The Christmas Holiday season is officially over (yay!). Yesterday was the feast of the Epiphany, the 12th day of Christmas, when tradition holds that the three Magi came from afar, following the brightly lit star that led them to the Christ Child. They came to bear witness to Him, presenting their gifts.
As a child I loved all the stories, pageantry and ritual that came with this season, starting with Advent. I enjoyed opening the Advent Calendar each day, lighting the candle(s) each night, saving my coins to deposit in our food donation box, and my favorite…ceremoniously placing a piece of straw for every good deed I did that day, into the crib which would soon softly cradle our little Baby Jesus..the Grand Finale. Being Catholic, we didn’t take down our Nativity, our decorations, or did we “pack up” Christmas, until Epiphany came and went. I did manage to create some fond memories over the years, but this life, and this season in particular, has always been difficult for me.
Strangely, or not, my best Christmas was the one just after my Dad died. He had died the previous September, when I was eight and my older, independent siblings pretty much stayed scattered, permanently. I think I remained in shock for quite some time. Luckily, my mother’s eldest brother and his wife generously offered to pay the airfare that would take Mom and I from mild California to the great Winter Wonderland of Nebraska. Back home it was mostly just Mom and myself, year round, holidays and all. But for this one, at last I was surrounded by lots of cousins and extended family, reminiscing, bonding, sledding, skating, snowman crafting, and a basement chock full of presents, fun, food, and playtime! That one childhood Christmas was glorious.
It was a nice diversion, but one NEVER gets over the loss of a loved one, especially a child for her parent. As an adult it’s hard enough to handle such a loss, but to a child, whose entire world is their parents, it is an unthinkable and devastating reality to face and adapt to. Back in the day, children were often treated as if they didn’t know what was going on, couldn’t understand anyway, and as time passed, would just “get over it”. Plus, adults often felt that they must “stay strong”, were scared of their own emotions, and uncomfortable with the topic of death. Fortunately, I’ve seen this changing a bit for the better over the years, in some circles anyway.
I’ve heard the phrase, “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood”, but I disagree. Once your innocence is lost, by whatever traumatic circumstance(s), and you haven’t yet developed the coping skills that come with the wisdom that age brings, you end up “stuffing” a vast amount of unexpressed, unconscious emotional energy that becomes disassociated out of necessity. You have no real choice but to go on, and “stuffing” is the best option at the time. But you can’t ignore it forever. Just because you don’t think about it or recognize it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or that it just vanished. We are many-layered beings, so even if we’re under the impression we’ve dealt with something, that might not be the case. It can resurface when triggered again by the present.
It’s important to realize that we must go back, not so that we can regain what was lost, but to finally mourn and accept what did occur…that things and/or people, didn’t turn out the way we wanted and/or needed them to. You must eventually accept that fact, not just intellectually, but viscerally, in every cell and fiber of your being. (Only those who’ve experienced this for themselves will know what I mean. My work as a patient, and practitioner, of Dr. Metz’ Energy Medicine has facilitated this process in ways I never thought possible; it is so COMPLETELY holistic in it’s approach).
On the flip side, when you are a youngster at least there is usually still a storehouse of adaptive energy to draw from. That’s what the adults see and say, “The kids are doing great; they’re so resilient.” But again, unfortunately, even this reserve can be tapped dry by unresolved trauma, adversely affecting health and well-being in some way, at some point, unless some proper nurturing, support and resources are/were consistently provided.
Even at that, we are ALL unique in our own valid experiences, what affected us and to what degree, as well as the rate and depth at which those things are addressed and healed. So we can’t compare one person to another in this regard, even if they come from the same family, or community. And even with people who seem to have had no external trauma in their lives, “the perfect upbringing”, dysfunctional Energy Patterns formed as early as conception can be silent and stealth perpetrators. So there’s really no room for anyone to harshly judge their own, or another’s, internal angst. Our personal responsibility consists of paying attention, investigating, understanding, forgiving, transforming, and be the best person we can be in the process. We can’t force the process, but we can set the intention, be courageous and patient. It all boils down to learning to have Love and Compassion for ourselves and others.
In that vein, this past holiday season was the first time I didn’t try to compensate for my feelings of lack. I barely “celebrated” at all. I finally faced the emotional facts, and really truly felt my pain from a very honest place. That is: I never had, or will have, a happy childhood that consisted of an INTACT, cohesive nuclear family, who shared/shares fun times, sorrows and traditions together, with any sort of inner heart-warming joy. (Thank goodness Mom and I had the Church and a group of family friends who “came to our rescue” during those early years.)
Later, when I was in High School, we began joining in with my Dad’s extended family, and every once in awhile a sibling joined in. And, when I got married at 28, I entered into a large Italian-Irish Catholic family, complete with grandparents and grandkids, who made homemade raviolis, went tree-hunting and did all those wonderful things I so craved to experience with my own family. Their’s was a huge gift to me.
Now that I’m divorced, my mom is 86, slowing up and counting down her final Christmases, I have no mate, no children or home of my own, and no money…Holidays are back to being emotionally challenging. As I said, I am in a healing process, so things feel kinda yucky now and I am acknowledging that so that I can move forward…Afterall, it’s never to late to have a happy adulthood!!!!! I am looking forward to what 2011 will bring; Life is such a mystery…you never know what you’re gonna get!
I am very positive in general and thank God everyday for all my blessings: a warm safe roof over my head, food in my stomach, improving health, a job I love, a functioning car, no debt!, plenty of loved ones, including family, and even when I’m feeling depressed, sad and “alone”, I am not bored or lonely — Thank God for all of the above!
My renewed epiphany is that I am Spirit in human form, both. “Self-realization before God-realization.” It is my job to confront my humanity with all it’s foibles and not to dismiss ANY aspect of it just because I’m trying to be “positive” and “spiritual”. In the midst of being human, coming to terms with such “imperfection”, and truly healing IS the path towards our human side finally surrendering the Ego, integrating with Spirit, and ultimately becoming that enlightened, perfect soul …the loving child of God that was buried underneath all that humanity!
Humanity comes and goes, lifetimes upon lifetimes, but the Spirited Soul is eternal. Nothing is ever lost, or truly sad, when I can keep that viewpoint…in fact everything feels truly blessed and I am SO authentically grateful!