Making Space for Dark and Light
The Holiday season is upon us. The last few weeks before the winter solstice, which means the days will get progressively shorter and darker until they suddenly reverse. Of course, this means Advent, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, new year, and the whole slew of festivities have landed and will be crushed into a month of craziness, consumerism and Distraction.
The Trees in Rockefeller Center, Lincoln Center, Hamilton, and St. George’s will all light up as crowds rush and crush in. Or at least, they might, if Covid’s new Omicon variant doesn’t shut everything down as quickly as we’re trying to step outside, for the festivities we couldn’t enjoy last year.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about this time of year. The holiday movies all promise Happy Endings, True Love Found, Family Reconciliation, Debts Paid, Forgiveness Given, and Problems Solved. But, as captivating as those promises and stories (just like Social Media) are, all they really do is make us feel worse about our state in life if we don’t have those things.
Which is why, in many ways, I’ve welcomed Covid in my life, especially at the holidays.
At this time 2 years ago, I was still wrapped up in the same crush of distraction. I bought my trees and gifts, hired the caterers, invited all my friends and more, did the cocktail circuit, and ran around like a mad woman to ensure I was doing everything the season expected of me.
And when I had those quiet moments to look at my tree, light the Menorah I’d bought for my coop, and just contemplate the season, and it’s deeper meaning, I felt like somehow, I was missing out on something. I had FOMO that other people were having more fun, falling in love, and having more fulfilling lives.
So, I couldn’t be more grateful to have been in a quieter place for the last year. One where I don’t feel pressured to show up and perform at happiness and joy that I don’t feel.
Because Covid, for me at least, has brought home what this season actually is about. Welcoming the progressive darkness as a reminder that now is Not a time to be distracted. It’s a time to be quiet. To think. To remember. And to prepare for whatever is to come. If Covid has taught us anything, it’s that we need to be paying closer attention, to not be crowding each other, to leave space, to take time, to appreciate what we have, and to do everything in our power to ensure that the promise of tomorrow is better, and brighter, not worse and darker than we’ve been living.
That doesn’t mean I don’t miss my party. And my trees. I do. I miss welcoming the people who filled the room with physical warmth and love on that one night of the year. But now, as I stay in touch with friends and family via zoom and FaceTime, in many ways it feels truer to the season of making time and space for appreciating the special connections and the brighter light of their individual faces.
So, as you begin your holiday season, I hope you can make the space and take the time to prepare for and appreciate the little lights in the darkness of the days and nights, as we move towards a new year.
Holly Lynch is a 20+ year communications veteran, board member, and life-long ESG advocate, strategist and investor who has helped individuals and companies tackle the toughest challenges, transitions and transformations in their worlds. Having survived countless life setbacks and two rounds with terminal cancer, while seeing the country-wide collapse of the systems and safety nets for the most vulnerable in and outside our communities, she is now shifting her life and career trajectories to focus on coaching and consulting with those facing down fundamental shifts and transitions as they try to adapt to change while rebuilding their lives and businesses during these unprecedented times.