Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa in these peculiar times on the planet. This time of year is often stressful for many friends, and others I know go into a deep dark holiday funk. I’ve had several dreams lately in the tone of needing to activate an inner light switch now more than ever. One dream was demonstrating the power of smiling in a very exaggerated way, as dreams do. It was simple face yoga. Stretch your smile muscles without waiting for an external reason. The fact that we had the ability to do the exercise is enough. When a room full of people getting out of their heads and into their bodies smiling, everyone sits straighter and the room got brighter. The yoga teacher/army marshall in the dream kept flipping a switch on the wall that we would follow with straight face to smiling face to straight face to smiling face. Although the physical lights didn’t go on and off, everyone could feel the energy in the room change dramatically.
We were told that if we were going to be of any help to others, we had to start with exercising our smile muscles. There is a lightness of being that ripples out from that and soothes all it reaches. Even when we were doing the exercise in the dark, you could feel the warmth in the air against your skin, in a comforting way. I guess this would imply that smiling under our masks is still effective.
This week my dear cousin that I have the fortune to live with when here in Toronto, lost one of her longest dearest friends. A bright mind and spark that influenced Toronto’s theatre stages, community, and friends alike. Although her death was not unexpected, you could feel the hole her absence just left. This was Cuz’s second major loss of a loved one this year. Being present allowed me to really witness the incredible awkward strangeness of the times. Social distance mandates allows comforting one another and processing what happened through phone or Zoom calls. These times are definitely demanding new creative ways to be and do across the board.
No matter what the circumstances, loss awakens something in a way unique to any other experience. There is a tender vulnerability that allows us to feel everything simultaneously. The ache of loss is the gift of love. One can’t exist without the other. When we reminisce on someone’s life and who we are to one another, it awakens who we have become. Often when our wounds are fresh, the overhead light seems to dim and be replaced with the warmth of flickering candles and their dancing shadows everywhere. Perhaps these observations influenced my dreams.
For everyone who ordered mindful gifts from us this year, thank you. I savour every creative moment. I usually carry a lot of worry that people will get their gifts in time during the season’s high demand on delivery. This year the demand on the system with the pandemic is 5-fold. Every delivery company that I talk to are way beyond capacity and need not only patience and flexibility from us but a lot of compassion sent for the front liners who are all working overtime seven days a week.
So we have created a printable placeholder card just in case the gifts don’t get there in time, just drag it onto your desktop for printing. Then nobody is left empty handed.