Have you ever seen monks creating a rice mandala or an african village preparing a pattern in the dust? Intense concentration and effort, everyone at work. Then, when it is finished the mandala is swept away and the village dances in the middle of the dirt. The result of days of work disappears with the wind. The quality of the art is not determined by the product, but by the process.
Then try this; next time you wait in line at the grocery store, read the headlines on all the holiday magazines. Quick fix this, super easy that, ten minute this and instant heirloom that. We live in a culture that accepts to be fooled by lookalike products as long as the long, tiresome and costly process can be skipped. We even expect something handmade to be a little lopsided and whimsical, which of course neither Faberge or Michelangelo would have considered an option.
Why do we think we have to hurry?
What if preparing for Christmas was not about products, looks and things, but all about the process of preparing ourselves for Christmas? How would it feel to make a wreath to remind your nostrils about the smell of evergreens and your soul about eternity instead of hanging something to decorate? What if the time leading up to Christmas was not about doing things to get them done, but doing them because doing it was meaningful?
My preparations have changed that way. I used to have lots of things I had to do. Actually too many things. All to making it look, feel and smell like Christmas in every nook and cranny. As I never was able to do all I had planned, as people are just as ( well, more) tired, different, happy or angry at Christmas as they usually are, Christmas never got to perfect.
Then I turned it around. Christmas is perfect, Christmas just is, we do not have to do anything to make it happen. What I have to do is to do things that helps me be there, amazed and in wonder when it happens.
I still do things. Most take time and effort, while the end product will not always last. My process of receiving, savoring, enjoying, listening, smelling, tasting, the wonder of Christmas stays with me forever, perfect.
Believe me, I know better than most how frantic and exhausting it is possible to make the season of peace and goodwill. The main story on Indexyourlife in December will be my way to a Christmas free of tangles.
All pictures at Indexyourlife are mine, if not otherwise stated.