The holidays, especially this year, are full-time bliss, aren’t they? Everyone everywhere is on best behaviour.

Oh yes.

Christmas clerks are happy (nope).
Winter drivers are not insane (nope).
Out-of-town guests are welcome (they’re not – they’re forbidden!).

The holidays are just such a PERFECT time to love the unlovable, forgive the unforgiveable and let bygones be bygones.

Here’s a fun tip. At the top of your lungs scream, “I forgive you 2020! It’s all good!”

Now start pointing at mystery misery forces that kicked your butt this year.

Scream and point like you’re at a wrestling match or you’re Oprah giving out cars: “And I forgive YOU and YOU and YOU, and especially YOU over there, mother-in-law and layoff notice! I forgive it all!”

No? Not going to happen?

If you’d rather choke on a candy cane, spurt eggnog through your nose or throw up (nice… super classy!), all is well.

I forgive you.

Do you really need another reminder about how much this year has sucked?

I suppose we should have guessed something was up when the 2020 menu kicked off with wildfire roasted koala bears!?!

So how can we avoid dragging our black bags of fear, disappointment and resentment into our 2021 creativity and Joy?
Start small.

No one is asking you to give up your craziest thoughts and beliefs about people you don’t like and have never met (e.g., politicians, super spreaders, neighbours).

In the real-world – you know, where we all live – the secret to connecting with (masked, unsmiling) people is showing them how much you like them.

(Stay with me. Don’t black out. Wait! Where are you going? You can’t GO anywhere, dahling!)

Yes, I hear what you are snarling, Elf Queen or King. What if you don’t like the people you’re seeing and greeting?

What if you don’t like these people at all?

Then you have what Santa calls a “growth opportunity.” When you connect rather than confront, you’ve gifted yourself the chance to live, and eventually tell, a bigger story.

(Yes, you’ll be way better than the other person too. Totally.)

When your [DEL: nemesis :DEL] “growth opportunity” walks into the (Zoom) room, pretend you’re meeting an old friend, flame or crush. After all these years, “WOW! There’s my old friend! My oh my! She looks GOOD with that extra Covid 15!”

(No, do not do that.)

An authentic attempt to remain open and warm, or least neutral and non-adversarial, triggers goodness and good looks in your body without your brain peeping a word or swear.

Whenever we’re sitting across from people who challenge us or sitting down in front of Work that scares the flab off of us (I wish), an authentic desire for peace naturally inspires calm and creativity.

Our eyebrows soften, our eyes widen. Our palms turn up. Even our piggy toes start pointing toward our “old friend” formerly known as Foe and Fear.

A desire for peaceful (even fun!) communication means we’re in command of our moods and we’re masters over our focus.

If you’re speaking, you’re calm. If you’re listening, you’re mindful. If you’re writing, you’re a star.

There are so many excuses and explanations for acting miserable this year.

Yes, other people are always to blame; that story line is as old as the hills. Do you want to tell that story?

Art is about life.

When you speak from your heart, you’re an artist. And you’re brave too. Writing down words that mean something to you is an act of loving defiance against the mundane and murderous.

Our full-time artists are suffering full-time now. What art will come out of 2020? We’ll see. But what’s most important in this moment – this very second – is the art coming out of YOU.

If people were in the woe-and-worry water and drowning, could you help? Are you in your boat and pulling people to safety?

Or are you in the water too?

I love Voltaire because he is a bad*ss: “Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.”

As this…… year – I resisted calling 2020 names! – comes to a close, give yourself and your Work the gift of reflection. Look back, look within, look forward.

Looking out at your friends and foes, remember that we are all under varying states of emergency and distress, trauma and strife.

The world is always in need of leaders who believe in the future. Brave and courageous souls who have hope and faith in themselves and their fellow humans.

Be that person. Not the other dude.

Be the lighthouse not the wind. (Right? I don’t really know what that means either but I’m lovin’ it!)

Merry on, story on and keep your Light shining bright, sweet storyteller.

And remember: stay in your boat.
Or stay on shore and be a lighthouse.
As you wish.
You’re the boss.

♥ Shannon