The spirit of Christmas

So it was the week of Christmas, and I had packed 9 beads in a tiny marmalade glass jar and a suitcase full of Christmas gifts and clothes. I took the train down south ready to spend the holiday with family. It was supposed to be two days of writing, then 7 days of time off with Christmas celebrations, long walks on the beach and what not. But…

Two days prior to departure I got a cold and a slight fever. The day before the train ride was my birthday, and of course I couldn’t help but going all in, refusing to see the harm I did to myself as a result of neglecting my body’s scream for rest. The first morning upon arrival I woke up with the most awful soar throat I’ve ever had. The cold and fever was gone, but I could hardly drink a sip of water let alone swallow my own saliva. I had to eat pain killers in order to at least drink some life supporting water. The situation was unbearable.

A few weeks earlier I had been signed off as healthy by my doctor, and I had promised myself to treat my body better in the future. So what happened? It was by no means a dimmed picture I needed to analyze, it was more than clear to me what had gone wrong.

One, I had refused to listen to myself, and two, I had refused to speak up about a few things in life. The non-harmful lymph node lumps on my throat swelled to doubled size and my body’s statement was nothing but really obvious. I needed to rest.

New habits are really hard to reinforce sometimes, aren’t they? It’s one thing to tell yourself you want to change a behavior, another to actually act on them. Now I don’t remember who said it, if it was Guru Singh or Marianne Williamson, but whomever said that we can either learn from joy or from pain, was probably right. And I figured since my first throat debacle was painless, and this one hurt a lot, it was time to learn the lesson once and for all.

I spent the Christmas days on the couch, hanging out with my family the best possible way – watching movies, having conversations over tea, and reading books. And when the weekend came, I felt a bit better and continued taking care of myself the Christmas spirit way. For what is Christmas really about, if not spending time with your loved ones?

So what was the lesson of those 9 Christmas beads? The big lesson was that I can only have the life I truly want if I pay better attention to myself. That I need to release all preconceived expectations, because life is not lived neither in the past nor in the future. I decided it was perfectly enough to just be right there and then, in that very moment. To just simply exist. And for the first time in over a decade I was at peace during Christmas. I was not hoping for anything but what was, I wasn’t wishing for things to be different. I was just grateful for all that I have in my life. Because I had all that I needed. I was alive and I have people in my life, near and far that I love. And that is basically just what anyone needs. Pure and simple. Nothing more, nothing less.

Love, Johanna.

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