Lonely at Christmastime?

Lone tree in fog

Here we are. Sitting at the doorstep of Christmas, knocking. Hello, Christmas, 2020. How shall we celebrate you, herald you into our hearts this year?

Many of us are alone or semi-alone this holy-day season. We’re isolating in family groups of two, three, four. Some of us celebrate with only the candle of ourselves. Those participating in larger get-togethers are probably not pausing at the hearth of this blog today.

We’re here, you and me, gazing at Christmas lights, maybe a ceramic Christmas tree, perhaps a nativity set passed down from Grandma and Grandpa. Maybe a cardinal ornament hangs from your cupboard. Few decorations or many, there’s a certain aloneness in our celebration, isn’t there?

I imagine feelings of loneliness may arise for some of us. Little pangs in the heart. Throbs of missing loved ones. Feeling perhaps left out? Sadness, grief, hopelessness, despair may come to visit our nativity set today. (Or perhaps it won’t, and that’s OK, too. )

Barry and I don’t usually spend Christmas-time with family, so it’s been many years of aloneness here in our little house in the woods. In recent years we’ve been sometimes breaking bread with friends, but not every year. I’m used to aloneness and sometimes cherish it deeply. I never know what kind of feelings might decide to join the holiday celebration.

What do we do with more painful feelings that may appear during Christmastime? I don’t know what you do, but may I share what’s been helpful here over the years?

Lone cattail

First, if possible, I make an intention to invite rest, relaxation, and connection with Spirit into this day. Moments of sitting down on the couch and just staring out the window. Breathing. Watching nuthatches and chickadees. Relaxing the nervous system. Noticing what is larger and more encompassing than thought. What is here–right now–that’s not a thought or emotion? Feeling the silence all around that is always, always here. Always available. We just often overlook it because it seems like no-thing. (See yesterday’s blog for a meditation about accessing this.)

It takes me between ten and twenty minutes of noticing the larger awareness before the body goes ahhhhhhhh. It’s a noticeable ahhhhhhhh. Dozens of thoughts may arise (like this morning. At least a hundred thoughts appeared). But I try to keep focusing and relaxing into the silence between the thoughts.

I will probably do this several times today. Just to connect with the Holy Silence.

Few

Second, when loneliness or sadness arises–can you see that it’s just part of you? We might say, “I am lonely”. But if we look more closely we might observe that a thought/emotion of loneliness is appearing within us. It is NOT the whole of what we are.

This is revolutionary! WE are not only lonely. We are the awareness in which sad feelings materialize. When a feeling emerges and we think we ARE the feeling–then this identification can flatten or send us into a whirlpool of swirling grief. There is a possibility of noticing that the grief is only PART of us.

When I see that it’s a part, I can tenderly turn toward it and gently embrace it. Putting a hand on the part of the body that is feeling blue. Whispering “There, there, loneliness, I am here.”

Seeing feelings as parts of us–not the essence of us–can ease emotional pain.

Self care

Third, an alone-Christmas is a great time for self-care. We’re being given space to love ourselves this year. What makes your heart thrill? How can you nourish yourself today and tomorrow? What little treats might you create?

Might a walk in the woods soothe and comfort? How about a brand-new jigsaw puzzle? Making art? A long soak in a hot bathtub–with bubbles! Writing in your journal? Figuring out intentions for 2021? Connecting with Spirit, in whatever way calls you?

Reaching out

Reaching out to others helps. Not necessarily trying to get attention to ease loneliness (although that may happen by itself). Just extending your warm heart toward others who might need a hello. A how-ya-doin’. Are you OK, my friend? How are you feeling today?

Tomorrow we’ll say Merry Christmas or Happy Holy-days or I love you to family and friends near and far. Some of us will thank God for social media that allows this connection. Others will praise Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, telephones.

Finally, notice goodness. Goodness shines all around, usually in the most ordinary of moments. Yes, loneliness may be arising, but goodness also shows its face dozens upon dozens of times in a day. Notice! The coffee tastes soooo good. Look! The skeleton trees blow in the wind. Remember! Oh, we are so warm and safe and cocooned and well-fed. Thank you for helping us to remember goodness…

I wish us all tenderness and self-care and holy attention toward any loneliness or sadness that arises in these holidays. May we see also the goodness that spreads its cheer around us, even when and if lonely feelings arise.

Much love, Kathy

Day 68 of a seventy-five day journey to connect more deeply with God, Spirit, Holy, Love…to explore “What the Heart Knows” during the waning days of 2020.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in What the Heart Knows and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Lonely at Christmastime?

  1. LaDonna Remy says:

    Lovely perspective. I wish you a happy holiday 🤍

  2. All wonderful advice, Kathy. We’re about to take a walk in the woods this morning. Huge rain and wind storm with predicted flooding and power outages due for Christmas tomorrow. Wishing you a peaceful, contented, and healthy Christmas, my friend! 🌲

    • Kathy says:

      Oh my–sounds like you have quite a day forecasted tomorrow for Christmas, Barbara. I hope you enjoyed your walk in the woods. That sounds lovely. Thanks your the Christmas wishes and the same for you and Tim.

  3. leelah saachi says:

    Kathy.what a wonderful peace you are writing from. May you bask in it ( I think you do.) Sweet merry Christmas to you!

    • Kathy says:

      Oh Leelah, you can feel the peace! It is delicious to just bask in. Wishing the same for you–or, actually–wishing you whatever the Holy grants you. You do so know how to sit with and transform. Merry Christmas to you as well!

  4. debyemm says:

    May we ALL see also the goodness that spreads its cheer around us. Merry & Bright holidays to you and your little house in the woods.

    • Kathy says:

      Yes! So much sadness and dismay all around–but so much goodness as well. It’s snowing lightly here and our wood stove warms the house. Wondering if you will spend time in your writing cabin today, or if that’s on hold for today and tomorrow? Bright holidays to you and yours, as well!

  5. Susan D. Durham says:

    Lovely way of looking at it all. The silence itself is such a gift, and really it “speaks” to us — it’s so full for me of all sorts of mysterious and wonderful delights. Today, I am doing what you mentioned .. intentions for 2021, and then I will do a little work before I cozy up with a book and some nourishing treats. Today feels magical. Maybe it’s the new snow and ice and getting to read your beautiful words. Merry Christmas to you and Barry, the kids, and your mama!

    • Kathy says:

      Susan, it just sounds so cozy imagining you across the bay cozying up with a book and delicious treats. Nice! And is the snow lightly falling over there across the bay? It is here. I am going to put on Grandma’s old snowmobile suit soon and walk out to the mailbox, but maybe the fire needs another log first. Much love, my friend! ❤

  6. Stacy says:

    I want a quiet, semi-alone Christmas. But while others observe covid protocols, the one person I wish would do so has decided not to. And I’m forced to comply. What do I do to regain the Holy?

    I will check in tomorrow to see what words of wisdom you have sowed in the world. In the meantime, merry Christmas Eve, Kathy. XOXO

    • Kathy says:

      Oh Stacy, that sounds SO rough. I know of a few others in similar situations this year with the covid protocols. If we went downstate to visit extended family down there–I am not sure anyone would be doing so. As for words of wisdom–I gulped when reading that, Stacy! What if no words of wisdom come out of the typing fingers? *smile* That’s been known to happen. 🙂

  7. Story teller says:

    Wonderful! Wish you a healthy, hope -filled , blessed Christmas. Thank you for your beautiful words.

  8. Barb says:

    I’m sitting with my tea, giving you my full attention this morning, Kathy. It’s cozy by the fire but single digits outside. Later I’ll go into the forest on the skis. I feel a quiet contentment at the end of 2020. Though Bob and I continue to isolate, we still feel the love and support of family and friends. I started a practice of listening carefully during the last several months. I listen to my own body and my own thoughts, and I also offer others my full attention when they speak to me. I think we’re all hoping for someone to hear us and to understand us in a deeper way. Since I started focusing awareness and attention on myself and on others, I feel calmer and less prone to judgement. Not starting from a preconceived notion of how things “should” be, has allowed me more accessibility to my own ideas and feelings and has opened me more fully to the ideas and feelings of others. I want to continue the listening practice in 2021. Thank you for your posts the last several days, bringing awareness to silence and to acceptance of what arises within our own spirit and the spirits of others. Merry Christmas Kathy!

    • Kathy says:

      Barb, I am imagining you drinking your tea and writing with your whole heart and attention. Sounds chilly outside. It’s about 10 degrees here now, brrr. Haven’t been out yet. And it’s sooo cozy inside. I really enjoy hearing about your listening practice and how it’s enriched your life this year. Just think what a different place the world would be if we listened that deeply to ourselves and everyone around us. Just to slow down and give the precious gift of our attention. I may–just may–have to write a blog post about this. But will see whether the Holy has something else planned. Merriest of Christmases to you as well, my Colorado friend. ❤

  9. Amanda-Lyn says:

    Merry Christmas ♥ This Christmas is harder than most that is for sure. My Dad has gone home and it looks like my adopted Mom may join him soon so while I want to celebrate this most joyous of holy-days ((and its my favorite)) my heart says “no we’re going to sit and pout and cry”. Thank you shining a light where even I didn’t know it needed shining and I promise I am taking “me” time today ♥

    • Kathy says:

      Oh, Amanda, you’re being hit from all sides and I am so very sorry. It must indeed be very rough. Not only losing your Dad…also possibly losing your adoptive mom…that is a lot for anyone. You are welcome for the shining light. The Holy whispered and said to write it. Said that some people reading would really need these words. Do take some time for self-care and lots of hugs for yourself especially. xoxo

  10. Sarah Davis says:

    Thank you. This is my first Christmas alone, but I have planned for it. I have the food I want, gifts to open, and FaceTimes planned with family and friends. I am only alone in my house.

    • Kathy says:

      Sarah, your Christmas alone sounds wonderful. You are surrounded by things to nurture you and connected to the ones you love. Perhaps loneliness won’t even tap your shoulder this year. xoxo

  11. Joanne says:

    Merry Christmas, Kathy! I hope my greeting is timely for you, and suspect it may be as it is late at night, Christmas Day, here in Australia. I have spent the day with family and my heart feels full tonight. I wish for you a full heart as you begin the day also. ❤
    There's something significant I noticed throughout this post. You speak of being alone as something completely different to loneliness. I wonder if people who spend Christmas alone, or with less people than usual this year, could find a way to accept the current situation rather than fighting it, would that help remove feelings of "loneliness"? I know that finding some form of joy in every situation has helped me through some tough times.

    • Kathy says:

      So glad you had a wonderful Christmas with your family, Joanne! And that your heart is full–a cherished gift of the holy-days. Yes, I do like to share that aloneness and loneliness are two different things. One is resistance and suffering; the other fullness and gratitude. A challenge is that resistance can be unconscious and then conscious intention doesn’t always work to heal and transform, although it can be helpful at times. It sounds like finding joy in every situation works well in helping you through tough times, kind of like the “noticing goodness” suggestion in this post. For many others it seems that feels an impossible task because of the unconscious nature of what’s surfacing. I try to suggest ways folks can move through toward joy and acceptance while honoring what’s arising in them. Blessings to you!

  12. Remember goodness — yes.

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s