There are a number of things I associate with my late Grandma Crow. Being woken up by a Tea’s Made in the morning, walks with her red setter. One of the most memorable of these is the taste, texture and smell of marmalade on toast. Grandma Helen was not an extravagant woman, but when she ate marmalade on toast she made it into a luxury. The toast was perfectly crunchy, the marmalade sweet and tart, and the butter salty and silky in texture. As the years progressed she forwent spreading an entire piece of toast with butter and marmalade and instead heaped butter onto a corner of toast followed by a pile of marmalade which she enjoyed bite by bite, piling on the toppings as she went.
When I discovered I had dairy and gluten intolerances in 2012 it seemed that this ritual would be lost to me. I tried gluten free toast with dairy free spread and no-added sugar marmalade. The very last time I did this, in September this year, I forced myself to eat mindfully to see if I even really enjoyed this experience any more. It turns out I don’t. It’s not because of the free-from options that are available to me. My love of marmalade on toast was rooted in my love for my Grandma. Repeating this ritual was simply a way to connect to her energy and feel comforted. At last I realized this ritual wasn’t working for me any longer. I had become attached to something that didn’t serve me, and I was grasping an experience that could no longer be replicated.
The festive season is the time we bring out all the foods we’ve been attempting to avoid all year. We also start to express our attachment to the material aspects of the season. Cue Black Friday sales and buying loads of unnecessary gifts for ourselves and others. The spending very quickly gets seriously out of hand. Around October I always resolve to moderate my Christmas behavior. Some years I do better than others in following through with this. After all what is more rewarding than buying gifts for the ones we love and appreciate? How can we moderate in a way that still expresses the love we feel?
Perhaps our gestures this year could be smaller and more considered. If there is excess cash for spending, perhaps we could be more mindful about how we channel that abundance. If there is not excess to spend, perhaps we could consider volunteering time to help those we know, or do this for charity. It is very difficult to teach our children how not to demand and give into their every craving when we are no better! What about those of us who are very self-sacrificial but indulgent with everyone else? What does this say about our relationship with ourselves and others?
However we choose to spend our time and money this season, there is one thing I think we can all agree on. After 12 months of living life I know there are more than a few things I could do without. I’m not just speaking about material objects, but about attitudes, stress and worries that have accumulated and are wearing me down. Many of us may have had a difficult year for various reasons. Life in western society is not getting any easier!
Let’s take time this season to take stock of what we have accumulated both in terms of wisdom, and the unhelpful energy. Let’s decide what we no longer wish to carry and shed the burden. It can be as simple as writing it down on a piece of paper which we then carefully and mindfully burn. This will create space for new energy in our lives, which we can direct into attitudes and endeavors that will be of greater benefit us and those around us.
There’s a workshop for that…
I am running two workshops this December. They are based around letting go of the stresses of the year and embracing a more positive outlook for the year to come. Let’s work all this out through the body in our Yoga Practice. I invite you to come and find release and indulge hope as we move into the Season of Joy.
So Much Love