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Dec 082013
 

Continuing the conversation from the December 7, 2013, EvolvingConnections Salon on Re-imagining the Holidays. Thanks to Kathy Ramundt, Evolve grad and Vital Aging Network Leadership Group member, for leading the salon discussion.

Salon participants shared their experiences of past holidays and ideas for making holidays more fulfilling. Here is some of what they said:

  • One individual spoke about wanting to change her experience of family gatherings that lack authentic connection and feel soulless. She made a courageous decision this year to forego a gathering rather than participate in something that is sure to be painful, even though her husband and son will attend.

  • Others spoke about the need to adjust expectations and traditions as situations change. Two told of a group of friends who for more than a decade have celebrated the Winter Solstice with a gathering of friends, food and homemade gifts. They celebrate nature, fire and the hope of the return of light.
  • Several talked about the difficulty of finding others who are interested in sharing a holiday with non-family members. Some spoke of finding those connections in their churches or neighborhoods.
  • Many had experienced being guests or hosts of near-strangers at holiday gatherings and being warmly rewarded with wonderful conversation and connection. A salon participant suggested that people take the chance of inviting rather than assuming someone already has plans.
  • One woman told of posting an invitation on Meetup.com for brunch on Christmas morning at Keys Restaurant. Ten people showed up. Everyone was relaxed and open to connecting without the pressure.

What are your experiences and ideas? This is also a great place to suggest topics for future salons.

  2 Responses to “Not Quite Norman Rockwell:
Re-imagining the Holidays”

  1. I wrote this Christmas Message after having attended the “Not Quite Norman Rockwell” salon. The conversation kept floating through my head days later. This writing was solidified in my mind after coming across the quote that begins this Christmas Message. I appreciated the chance to be in conversation with others on this topic of re-imagining the holidays. Ruth Hovland

    Tiny White Stars A Christmas Message 2013
    “It’s no accident that we all lie nestled together in the curves of the universe.
    We are tugged by the forces of celestial tides.
    Time unfolds in on itself and outward again in gladness
    as we spin around,
    each of us utter miracles in a sea of tiny white stars.”
    Jamien Morehouse

    Needing to take that message in and letting it settle. Reading it over and again, like rubbing a smooth stone, allowing the truth of it to float in and through me. Relishing in the unique beauty we all are, like no other, in this vast eternal space. The image of stars has been in my thoughts. So the linking with the tiny white stars sparked a visual connection with me. Looking at creating more intentionality during this season that often is orchestrated in lock step fashion; being pulled by traditions that happened in past years, through the decades or centuries. Not even giving attention to the purpose behind all the evergreen boughs being draped along the hearth or words crafted for the Christmas letter, boastful or proud. Caroling and mistletoe, getting caught up in the expectation, not the internal truth of all this season means. Finding myself missing those who have passed and are no longer physically in my midst. Those that had added a depth of intentionality to the season. Having the memories of the times with them still, but wanting it to go deeper; not just the “remember whens” but adding more soul to the time.

    Celebrating the beauty of who we are and what God designed us to be. What a message to share. To celebrate. Delighting in the gift of such a revelation. The world would not be what it is without each of the parts we contribute to the whole. That is the message I want to ignite during this season. No matter how many cookies are iced and sprinkled or gifts thoughtfully created and wrapped. No matter who or what you are or do. Whatever you may be struggling with or not able to let go of. The unequivocal truth is there is no one else like you or like me ever, or will there ever be. Reveling in such a miracle as that.

    That is what I want to shout from the mountaintops. That is what I wish to tell the wise men and the shepherds. Not limiting the gift of the savior’s birth, but letting it glow and shine more profoundly. Taking the inner embers bedded down in each one of us and letting that be glorified. Having that be made into a pronouncement for all to hear throughout the ages.

    So take that gift that is uniquely you, knowing more dimension and experiences will continue to be layered on top; honing and shaping the self that you continue to become, and let your internal spark become a pyrotechnic extravaganza filling the sky with your everlasting light.

    Hark the Herald Angels Sing
    Glory to one and uniquely all.

  2. Thank you, Ruth, for sharing your thoughts at the Not Quite Norman Rockwell salon and for this beautifully written message. I wish you a wonderful soulful holiday season.