Making Sense of the Holidays
As a new mom I struggled with how to celebrate holidays. I wanted to participate in these times of year that feel intrinsically special. However, I was turned off by the commercialism and media onslaught. Add to that the issue of religion and I was in a kerfuffle. I was raised Atheist/Agnostic. I use those terms loosely as there just wasn’t a conversation around God in my household. When I would ask about such things I was told “believe whatever you want.” I was on my own to figure it out, as were most of my friends. We went through a whole gauntlet of figuring out- feats of daring like jumping off of 100 ft bridges into rivers, naked yoga classes at Rainbow Gatherings, LSD, raves, and on and on, trying to find what, or who, God was. It was only when I got really quiet and tried to see what was behind the veil that I found that Nature spoke to me. In the silence I could hear the trees, and the water, and the rocks. I could also “hear” the oneness in all things.
I knew how to connect with Nature, including our own true natures, but that didn’t help me know how to celebrate traditional holidays in a way that aligned with my spirit, or would mean anything to me and my kids. So I, and a lot of my generation, got creative. We made up our own traditions, pieced together from what worked from the past and what we came to understand on our own. It’s a tricky era. We’re not content with dogma. We’re wary of commercialism and increasingly disillusioned by capitalism. This leaves us feeling ungrounded and lost sometimes. I remember looking at the self-assured faces of my religious friends thinking, ‘I wish I could have that sense of knowing, of security.’ But I don’t and ultimately I’m ok with that.
So plunging forward, not knowing, but with some serious gems of wisdom from our grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and the sun, rocks, plants, and animals of this world, we create our own traditions. These have grown from the soil of the times we live in. We have the opportunity now to create rituals of meaning that can last long after we’re gone. We can decide today what we want to sing in our grandchildren’s hearts. Not knowing is sometimes a very good place to be.