O Holy Night (and the other nights in between)

I wrote a piece last week that was pure rage. Spouting off about all of it – the systems that need changing, the support parents need, the absurdity of childhood these days – I was not having any of it. For the record, I’m still not, but I feel I’ve found some clarity in my personal action plan instead of needing to scream to get intrusive thoughts off my chest.

Events last week (including a gun threat at my local middle school) lit a fire inside. A fire so hot that I cannot let it be doused by complacency or distraction or anything of the sort. But I’ve softened a little bit into my place among all of it. And I’m ready to write a new essay, one not so filled with fury and demands, one that comes from a softer heart and a plan for my contribution to the change we need.

Here’s my heart’s rumination and mind’s solution. We need to return to the sacred. We need to remember the holiness of our inner sanctums. We need to stop the automatic pilot movement through this world and step off the hamster wheel. We need to know we are Love in human form and act accordingly. There’s no more time to waste, no more excuses to make, the time is now. 

What a more perfect time to begin than this – the darkest time of year, the season cultures all over fill with light, with celebration, with intention? With the winter solstice next week and the new year soon after that, we are aligned with the most opportune time to recalibrate, to act with mindfulness, to invite the sacred Love of life back into our hearts.

When my children were babies it was easy for me to feel the sacred nature of (almost) every interaction. Babies, toddler, little kids in general have a way of sharing their connection with the divine, with spirit, with their souls. They are so connected that it feels healing to us to simply hold a sleeping baby. It is the energy they emit, the peace in which they reside. We know them to be of another world, here in a human form.

But that shifts a bit as children grow and their opinions develop more vocally and anxiety appears and they start to separate from their natural state of grace. They don’t seem as lit up by soul throughout every moment of the day, but start to feel the weight of society’s expectations on them. And with parents stressed to the max (hi pandemic parenting, I’m talking to you) and stretched beyond the mental, physical, or emotional health maximum, home life doesn’t exactly feel like a sanctuary for the soul. Often, it feels rushed, harried, frazzled, worried about all the many things there are to worry about these days. And there are many.  (note: this would be where I add my furious diatribe about structures in place that don’t help parents, mothers most specifically, but I’ll leave that out for now.)

Children know when they are centered within themselves. They understand, intimately, the feeling of peace inside their beings, when they’ve been allowed to access that place regularly. And they are aching for more of it now. Lately, my children have been teaching me, over and over again, that nothing matters more than the state of the heart. Recently we’ve been traveling back to the vibe of the early years of childhood/motherhood. We’ve been basking in the sacred as much as we can.

I realized this as a more tangible thought when my daughter recently came to me with a request. “Can you play my favorite Christmas song? You know – the one?” And then she described O Holy Night, the Nat King Cole version in particular. Of course I agreed. There is some sort of magic in that song, no matter what you might believe happened on that O Holy Night it refers to. I watched as both kids stopped what they were doing and absorbed the music. Not talking, not arguing, not cracking jokes, just quietly listening, being completely at peace with themselves, in that one present moment, breathing, listening, absorbing, aligning. 

It was a reminder of the possibility available to all of us when we can tap into ourselves, into source, into the magic and magnitude of this universe. It’s a practice, but one worth doing. We don’t need to do a single thing to prove our worthiness, do anything to earn love. We are the love described in that O Holy Night. We are the essence of love. And we are meant to be treating one another with hearts grounded in that maxim, with clear eyes and less-cluttered minds. We are to be seeing each other as extensions of the love that resides within us, every last one of us sacred beings of a love most divine.

If it doesn’t feel attainable, look to the children. They will guide us. And they deserve a world filled with this, instead of one where they wonder if this will be the day a classmate loses contact with reality and decides the best form of action is to harm. They deserve more. We all do, but they do especially so. 

What I know to be more true than anything else I know is that  it starts inside our own hearts. Deeply, deeply inside our own hearts. 

Instead of the rage I spewed in my first draft of this message, I’ll end with my personal mission for this coming new year and beyond.

I intend to bring back the sacred. To make every moment one of presence, one of love and connection, one that feels as deeply sacred as the one when I made eye contact with my newborn babies for the first time and felt the voice in my heart whisper “hello there. It’s you.”

I’ll do the best I can, anyway.

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