Everything becomes something else. For example, my husband, Michael, has become a man who likes Christmas. He wasn’t a big fan of December 25, but he’s supported my love for celebrations surrounding the holiday: the tree, gifts, music, cards, and baking. This year, something shifted for him. He decided to see what it feels like to open to positive Christmas energy.
He enjoyed the pferffernüsse I baked, German Christmas cookies from my mother’s recipe. He bought some gifts and wrapped them. He admired the fat little tree I bought and helped me get it into the stand. When I suggested we join forces and design solstice cards then send them to friends and family, he was game. And when I had a yearning for the angel chimes from my childhood, we went together to buy them at a charming little shop at Mattick’s Farm. But best of all, he asked me if he could buy tickets to the sing-along Messiah for us. I lit up. Yes! We’ve gone to hear the Messiah before, and Michael—a good sport—had suffered through the fifty-three separate movements because he knows of my deep love for this piece of music.
But this was our first sing-along. We crowded into the pews at Alix Goolden Performance Hall, sitting in the soprano section in deference to my voice, and Michael went to the side table to borrow a score. I thought that I knew the soprano section so well, having heard it a million times before. I expected to keep up with just a printout of the lyrics. I was wrong.
The cold church filled with people in their various sections, many dressed in Christmas finery. Two sisters sitting next to me joked with us and rolled their eyes at the difficulty of some of those soprano runs—I mean, really? We faked it valiantly and giggled during the pauses. When at one point, I dropped my papers under the pew in front of us, the sister closest to me used her long strong leg and athletic foot to rescue them, pulling the damp papers back to me. We grinned at each other as I mouthed my thanks.
When Michael or close sister got lost in the score, one would notice the fluster of the other, and they would lean in front of me to whisper the page number. When it was time to sing our parts, we all stood, and it felt glorious to belt out the lines, “For unto us a child is born.” We cheered the amazing trumpet player during “The trumpet shall sound,” near the end of the concert. His cheeks ballooned red as pomegranates from the effort. Michael pounded his feet in high praise, earning a scowl from the sour woman in front of us and laughs from the sisters. Later, he said he had a wonderful time, even though he doesn’t sing soprano. He appreciated the experience of following the score all the way through.
Everything becomes something else. A resistance to Christmas becomes an embrace of the holiday. And then the storms hit, and we cancelled family Christmas. When I pulled the three of cups on the morning of the 22nd, I felt sure the tarot card augured well for me and my two sisters (and niece and son and husband) celebrating together the next day. But alas, the treacherous weather made travelling impossible, and instead of being together in person, we had a beautiful three-way telephone conversation filled with warmth, encouragement, and love. So that was what the tarot was telling me—find a way to celebrate, even if it’s not what you imagine it will be. Everything becomes something else, if you can just see it.
I craved Christmas this year. The year felt difficult, and Christmas seemed like a salve, a hygge solution to my discomfort. So, in my hunger for the lights, sights, and smells, I rushed to the Boy Scouts tree stand on December 1st—too early—and picked the chubbiest one I could find. Every morning I plugged in the coloured lights and enjoyed the sight of the branches decked with many home-made ornaments from over the decades. I especially treasure those old stars my children made in pre-school with their sweet faces in the middle of gold macaroni-studded frames.
But then a few days ago, Michael said, “is that tree turning colour?” “Yes,” I had to admit. It was dry and yellowish green. So, on the solstice, we undecked the tree, unwound the lights, and tossed it at the side of the house to go into the chipper come January. Where the tree used to be, I placed a small round table holding a tall blue vase of red gerbera daisies—a gift from a friend. I mixed in some evergreen boughs and hung a few ornaments from the lip of the vase. I circled the coloured lights around the table’s base and the vase. Voila! Everything becomes something else: A Christmas tree becomes a festive bouquet.
Free yourself from fixed mind and you will see this—all things are in the process of continuously becoming something else. Witness the impermanence, get up close to it, get curious about it. It happens anyway, so allow it to happen with a loving, joyous, open heart. That’s the trick. And a micro dose of psilocybin doesn’t hurt, either.
I wish love, warmth, and all good things to you this season.