Tuesday, November 29, 2011

about intention

As soon as the Christmas Tree lots pop up, this mixture of emotions and anxiety hits me like Santa's sleigh. The Martha in me pans my dark, unfestive living room, photo-shopping in trees, candles, holly, swags. Joy swells for a brief moment, before being immediately knocked down by lists.

So complete is this Pavlovian response to the holidays that often when I'm stressed, I find myself humming Christmas tunes. This phenomenon is true regardless the time of year. Frosty the Snowman has been known to accompany preparations for a July BBQ.

Retail is on steroids for the next six weeks. Catalogs, free-standing newspaper inserts, e-blasts, charity drives, kid demands, eggnog lattes--they all compete in this jangle of frantic energy sending me into daily Grinch mode. What about art? What about writing? Give me more coffee. I need my glass of merlot. Happy hour!

Oddly wrong that the month of excess corresponds to less daylight. Shouldn't we all be sleeping this month? Getting up each morning with our candles, tip-toeing into the kitchen to boil water for herbal tea? Meditating on what is sacred. Kissing our children and lovers. Making soup. Writing (yes, by hand) old fashioned holiday wishes, thoughtfully and particularly rendered to the special people in our lives?

It does start with intention, doesn't it?

Part of my job as a marketing specialist is to create the call-to-action behind the impulse buy. To use the season's effluence to manipulative, cunning advantage. I love my clients, but--I am loath to play that game. Why not give customers poetry instead? Why not evoke real joy? Alas, I am torn.

So, here is my advent compromise. Each day in December, I will set out to post something here that speaks to intention, love, or art. My guidelines are authenticity and inquiry. And I promise not to be drinking whiskey (or coffee) while doing it.

What are your advent traditions?

photo credit: Orin Zebest.

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