a countdown to 2016. part one.


We left the house in a hurry on Christmas Eve.

We were running late and had just finished machine sewing the last of the gifts in the nick of time.  The house was covered in scraps of wrapping paper and fabric.  We finally returned home late last night after a full 24 hours of Christmas festivities.  It was dark and we all stumbled upstairs to bed, exhausted after a string of late nights.

This morning I came down and was reminded of the disaster which covered our main floor.

I was exhausted just looking at the mounds of stuff that needed to be discarded, sorted, or put away.  I wanted to relax today but it looked as though I would spend the day tidying up.

You see, this was the fate of past post-Christmas for me.  We would come home with generous gifts from family, piled high in our living room with nowhere to put them.  I would have every intention to purge existing things to make room the new.  But immediate needs would have to be taken care of and the house would remain a mess well after we rang in the new year.

But today was different.

Although everyone was tired and sluggish, I had a plan.  We would have family movie time and watch a couple of episodes from a favourite TV show all day long.  But there was a catch.  The catch was that every hour or so, we would take a break and tidy.

Our first break was tidying all the sewing stuff we left in the dining room and on the dining table.  The second break was for everyone to bring what belonged to them up to their room to put away. EVERYTHING – new gifts, clothes, books, etc.  This took care of the main floor in a couple of hours.  The third break had everyone go to their room and put away their stuff.  If they couldn’t find a home, then decisions had to made about what still sparks joy.

The plan worked.  Although we have some bags of giveaways piled up in a corner at the top of the stairs, the main floor and most bedrooms are pretty tidy.  As I sat in our living room, listening to calming music, enjoying our Christmas tree and its last days in our house, I looked at my family again.  They are grown.  Tidying doesn’t take as long as it did.  I keep forgetting that.

Oliver Sacks wrote:

“I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts.”

For the first time, I have a tidy main floor the day after Christmas.  Days like today remind me of the past.  It reminds me of how things once were and how I catch myself still expecting them to be that way.  The past is reflected back to me as I navigate the daily and ordinary moments of my life.  They often make me step back to see the big picture of where I have been, where my family once was.  The past deepens my connection to the present in the most unexpected ways.

If you are following my little self-reflection challenge for the next week, here is your first prompt, the first step in choosing a one word intention/theme for next year:

Can you find an ordinary moment right now that helps deepen your connection to the past year’s events?  If you step back and see the landscape of the past year, what/who do you see?  If you could choose one word that describes 2015 for you, what would it be? 







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