go??  We will hopefully all finish this seasonal "race" together in last place and then we can truly celebrate.  Blessings to you and your slow mo!
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