I can’t wait for the holidays to be over. It’s all just too much. Too much eating, drinking, shopping, running around, gift-wrapping, doing.

Yes, there is genuinely a lot to do. And, like so many of you reading this, I take on more than my share of things to do. So, I stopped this week to think about exactly what that over-extending myself was about. And what I found ain’t so pretty.

I realize that this level of busy-ness keeps me one step ahead of thinking, of feeling. It creates traffic jams in my heart so that I really can’t feel the pain.

The grief of not having my dad here to celebrate with us, or many other shining faces who’ve gone too soon. I don’t have to face the truth that my children are growing so fast that some days its an absolute blur how they got to be so big. I can’t feel the pain of my own difficult history or past traumas. I move so fast that I don’t even notice the few grays that popped up on my husband’s head (well, actually– I did notice that :).

On the surface all the running around looks pretty good, important. But underneath, there is an honest pain. And one thing that I’ve been taught by life again and again is that avoiding the truth doesn’t make the truth any less. It just makes the truth go to bottom of the crock pot and infuse the whole batch of chili with its flavor.

So, for one minute each day, I will invite in these pains, these past ghosts. You could call it a one-minute mediation, or prayer, or connection to the lost parts. Not to wallow in it, but to acknowledge the tender spots. Yes, I see you sadness, yes, I know you grieving heart, yes, I hold your tears. And yes, its all okay.

Rather than one step ahead of thinking and feeling, perhaps this one-minute of touching the tender parts will lay the planks for a more contended, relaxed, and candid attitude. Whether first thing in the morning, or while waiting for the kids at pick up, or when making dinner, giving ourselves a moment to just acknowledge. By integrating the shadow and the light, perhaps it’ll be easier to embrace, rather than wish away this special time of year. Maybe it’ll help us slow down just a little. And notice that this life, with its messy, colorful, brilliant, vulnerable, joyful and sad parts is a gift of richness -not in spite of the uneven edges, but perhaps–because of them.