Ever since I decided to spend Christmas this year by myself, I've noticed that the reaction of most people has been tinged partly with concern and partly with pity. Mostly unspoken but clearly present. Imagine the horrors of being alone, and therefore lonely, at Christmas! Of course, it crossed my mind too, I had no idea how I'd feel once the day came. The cultural stereotype is that deeply rooted. (I had a whole selection of inspirational words ready to get my shit together in case it was needed!)
I am well aware that Christmas alone might be a really dark and lonesome experience for somebody who doesn't have another choice. I did. Spending Christmas by myself was a conscious decision. I felt like I needed the headspace. I could have gone and been with my family in Prague. A few dear friends invited me to spend Christmas with their families (so grateful to you, beautiful souls!). Instead I took me, myself and I to Marrakech, a place not exactly known for its peacefulness: it's dirty, the nights are cold and all day every day I am hassled by men to buy stuff, eat food and explain where my boyfriend is. Only, it doesn't actually hassle me (99% of the time). Because the whole thing is not at all about me! And that feels like a damn good place to be.
Instead of the usual Christmas setup (too much stress, too much food, too much wine), my days here have been slow and nourishing: Go to bed early-ish and wake up when I wake up. Do my asana practice, meditate, have breakfast. Go out and do something cultural, see sights, wonder around. Have lunch and spend the entire afternoon reading in the sun. Watch the sun set, eat dinner and wrap the day with a good scrub in a hammam. Maybe a glass of wine with the housemates. Repeat.
I can happily report that spending Christmas by myself has been the best decision I made in a while. Yes, it does help to be in a city where Christmas means nothing and I am so far removed from any reminders. Still, being here alone (apart from the housemates who are lovely but generally way too stoned!) means that I have no one here to share my thoughts with the traditional verbal way, and so instead I am sending them out to the black hole of the interwebs not knowing for sure if anyone will hear. And that's fine. Because this experience made me finally truly realise that I alone am enough, that universe has my back and that I will always be ok. Because by taking the time to retreat, face my fears, hear the silence, ground and reconnect, I made space for a whole new experience of aliveness. It's empowering beyond what I could have imagined. And there's more.
By an incredible turn of pure serendipity (and synchronicity), I am being joined here in Morocco by @rowleygc tomorrow and together we will attempt to reach the summit of Jebel Toubkal, the snow covered highest peak of Northern Africa. Yep, I had to completely repack and change flights last minute and am now freaking out just a little -- I've never climb a mountain before! -- but I am also super excited about this great adventure ahead of me and can't wait to stand on top of that mountain.
I am grateful for every single person and every single twist and turn of my life that has made it possible for me to be here and now. I am counting my blessings and thinking of everyone less fortunate than me. I will probably go out now and buy some stuff that I don't need in order to keep the circulation going. Wherever you may be, with all my heart, I wish you a truly wonderful and peaceful Christmas! xxx
PS Some of you (you know who you are) might read these words and think that I've lost the plot -- I assure you that I have not! Just lost the editor :)