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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Finding 'Small Sparks of Cheer' During the Holidays

Photo by Carolyn V on Unsplash

by Catharine Hannay

I'd been finding it hard to get into the holiday spirit this year. Then I got a couple of messages from my cousin and my sister that reminded me to pay attention to small moments of joy. 

Not to deny the many problems in the world. Not to repress the grief we feel over family members who've died and whose birthdays are in the next couple of weeks. Just to allow some space for appreciating positive experiences and moments of happiness.

My cousin said: 

I read Catharine’s blog post about self-care recently. Shortly thereafter, I got “these are a few of my favorite things” stuck in my head. I never counted the Sound of Music in my favorite movies, but I did watch it several times growing up.
Tonight I started listening to the soundtrack and was pleasantly surprised at how fun the first few songs are. 

I hope you’re finding small sparks of cheer too.

My sister responded:
That's the key, isn't it? Not to ignore what's happening in the world but somehow to seize the moments of light and joy where we can.

For our part, [my daughter] and I found a beautiful new location for a Saturday afternoon walk yesterday along the shores of Lake Washington. It was in the 50's and sunny which of course is rare for December.

Sending peaceful thoughts your way!

I hope you're able to enjoy some of your favorite things during this challenging holiday season. 

Here are some of my own moments of light and joy:
  • Checking out a big stack of library books, including mystery novels, graphic memoirs, and Mujercitas (Little Women translated into Spanish); 
  • Drinking tea from Short and Stout, a family-owned business near my hometown in upstate New York;
  • Baking bread and making soup, which feels comforting and nourishing; 
  • Giving bags of healthy treats to the folks in our neighborhood who've lost their jobs; and 
  • Discovering this poem by a third grader, from Speak a Powerful MagicTen Years of the Traveling Stanzas Poetry Project.

by Addyson Urban

"I want to inch my way across life. 
It will take a long time, 
but I don't care.
I will celebrate the long journey.
I want to inch across town 
and look at all the things I can
before the sun sets."

Wishing you many moments of peace and joy during this holiday season, and a safe and happy year 2021.

About the Author

Catharine Hannay is the founder of and the author of Being You: A Girl’s Guide to Mindfulness, a workbook for teen girls on mindfulness, compassion, and self-acceptance. (Sales of the book help me continue to run with no sponsorship or advertising.)

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