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As I sit in my new home, surrounded by unpacked boxes, I feel I am the luckiest person in the world.

There will be no tree or party this year, not a single wrapped present to give (they are packed in a box somewhere), no roaring fire (well, it’s been in the 70s this week), not even one bowl filled with ornaments on display.  And yet, I feel the spirit of the season and an incredible sense of love and joy.

Love and joy, Hannukah and Christmas, are states of mind, independent of things.  My transition during this end of year is bringing that home so clearly.  So, too, it is fitting that this is happening during a time when the world is getting ready to transition to a higher level of consciousness.  The end of the Mayan calendar is not the end of the world, but rather a beginning of a new age.

Change doesn’t happen without some chaos.  I still haven’t found my favorite mascara!  We need only look at the physical phenomena on the planet to see that Mother Earth is experiencing chaos as well.  As above so below, so within.    For many, this is frightening.  Inner chaos combined with a lack of love and joy can be a horrific mix.  We have seen that so recently…hopelessness mixed with isolation is a deadly cocktail.  We are left without a why…platitudes are woefully inadequate in the face of such loss.

This season is often a difficult one for so many.   The expense of presents, the need to give the perfect gift, the angst of spending time with family, the realization that old wounds are still wounds, the pressure of presenting the perfectly set table laden with all the old family recipes cooked to perfection.  Maybe Jewish people are on to something:  they go skiing during the holidays!

How does one create love and joy in the face of a world that seems to have gone mad, in the face of past hurts and sorrows?

There are so many blogs on how to de-stress this time of year.  All the tips are good ones and there isn’t much new in any of them.  I would offer this:  expect nothing of the season.  Do not anticipate that this year will be different, the best holiday ever.  Do not anticipate that nothing will have changed from last year and that being with family will dissolve in anger or tears.

Bring your best self to whatever  you do and wherever you go.

Don’t confuse the people with the problem.

“I forgive the world.  The world forgives me.  I forgive myself.”  (Thank you, Trudy Evans.)

Be especially kind because everyone is fighting some kind of inner battle.

Dont be like Israel and Palestine…cutting off every possible avenue to peaceful coexistence because they refuse to forget what happened thousands of years ago.

Allow your family to be human.  Don’t hold them to an impossible higher-than-most standard just because you feel you didn’t get the parents, siblings you deserved.

Have a sense of humor served with two dollops of gratitude.  In the scheme of things, your life ain’t so bad.

Take the high road.  Bringing yourself down to the low road, if that is where you think everyone else is traveling, does nothing but put you right in the pack of people you think are misbehaving.

If all else fails, it is just one day!  So ho, ho, but put a whoa on the blame game or the pity party.  Expect nothing, but along with dessert, leave some room to be surprised in the most delightful ways.

My daughter and I will celebrate Christmas night with dinner at The Mansion.  I look forward to being with her:  I love her and her middle name is Joy.

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