Winter Mood

February 4, 2008

It occurs to me that I lose touch with my Soul when I am away from it to long. This statement may sound obvious but the recent holidays and guests, however enjoyable, are far from routine. I am a creature of habit. I have working tolerances to my daily grind. When I exceed my specifications for a long duration problems arise. Namely, I become sullen and withdrawn. The so called Winter Mood. The time when I seem numbed from the loss of connectedness.

There are other times during the year when this malady can strike. Its onset requires a substantial diversion of focus from myself or inner peace (IP in Lady Sorrow terms). To hold the bond with my soul I must maintain a constant level of attentiveness towards it. Seemingly any lasting event can trigger the Mood. Though other than family vacation nothing seems to last long during Spring, Summer, and Fall. However, mid-November through mid-January are fraught with distraction. We all know what they are so I will not list them. Hence I suffer from a weakness of presence during this period.

Yet I know those who flourish in the season, reveling in the many chores. I notice that they act through a rehearsed plan from year to year. Apparently due to something called Tradition. They have slowly worked throughout the year towards these series of events. They then pique in the accomplishment of the multitude of labors. Labors that exceed the proportional load limit of stress during the time frame. Yet they truly feel gloom when it is all over and they must return to normal daily activities. Until next year of course.

Allow me to mention that I have celebrated this holiday period in a different fashion every year since the mid-eighties. I am unaccustomed to anything resembling tradition in dealing with the change of pace. Might I suffer from the disruption of Habit? Habit and tradition are different to me. The order that we dress ourselves each day may be considered habit. While eating Christmas dinner at two in the afternoon is more like a tradition. Many habits fall to the needs of the holiday season. Yet, as mentioned, since I’m without tradition I have only habit around which my day may be ordered. Can I then say that my gloom must come not from a departure OF tradition, as with those who plan for it, but a departure FROM tradition, as with someone who lives by habit.

What is it about tradition that helps us past the angst? I believe one facet of tradition is a possible mechanism for allowing us to behave outside of the norm. Tradition is a cultural positive and an accepted social pattern. Yet traditional activities are almost exclusively outside of normal daily behavior. Evident by a house normally occupied by two senior adults becoming billeted by the latter plus all their adult children, their children, the new baby, and 5 dogs; for two weeks. Where every transgression of protocol is dismissed as “hey it’s Christmas, we only do this once a year”. When under the umbrella of tradition are we not appeased by the alien actions & avalanching stress loads? Are we not permitted to call the unique, normal? Yes we are.

All of this begs the question. Can we assuage stress by planning chaos and making it traditional? This can, of course, lead one into the pitfall of expectations. The other landmine of the season. Yet if I spent the next eleven months planning for the holidays would I not centralize around prime activities. Though they would be odd for any other time of the year they could be a catalyst for focusing energy. The kind of energy that makes people smile instead of grit their teeth. If this is true then I should plan on starting a new tradition in the Polar house. Next year I myself will cut the Roast Beast; while wearing my Santa suit singing Deck the Halls and standing on my head. Did you catch that transition? I’m now anxious for next season to come. I had better start practicing.

I am sorry for making you read all of that just to hear me say, “Man is it hectic around the holidays”. The real reason for these statements is that this year my winter mood was dismissed after only a brief visit. Due mostly to the fact that I realized that my despair was caused by the acute absence of self. After that I had only to invite the awareness of my soul back into my house. Then “BAM” I was where I was before it had all started. I needed to understand my reaction to distraction on scales larger than daily habits allotted for. Once I did I was able to adjust for it.

Of course it will happen again next year if no changes are made. For how can I fully steel myself against these Yule usurpations of being? Considering the above I move towards a traditional remedy. Tradition. I will not create static plans but broad objectives instead. The Santa suit is a winner plus several more simple ones should do. These will not make the problems go away. If I can, however, perceive them as mere stepping stones towards my goals then I hope they will pass easily. Therefore allowing me a Silent Night.


  1. Polar,

    I have been to your blog to read and reread your latest post. I don’t want you to think it did not strike a cord with someone. The depth of this peace is deserving of more than a once over.

    I will be back until I have squeezed out every drop.

    Thank you for posting, even during the moments when you don’t feel as connected to self as you would hope to be.

    I love “Lessons for today”. They are tasty morsals indeed.


  2. I’ve tried three times to get my thoughts down on this, yet nothing feels quite right…I want to somehow express how wonderous I find the holidays, how amazing the mayhem feels and how much I love the absurd elegance of it all. I also hope you post pics of Polar Claus, next year. My cold and flu meds make me sleepy and strange, so I shan’t attempt to push around the glop of my thoughts further, suffice it to say…the best laughter comes from magic and mayhem and no time is more made up of such things than the hectic Yule season…unless your trying to dress a dog up as a hot dog princess. Both are equally ss amusing and odd. *g*

  3. immwia,
    You know, the beauty of writing this piece was that as I was forming the words for it I was also exercising the mood away from me. I becomes easy to side step an issue once I realize what it is.
    I think I will get as many photos in the “Lessons” part as I can. What do you think.

    Obviously you are one of those individuals who “flourish in the season”. My Mom is like that. Plus I know someone who begins putting up Christmas decorations in early October; 24 Christmas trees all with different themes. One in every room and multiple places outside. Please don’t get me wrong I do enjoy the holidays (carolers & the lights are my favorites). By the time it’s all over, though, I can’t tell if I’m coming or going. We’ll see what kind of goals I come up with. Should be fun.

  4. I can understand some of the feeling behind this. But I am radical in that I no longer celebrate very much in any way the traditions that I see taken over for commercial gain, valentine torure is well underway here. However, unlike most people I can do that as I have no family apart from my mother to be traditional for. This is freeing in all sorts of ways, but it also means I cast a very cold eye on the human frenzy that is the festive period. I cant seperate it from what is happening in other parts of the world, where people starve, its all so out of balance. The soul as I experience it, needs time alone, time to create and reflect and its no wonder you feel the need to seperate from it all to do so. And then of course there is music. I am never alone when I have music. I blame Pope Gregory and his calendar, I dont feel as though I live by its rhythms at all. But then I am a freak. Peace to your soul Polar.

  5. I know the need to nourish the soul and I found during the holidays mine became very disrupted trying to fit into traditions that no longer feel like part of me. More and more I need alone time I think because it’s been so long in coming.

  6. Polar,

    I love the photos in your lessons; with or without them, your words find an attentive audience. I say go with what speaks to you.


  7. Hi Polar,

    I’m sorry it’s been a while since I’ve stopped by but if you’ve been by my blog you’d know how distracted I’ve been by my mother’s illness. I hope to get back to visiting all my friends more often.

    I really appreciate your shared thoughts and feelings on the holiday season. I’ve been going through some serious thinking about what it means to me too and what I’d really like to do next year instead of all the excessive gift-buying and less time spent on the reason for the season. I always seem to want to shed things from my life around my birthday. It’s no different this year.

    Hope all is going well for you..:)

  8. The only way I have ever learned to transcend who I think is myself is to stay focused in the now, sometimes I have the energy to tackle the now in the shape of an hour, sometimes, a minute, others second by second.

  9. Polar. I read your post on Christmas with interest. This year Christmas was a time of reflection for me. My husband’s brother died on the 3rd December last year, my husband has been fighting throat cancer all of 2007 and on 25th Oct we got married quietly in the Florida Keys.

    We didn’t get caught up in all the commercialism of Christmas, just buying each other small gifts. On Christmas day it was just the two of us. Grateful to be spending another Christmas together.

    We still followed all the family traditions, a real Christmas tree in the sitting room, opening our presents and going for a walk before lunch, then had a roast chicken with all the trimmings at about 3pm, watching the Queen’s Speech on TV, before snoozing the rest of the afternoon.

    Without all the hectic travelling and visitors Christmas became a peaceful time. Time to talk. Time to reflect and a time to enjoy each others company.

    Surely this is what Christmas is really about. I won’t be going back to the old hectic Christmases of my past!

  10. Easier said than done sometimes bro, but we just learn to go with the flow and make the best of the situation as we can. At times, it really ruffles my feather when having to deal with some changes such as you experienced. However, I do in some manner find the whatever to get through this stuff.

    I’m more spontaneous which would probably drive you nuts.

    Here’s to better holidays in your future.

    Want to get together and have a cigar and good couple dozen drinks?

  11. Mermaid,
    I agree with you on the tradition part. I do prefer the old ways. I could never get into the manic shopping thing. I hand built some gifts this year and enjoyed it immensely. I’ll never be as good as my Mom who spends every Christmas Eve dishing out food in a homeless shelter. We are trying to teach our kids the power of giving. It worked well this year. As far as music goes I spend half my day listening to music I got from you, so thanks. I find that most people I agree with are out of the norm. If that makes us freaky then fine with me. Better that than go through life with blinders on. Wishing you & your Mom (or is it Mum) well.

    We have all watched as the Holiday grows longer and longer each year. You know that in a hundred years Christmas will last all year. God’s speed in finding time alone (but not lonely) to center yourself and reconnect with your grace.

    Yeah that’s kind of where I’m at now. Now that I’m listening I hear a lot more. Choos back at ya.

    That’s OK take all the time you need. Your mom is so blessed to have you. Is your B-day on Christmas!? Birthdays for me are a type of accounting for the year. Kind of a deadline for improvement. Trying to accomplish all that during the Holiday must be a pain. I hope you get B-day gifts AND Christmas gifts. Though most people might think you are double dipping I know better. My son has the same problem and we know the difference.

    Surface Earth,
    Looking at the big picture is difficult I think because we are not made for it. Trying to step out of our little universes takes more than energy. Ahhh, but when we can, even briefly, and see the world and ourselves unmasked. Then we can come back to the moment with renewed purpose. Not to mention better aim.

    I am glad that the post held your interest. Fighting this annual depression has been very important to me. I think your Christmas sounds like a most wonderful respite from the commercial holiday it has become for so many people. I do agree that the true meaning of the season is to cherish time with our loved ones. I sincerely hope that you have many, many more Christmas’s just like this last one with your husband.

    You’re right, I tend not to be very spontaneous. To me “going with the flow” is like water skiing with a helicopter. I need the comfort of my routine to help me maintain my equilibrium, and not be sent into the dark depression that can overcome me when I feel I am missing something. The couple dozen beers sounds good. The Wife, however, mentioned that she’ll not post bail or tolerate any three in the morning misadventures at Citgo (don’t ask, it’s ugly).

    Thank you,
    Each word of this essay dispelled it’s weight in depression. With each of your comments I felt affirmed. I now feel no Winter upon me and each day is closer to spring. Thank you for the discussion, thank you for your insight. all of it has made a great difference to me. Blessings to everyone and may we all share in peace.

  12. Thank you for a lovely discussion as well. I also feel comforted knowing I’m not alone in my thoughts and feelings when I visit your wonderful place/blog.

    I just wanted to tell you I’m an Aquarius, born Feb. 9th. I wouldn’t mind the double dipping tho, but I really have all I need and any more would be greed..:)

    Also, a quick update on my mother. She went into her present crisis thinking she had cancer in both her lungs. Her doctor and surgeon did all kinds of tests and poked her with needles and such from here to next Tuesday. They were sure, 95% certain that it was cancer. Well, we witnessed a miracle of sorts. She didn’t have cancer and doesn’t need that second surgery. She feels like she has a new lease on life! I know this was a miracle on account of all the prayers said on her behalf and they /were are so greatly appreciated by me and my family.

    Hope you and yours are doing well and Blessings to you and your family as well, Polar! Yes, may we have peace and my new motto inspired by Alison of Silent Verses
    is Let’s Insist on Bliss!

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