(c) 2009 Joan M. Newcomb
Last Monday was our island's annual Christmas sing-a-long at our local movie theatre. It's very hokey- a small town affair. Having lived here nearly 25 years, I have lots of lovely (& uncomfortable) memories of these sing-a-longs.
My earliest is my son Graham at 4 or 5, wearing his cowboy boots (which he lived in during those years) and Santa hat (which remained glued to his head from Thanksgiving through New Years) and running/dancing up and down the theatre aisles while everyone sang. He's now a 6'4" freshman at Vassar!
My most recent is last year, sitting by myself in a nearly empty theatre, my heart full of loneliness and pain. A blizzard had snowed us all in, my husband was stranded at his mother's in Bellevue and my kids at their dad's miles away, and I was alone the full seven days up to Christmas morning. I'd hiked 2 miles into town to participate in the caroling.
This year was totally different, the place was packed and my husband was by my side. That in itself was a Christmas miracle; he's a devout Buddhist and doesn't like to sing!
While we were singing, I had a revelation which I'd like to share with you - something that may make it easier to get through the rest of the holidays (and life)!
I like to sing alto. When I was 6 or 7 I joined our school choir and learned the harmonies to all the Christmas songs. What I felt was, that it was okay to be different. I was the only American in class (we moved to England when I was 5). I'm the only girl in my family (3 brothers). Learning to harmonize, you learn to sing a different tune than others are singing. You keep your musical line while others are singing the melody. Energetically what this means is you hold your own vibration at a different level than others.
In a group, however, you're matching the music of others in your section, so you do have the strength/power of all the other altos (basses, tenors, sopranos, etc.) to match. Alone, you learn to hold your own when others are singing the prevalent tune.
By the time I left high school, I'd sung in school choirs in four countries. I learned to adapt to different cultures, make friends quickly, yet be ready to let go when my dad was stationed somewhere else.
What does this have to do with Harmonizing for Holiday Harmony? Well, I've been writing about how to stay sane when visiting your (dysfunctional) family members. Someone recently asked me how to stay serene around friends who are frenzied about Christmas. And the answer is the same -
Set the vibration you want to be at, whether it's serenity or joy or peace. Hold your own vibration where ever you are. It's okay for you to be in a different space while others are going wiggy.
How do you do this? I've several suggestions. Imagine yourself in a bubble of gold - your own private Christmas ball. Or pink. Or blue. Whatever symbolizes to you the vibration of what you want to experience. Have an emotional touchstone. Does a particular Christmas tune or sound set it for you? Does humming jingle bells awaken your inner child who still believes in Santa? Does the image of Mary invoke her serene demeanor within you?
Before getting together with others, take a moment to use one of the above techniques (or one you've made up) to 'set your own tone'. And let yourself hold it while you're with them. It's okay for them to be emanating strident Yoko Ono sounds while you're humming the Little Drummer boy. It's okay for them to be playing Flight of the Bumble Bee while you're ohming your way to serenity. It's okay for their auras to be flaming red while you are fir tree green.
It's okay for you to have sanity in your head regardless of others' experience. It's okay for you to be happy while they're sad. Actually, it's okay for you to be sad while they're manically happy. You can breathe and be real and you don't have to match anyone else.
Try this for the next week and see what happens! And let me know! Joan@JoanNewcomb.com