Still liking Santa, and standing up for your heart’s desires

What a wonderful, busy time of year this is! Many of us have holidays from school and work. We celebrate the winter solstice — the longest night of the year gives birth to the returning of the light. This year the full moon and a total lunar eclipse marked the turn. Whatever solstice means to you, triple it!

Then there’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Festivus. We gather with those we love and care about to celebrate our faith and traditions in good cheer.

Then New Year’s, Eve and Day. Have you gotten your calendars yet?

December is a month of bustle, socializing, celebrating, feasting, shopping, partying, getting out into the world. It goes by so quickly. January is quieter, colder, more still, more stay-at-home, more introspective, and is the longest month, in my opinion.

I dub December the extrovert’s favorite month, while January is beloved by introverts.

I love this end-of-year time, the days of Solstice and the New Year and all the days in between, as a time to wrap up the old year and let visions of my future self dance in my head as I prepare for a new year.

I once celebrated Christmas as the major holiday of the year, when I was a child, and later when I had a child living at home. The excitement of Christmas morning, presents under the tree — that rocked!

I still like Santa a lot. My friends Alec and Karan have a Santa figurine that captured my attention this year. It looks like ¬†an intricately branched piece of light gray driftwood with Santa’s face and beard appearing on one side. It’s surprising — Santa as wood spirit. This Santa isn’t jolly or merry, he’s peaceful and content. He comes from nature, not Madison Avenue.

Seeing their driftwood Santa helped me clarify that today I perceive Santa as a spirit of winter, a wise and wintry man, the epitome of generosity and kindness to children — a far cry from my childhood idea of Santa as one whom I could ask for whatever I wanted, with an understanding that he would bring it, if only I was worthy.

Of course, I always got stuff (good little girls like me often mistook compliance for worthiness). There was the build-up and the inevitable let-down. Too much excitement segued into something like a sugar crash by the afternoon of Christmas day, complete with tears. Rebalancing.

I understand now that in the way of the child, I was encouraged to mistake my heart’s desires for material goods, a far inferior substitute. In allowing that substitution, I also unknowingly devalued my own worthiness. Worthiness is not compliance. Worthiness is standing up for your heart’s desire. Those heart’s desires could not be wrapped in a package and tied with a bow. Indeed, often the heart’s desires cannot be articulated, only felt, as yearning.

In the way of the adult, it is the experience of desiring, even more than receiving, that defines us humans so deeply. To experience one’s heart desiring is to experience one’s worthiness.

Does the object of desire really even matter that much? Yes, when you are in the clutches of desiring! No, it’s that feeling of expansion in the heart center, that reaching out of one’s energy to include that someone or something else, that dream of something bigger, that matters.

Enjoy it all! The desiring, the receiving, the gratitude, the letting go, the not receiving, the disappointment, the moving on, the emptiness between desires, the new desire.

The child in me has matured through expectation, hope, delight,disappointment, skepticism, cynicism, to perhaps a faith in something inside all of us. Heart’s desires. For peace in the world and in our own beings. For love to give and to receive. For awareness of life’s gifts and brevity. For this moment here with you.

Best wishes of the season from me to you!

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