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New & Spectacular


Our tree is a bit lopsided this year, intently leaning to the right. We incorporated Easter and Halloween, determined to exercise New & Spectacular wherever possible. How else are we to handle this strange reality of Covid-StayatHome-Masked-AloneTogether? I am not always clear on what day it is. Right now it is past midnight and I am writing because I cannot sleep. My daughter just called to ask if she needed to be home at a certain time, she is stargazing with a friend at the beach, using the SkyView app, which is becoming a new Saturday night ritual. (Her brother and I have been invited to join next weekend). She woke me up with her sense of responsibility and I got to thinking.


I do not want to buy presents this year.


I also do not want to receive any presents. Just not interested in anything material, I feel like we have so much stuff already.


Now I will also add, I hate to shop. Especially these days. My new bras don't fit and I am not sure I can muster the strength for a return. Never before have I purchased support without first trying it on and of course now I know why. For two days I have tucked myself into 'slightly strangled' hoping I might stretch it out, fully realizing it will take approximately 24 months to achieve the comfort I seek. Compelled, in a brief fit of determination, I stopped by the store on my way home today and the line out front just kept me driving. I lack patience here, oh, and desire.


I want to come up with a new language. I have been struggling for weeks with my resistance to buy presents this year. I am feeling festive and generous, wanting more of a quiet celebration, focused on cherishing others in a different way. Homemade and from the heart. Looking to weave a bit of my essence into my gift giving. We have all heard this before, it is nothing new. Calling out the annual need to purchase because I can't find the time nor the creativity is not true for me this year. Will I muster the courage? I also decided two days ago that I cannot put this on others, it is personal. Everyone needs to do what works best for them.


What am I holding onto? The way it has always been? Is there a should in here somewhere? I am pretty clear on what works for me. My son has his own ideas too. My daughter as well. So why do I feel unsettled? What is this discomfort all about? I have known for a long time that my way is not always well received by others and I have recently come to a place of deep acceptance around it. Or so I thought. Maybe I am worried about not meeting the needs of others? I think it is actually closer to feeling bad for not wanting to be more. How do I really just be okay with what works for me?


A few hours ago my son slid into the living room, put his hands on the arm of the couch and leaned in to say: "I don't want to buy gifts this year. I don't want to get any either. (I just gawked and listened) It's Covid, who wants to be in a store? Who has any money? Mom, what if we were to write letters? What's most important is that we show our love in meaningful ways, it's more about family and connection. How about we do that and if we get any arguments we just stand our ground? What do you think?" Then he slid out.


I think alot. I hope he can pull that off.


I woke up the other morning with a clear vision of color, bright orange and deep red/almost purple. Inspired by fruit from my garden while seeking a burst of summer on these winter days, Orange Cranberry Marmalade popped into my head. I could see it, almost taste it. That culinary adventure led me to Persimmon Cranberry Chutney. I have been creating from heart and following my desire to capture delight in a jar. This is my gift for 2020.


I have actually spent a good part of my day canning fabulous color. Rich and vibrant is my new favorite flavor. Deep in thought, stemming from the wisdom of Pema Chodron's book When Things Fall Apart, I am influenced greatly by these words: The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves. Maybe I can just be happy with my colorful jars, hand them out with a smile and leave it at that. If I helplessly generate concern or worry, perhaps I can offer a full holiday embrace, just hold all of me as I show up? The way to dissolve our resistance to life is to meet it face to face.


I am more glad to be creating than anything else. These jars of delicious are my signatures in a time of chaos. For nine months I have been turned inside out, exposing all my vulnerable in a conscious state of discomfort. It's like wearing a new cloak that I can't take off. My welcoming determination to deeply feel into it has me whispering gently "All is okay". I want to be here. And from this place I can make something real for others to enjoy, offering a unique and specific experience. With a small spoon one can taste my vision: a bright dance of textured flavor.


And tomorrow I may change my mind. Who knows what will happen?


Impermanence becomes vivid in the present moment, so do compassion and wonder and courage. And so does fear.




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