One of the things I’ve been doing as of late to sustain me, is to look around me and find delight. One small thing of delight – that’s all there is to it. Sounds simple – right? After close to nine months of living under pandemic restrictions, I’m feeling the weight of it. I know we are all feeling the weight of it. It’s underneath everything we do at this point – and as we approach the holidays, the time when we gather with loved ones to feel the warmth of companionship and laughter at this time of year, it’s harder to muster up that sense of, we can do this! People have been short, grumpy, and well just darn cranky at times! And it’s hard not to be during these times.
I decided on one of my walks to look to our poets to see what they had to say about seeking delight in the midst of these hard times we find ourselves in. I was not disappointed in my search! Many of us know Ellen Bass from her book in the 1980s entitled Courage to Heal. She writes this in her poem,
The Thing Is:
to love life, to love it even when you have no stomach for it and everything you’ve held dear crumbles like burnt paper in your hands, your throat filled with the silt of it. When grief sits with you, its tropical heat thickening the air, heavy as water more fit for gills than lungs; when grief weights you down like your own flesh only more of it, an obesity of grief, you think, How can a body withstand this? Then you hold life like a face between your palms, a plain face, no charming smile, no violet eyes, and you say, yes, I will take you I will love you, again. to love life, to love it even
And it was when I read this poem, that something settled deep inside me. I also realized that it was thanks to the spiritual practices that I engage in because I know that without them, my responses and reactions could have been much worse! It also awakened in me the possibility to accept and say yes to life just as it is. To hold tenderly to this life that is and say yes to life in a way that is perhaps more meaningful then when things are at their best.
I think ultimately, when it comes right down to it, this is the message of the holiday season. To always remember that new life is always possible and to stay steadfast and true seeking delight in each moment just as it is. This is my holiday wish for you during these times! Be kind, be calm, and stay safe.