Sean and I ran six miles through Palo Alto this morning and didn’t see one car (moving) on the road. Not one. On any other day, this may have felt eerie or unsettling, but on this Christmas morning, it felt comforting and special and peaceful.
For those who celebrate Christmas and those who don’t, the national holiday gives us all a beautiful excuse to slow down…to eat a steaming breakfast with our families…to make a call to a loved one far away…to show gratitude for all that we have…to find a way to help someone who doesn’t have as much…and to find peace in ourselves so we can spread peace in this world. All of this is so amazing and so simple and for many of us, far too rare. Read more
My mom lights candles at dinner almost every night. Even if “dinner” means cheese, crackers, and a glass of wine in the kitchen, she finds a simple tea light or two to adorn the counter. She dims the overhead lights and lets the candles flicker until the dinner ends…and sometimes even a bit beyond. I never thought much about this as a kid; in fact, I don’t think I even noticed it. But now, as an adult, I find myself lighting candles most nights. This little ritual makes me feel like I’m at home…”home” in a deep sense that connects my childhood dinner table with the one around which my own children now gather. The sparkling light calms me (and makes my husband look extra handsome). And the simple act of lighting candles makes dinner feel unique and precious, even if it’s scrambled eggs and toast. Read more
I’m not a formally religious person. Rather, through years of living in New York and now the Bay Area, I’ve evolved into a token 21st-century “spiritual, but not religious” person, looking to things like yoga, nature, books, and other people for some sort of understanding of why we’re all here on this earth (more to come on that some other time). And while this view is liberating and open and inclusive, it also brings with it some challenges. Questions like how to incorporate the childhood religious traditions/rituals (i.e., singing Silent Night by candlelight on Christmas Eve, volunteering in the church food pantry, family Easter scavenger hunts) are ambiguous and difficult to resolve. Read more