Finding Spirit in the Holidays
By Shawn McAndrew
When I was a child, I loved the wonder of the lights that lined houses and buildings, trees and shrubs during December and the holiday season. The cold air always took me by surprise as I stepped out of the house to go run through the snow, trying to sled my way down the slightly sloped street.
As I grew older, Christmas was not as fun. I became aware of my parents’ patterns, especially my dad’s repeated patterns of Christmas past. My dad’s father was never happy at that time of year; hence my dad couldn’t find joy in the season. By heritage, I began to adopt his sullenness and depression. By the time I reached my 20s, I was in full compliance of the bah-humbug attitude.
Years later, after doing the Process and uncovering this insidious bloodline, I worked to heal and let it go. It helped to be around people who reinforced the joy of the season and who understood how to find the light at the darkest time of the year (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere).
Occasionally there are triggers that remind me of those unhappy years. Grinches who growl at the season remind me of my dad, who was the product of his parents’ patterns. In those triggering moments, I get the opportunity to look out at the rain – for those of us who endure eight months of dry weather, the rain is as beautiful as fresh-fallen snow on Midwestern plains. Birds sing outside the window and are excited at the prospect of delectable worms rising to the earth’s surface.
I dredge my memory banks for those joyful times spent playing in the snow and coming in for hot tomato soup and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches – even if they were on white bread! Those moments were satisfying because I knew I had played hard and was nourished by the laughter, exercise, and rejuvenating food.
These days, winter brings many ways to celebrate light returning. For many years, I’ve said December 21st is my favorite day of the year. Not because it’s cold and dark, but because it marks the turning point when the days begin to get longer and light begins to slowly stretch across the horizon a minute or two more each day.
Getting through another period of darkness is a testament to my ever-present Spirit. Even though Bob Hoffman founded the Process 52 years ago on the concept of the Negative Love Syndrome, connecting with one’s true essence – Spirit – is at the foundation of why the Process works. To be spirit-embodied means remembering those good times when triggers show up, remembering the light when darkness seems like it will never let go. On the horizon is a glimmer of the sun rising, the light returning, Spirit reminding me it’s always there, no matter how ink-pitched the night seems.