Such an interesting word that I so seldom hear anymore. There are several definitions for nostalgia . The one given by the Collins English dictionary is “an affectionate feeling you have for the past, especially for a particularly happy time.“ The holidays often bring to us memories of times gone by, especially of childhood when Life seemed simpler than it does now as adults.
I know not everyone had a wonderful childhood. Sometimes the holidays can bring unpleasant memories. I do believe that, for most of us, we can look back and find something to smile about, no matter what our circumstances may have been. For whatever reason, it’s the holidays that seemed to create some of the best memories.
In a time when Life seems to be moving at incredibly fast speeds, perhaps it would do us all good to take a page out of history – our own or just history in general – and slow down, make things simple, take time to enjoy what the season is really all about ( no matter what spiritual path you follow and what traditions it may encompass) and enjoy the people we have to share it with.
That was/is what’s so wonderful about being a child. We looked with awe and wonder at the possibilities that the celebration might bring. We smiled a lot and were excited in the anticipation of the upcoming festivities. Then we became adults.
As adults, we got to see behind the curtain of the preparations for celebrating. We lost our awe and wonder. We allowed the magick to be taken from us because we now had to create the excitement and all that comes with it. Many of us have allowed that to take the joy out of the season. It’s become work – extra work – and so we tend to just want to get it over with.
I realize not everyone is like that, but it is happening and in greater numbers than we might want to believe. It doesn’t have to be that way though. A shift in our perception and a little reaching down deep inside to that child we once were can cause joy to become part of our preparations to celebrate.
Becoming an adult should never have meant to put away the joy, wonder, awe, and imagination that we had as children. The fact that we now know that Santa Claus (or whoever is part of your celebration) is really us only changes our role not the joy of being part of the celebrating. Imagination, I think is the biggest factor. Adults can take the joy out of things by being too practical instead of using their imaginations to inspire and uplift themselves and others.
Let’s face it. As adults, we have pretty much allowed all the magick to be explained away and often with it went that joy, excitement and anticipation. The magick never died. It never went away. Many of us just turned our backs and walked away, believing now that there is only responsibility, obligation, and hard work, not only in our everyday lives but on the holidays as well. We’ve come to equate this holiday, in particular, with the gifts we buy and give rather than the joy we share and the love we feel for each other. Bah, humbug!
If you’ve ever watched one of the many versions of “A Christmas Carol”, then you’ve seen what becoming an adult can do to a person. I always found the movie (and I’ve seen almost every version of it) to be scary (when I was younger), entertaining, but also philosophical. It teaches an important lesson: We should never hardened our hearts by forgetting the joys that exist in Life. The best gifts to give or receive can’t be bought with any amount of money. They reside in the heart.
Memories are touchstones – so says the late Lynn Grabhorn in her book Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting. A touchstone is a memory that evokes emotion that can be called upon to help us reach that emotion when we need it. The nostalgia of past, pleasant holidays can help us now to “get in the mood” of the current holiday. That doesn’t mean we have to carry on those same traditions to produce that same result. Sometimes doing something totally new can be very exciting and a lot of fun. The point is, when you need to feel something particular, a touchstone (memory) can help you get there. Perhaps that explains why “the Ghost of Christmas Past” needed to visit Ebenezer Scrooge. He needed to remember the joy of celebration and the warmth of love felt then. You know…nostalgia.
There’s something just as strong that lies in those memories, in that nostalgia…belief. We believed in the magick of the season. Whether it was Santa, elves, angels, or something else…we believed! The power of belief still resides within us and still plays a powerful role in our lives each and every day. Belief is a powerful magnet, a powerful vibration, that attracts to us those people, things, and situations that are a vibrational match to those same beliefs we hold. We are the magicians, the creators, of our reality. Change your beliefs and your reality changes. Remember how it changed for you when you found out that Santa wasn’t real? (or something similar) Your reality changed.
But now you know. Just like Scrooge, waking on Christmas morning, you can change that reality by changing the way you look at things; by changing your belief about the holiday and about Life. Awaken that sleeping child inside you, who is still filled with awe and excitement, and nostalgically remember what the holidays used to mean to you then, and let them come out and play, creating a new wonderful version of holiday celebration with you! It may just be the best gift you’ve ever received on any holiday!!!
Wishing you all a very wonderful, joyous holiday season!