Blue Flame Space between Thanksgiving, Hanukkha and Christmas

fire in microgravity blueFlameCandlelight illuminates Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas.  The candle flame has long been a symbol of your own inner fire, soul energy, creative powers and life force.  How do you care for and tend your inner fire now that Thanksgiving has passed and two big holidays are near?

Will you be captured by cultural extravagance and get set uncontrollably ablaze in your eating disorder thinking and behaviors?  Or will you be mindful, appreciative and attentive to your flame within?

The pictured above blue flame I found on the NASA site.  It's the flame of a candle in almost no gravity conditions. Air provides buoyancy.Without the presence of buoyancy in space, a candle flame appears as a small blue flame centered on the wick.

What a gorgeous metaphor! You, between the energy surges of the holidays, can use this image to tend to your own natural inner fire as it eternally blooms when cultural pressures are absent.

How much buoyancy from your environment and learned habits will you bring to your blue flame?  You've survived Thanksgiving and perhaps learned more about your triggers and how to cope with them.

More triggers are coming if you allow them.  You don't have to let this time before the holidays pour tension and expectations into your life.  You can choose, what, when and how much just as you are learning to choose, what, when and how much in terms of the food you eat.

Bringing air to the blue flame in space creates hot fire.  Astronauts learn how to keep that stimulation at a minimum while providing enough oxygen for them to breathe.  What steps can you take to keep holiday stimulation at a minimum while you accept enough refreshing pleasure to allow you to enjoy this time?

See how astronauts learn to prevent fire in space here.

Now is the time to meet your present challenge.  You don't want dramatic emotions or major eating or starving activities to erupt. Yet you want enjoyable holidays.
Question for your meditation and prompt for your journal:  How can you tend your inner fire and keep it blue? 

Please share your response here too. 


0 # Trying to tighten everything upshh 2012-12-03 16:25

Ahh Joanna, it's so interesting that you've posted this, as things have slipped a little recently and I'm just trying to tighten everything up a bit, and get myself back into a good routine, ready to face the impact of the Christmas festivities.

By "tightening up", I mean getting to bed early enough, cutting refined carbs, and making time to journal... all things that I've let slip a little bit with being so busy lately, and as I know I'm busy right up to the end of January, I know that I need to address it now, before the disruption of Christmas sets in properly.

I'm a bit apprehensive about Christmas, as everyone used to come to my house - last year was the first year without my dad (as he passed away), and this year will be the first year without the rest of the family (since I've detached myself). It's not even that I'm overly worried about having a quiet Christmas - it's that I know my family will pop up at some point and kick up a fuss and cause trouble - that's the thing I'm dreading!

So all I can do is attend to my own needs and try to be in as good a place as possible, ready for when it happens

0 # tightening uppinkjoanna 2012-12-03 17:08
Dear Shh,

You said it all when you said, "So all I can do is attend to my own needs and try to be in as good a place as possible, ready for when it happens."

As the years go by the collage of my past Christmases increases in size and scope. Some years with parents, some as the parent, some at others' homes, some at hotels while traveling, one at Esalon, some with many people, some with few.  Some Christmases I've been ill and quiet.  Others have been festive with many parties. And a few I've spent alone.

One Christmas that stands out for me in a rich and beautiful way was a Christmas I spent alone.  I wasn't ill. Family was away. I don't remember now why I didn't connect with friends.  Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I read a book that was full of stories based on the beliefs people held from all over the world.

I remember vaguely, a few phone calls.  But what is most vivid in my mind is sitting on the couch, by the fire, with a pot of tea, reading these wonderful stories.  Some made me smile.  Some created awe and wonderment.  A few brought tears.

I love spending Christmas with my family, with children bounding through the wrapping paper as they discover and rediscover their new gifts.  I love the excitement in finding the reindeer teeth marks on the carrots we left along with the cookies for Santa.  The crumbs in the dish are always viewed with tingling awe by the little ones. 

A list of what I like about the holiday - festive, peaceful, spiritual, silly, fun and all the rest -  would be quite lengthy.  What I want to share with you is that the one Christmas I spent alone by the fire with the spirit of Christmas stands out more intensely and with greater lush spiritual satisfaction as the years pass.

When we keep our hearts open and our expectations closed, wonderful surprises can happen.
0 # beautiful storiesmylifex2 2012-12-06 18:13
Thanks for sharing your story, Joanna. It was beautifully written.
Shh, I think you know how much I admire how far you have come.  I understand your anxiety about wanting to have a peaceful holiday, alone with your girls, uninterrupted by drama. You certainly deserve it! I had always been with my parents and siblings each christmas, spending the night on christmas eve, until the girls came along. I wanted to start our own tradition of waking up and spending the morning together, without the chaos of, like, 10 other people...just the three of us. It is so nice.
This year I have been making attempts to "slow down" a little. I am not very successful most days, but it is something I strive for. That being said, and this may sound trivial, but I have told my girls that this year we are not going to rush through the gifts. We are going to take turns opening a gift each, and give proper time to appreciate the moment and the person who gifted. Take a picture or two, enjoy the screams of joy and delight. I know this will be hard for my 5 year old especially, but patience is a wonderful skill to learn, as is learning to savor a special moment that makes a memory.
0 # lovely giftspinkjoanna 2012-12-06 19:11
Tracy, teaching your children patience and the lush joy of savoring, is a gift in itself.  They will appreciate everything more on Christmas and throughout their year....their lives....once they learn this.

They also learn to experience joy through empathy as they appreciate the happiness of the people around them.  

:-)    Lovely lovely lovely
0 # Thank youshh 2012-12-08 09:44

Thanks Joanna

I am in such an exciting place personally at the moment, that I'm really enjoying any time that I get alone to reflect, as there is just so much coming out of it.

I think it's just that I worried that my girls expectations of Christmas and New Year are what they've always known - action packed and one long party, and that the contrast might hit them quite hard. But I spoke to them about it last week, and they were actually fine with it - they are looking forward to having me all to themselves, to play with their new toys and games with them and not be the cook, cleaner, hostess that's always wanted in 5 places at once. I've said that they can help to choose the food for Christmas Day dinner and that it doesn't have to be the traditional turkey and trimmings, it can be whatever would make it a special meal for, hopefully, it will be different to usual, but very special in its own way.

Tracy, I love the idea of opening presents with love and care and appreciating the thought that went into them. I tend to let the girls go a bit crazy unwrapping their presents from Santa, but we save our family presents under the tree for later in the day, so that we can take turns to open them and appreciate them a bit more :-)



0 # jealous :)mylifex2 2012-12-08 18:23
shh...I would LOVE to spend my whole day with just me and the girls...your plan sounds absolutely WONDERFUL!  There is a lot of chaos in my family most of the time, but this year may get especially crazy.  There was an incident at my nieces wedding some weeks ago. My mom became upset because my sister's birth mother (my nieces grandmother) was asked to sit with the grandparents. My mom has always felt very upset since my sister found her birth mother about 15 years ago. This woman has been around for parties and such, but my mom was upset that my sister and niece held her to such a high honor as to place her with the "family".
My mom left after the wedding, not staying for the reception. Now she and my sister are not talking and my mom has stated that she will not go to christmas dinner, which is to be held at my sisters home this year.
I think I have probably mentioned this before, maybe not, but my mom is a very unhappy person.  She is always talking very negatively about my father when we get together. There is always fighting when I am at her home, and I rarely take the girls over there anymore as my younger daughter has asked me not to take her there. 
My mom is bitter and ugly in her conversation about him.  She has - for years- put me in the place of a professional therapist to vent her issues and offer her advice on how to fix them....I do not like talking badly about my dad to my mom, and he never talks badly about her to any of us kids. It makes me very nervous to be alone with her as the conversations turns to my dad as soon as the car door shuts. I feel so trapped in the car when this happens. It has been going on for so long, and the venting is so harsh and so negative, that last night I finally told her to just stop. I blurted out "I am not your therapist, I don't feel comfortable listening to you talk badly about my father".  I proceded to tell her that I felt she and my dad BOTH have issues and BOTH instigate the hateful fights that happen at home. Her response? "Well, all you kids do is take up for your father anyway...I have no one"...then suggested that perhaps we should "just go home" instead of going christmas shopping as we had planned. I kept calm. I told her that I just felt like I wanted to spend time with her talking about happy things, and not get so stressed everytime we go out together.  this is the very first time I have ever asked her to stop talking to me about my father. I am so glad I did.  I know I am the only child she does this to, because I have been the only one who would take the time to let her vent.
But the venting is detrimental to my health and well being. I am proud that I was able to confront her, and do so in a manner that did not wreck our relationship. I do not know how long this will last, but I hope I don't have to go through this conversation again.
So, today the topic was my younger sister whom my mom -for some reason- can't stand...sigh, it's always someone.  My mom is so unhappy and miserable with herself that she just loves to try and spread it. I told her that the kids and I would be attending christmas dinner at my sisters even if she doesnt come. She seemed to take that ok.  I think I had a fairly productive weekend getting some of these issues out of the way. I am pretty proud of myself too.  :-)
Laura R
0 # Leaving earlyLaura R 2012-12-09 11:50
I went to a holiday party last night --a multi family gathering (including my family) that is an annual thing. It turned out to be a stressful event. In the days before it  my siblings did the "are you going? if your not going, I'm not going" thing. Then the organizer who is like a second mother to me called a bunch of times to make sure I was coming. I ate a couple of hours before hand to make sure I was well fueled but when we got there all the food smells made me really hungry. Unfortunately nearly every thing was full of stuff that I'm allergic to. It was loud and crowded and I struggled with being elbow to elbow with all the talk and food. After a couple of hours I felt really distressed so my hubby and I decided to bail. Some of the folks there made a big deal about it but we just smiled and headed for the door. It was such a relief to walk out the door. We saved the night by watching a funny movie.
0 # Leaving earlypinkjoanna 2012-12-09 12:09
Dear Laura,

You took care of yourself.  Hooray!  You also shared your presence with your famiy on an occasion that was important to them. 

You met the continuing challenge with grace, Laura.  If you want to honor an occasion but know it places you in a vulnerable position, then how do you take care of yourself?

If you can't take care of yourself, you don't go.  But if you can take care of yourself you do go.
You prepared in advance by not arriving in a hungry state.  You went with a supportive companion.  You stayed to your limit of tolerance and not beyond.  You had options and gave yourself a pleasant follow up to the occasion by watching the film with your husband.

You surrounded the stressful event with support. 

There's a highly negative review on Amazon for my book.  It just came up in the past few days.
It's based on the belief that I tell people to avoid their families. Sigh. Familiy situations can be triggering and people need to learn how to care for themselves so they can tolerate such stress.

You cared for yourself in ways that were essential for you.  That's the bottom line of recovery.

I love that you smiled and were gracious as you left. :-)
Laura R
0 # I forgot the catLaura R 2012-12-09 18:23
Thanks Joanna! I was thinking that I'd "gotten by" but you've helped me see that I actually did a good job. One thing I forgot to add was that the couple of times when I got overwhelmed I went into the bedroom where this lovely 14 year old cat was and gave her a little massage and that helped calm me down :-)

Re the highly negative review -- it's hard for me to imagine how someone got that out of your book. I love the way you address boundaries as part of good self care. I guess everyone sees/reads through their own filters. I went and looked on Amazon and aside from that one negative review, I was delighted to see that there were 32 five star reviews! WOW - How cool is that.
0 # I forgot the catpinkjoanna 2012-12-09 20:06
Dear Laura,

Great to hear about the cat.  They know about caring. And you are learning about self care.   :-)

Follow this url to see how caring and attuned they can be.  


Thank you for your perspective on the negative Amazon review. I appreciate your support.

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