...or Reframe Your Holiday Stress with Thanks & Giving!
We survived election night!
Despite some heartbreaks -- Gillum & Beto come to mind -- the wave of women, including amazing women of color, heading to congress leaves me hopeful for some much needed change.
Let’s keep up the pressure on our elected officials, so that they work to protect the most vulnerable communities while striving to improve our country for us all.
Ok, now that that's off my chest... anyone else bracing for the upcoming "wave" that is the holidays?
If you're anything like me, you are at once excited and anxious as the holidays approach.
I’m right there with you.
Read on to learn about some ways I use Thanks & Giving to help usher in Las Navidades on the right note.
Se acerca la Navidad / y todos nos va alegrar / el Jibarito cantando aires de felicidad...
For me Las Navidades mean the joys of coquito, pernil, aguinaldos and my husband’s can’t-stop-eating-cause-it’s-so-freaking-delicious apple pie.
But Las Navidades also means being thousands of miles away from my parents, brother, sis-in-law, and nephews; rampant and overwhelming commercialism; and a general feeling of not being able to keep up.
In the face of that ambivalence, I try to harness the power of November and focus on: Thanks 🙏🏽 & Giving 🤲🏽
This practice helps me get in the right frame of mind in order to fully embrace the joys of Las Navidades while making space to hold those things that are more challenging about the holiday season.
What might you do to help tip the scales towards joy this holiday season?
What are you thankful for and how might you pay that sense of gratitude forward?
Thanks & Giving: Reframe Your Holiday Stress
I <3 LBC
Each New York November, the darkness,
like a Long Beach marine layer at dawn,
rolled into my bedroom uninvited.
I’d consider buying lamps. Thanksgivings
came like a curse. Diaspora makes
for unanswerable yearnings.
Psychological or chemical? Who knows?
But I’d flea the darkness with annual flourish.
Rode JetBlue flights south each New Year.
In Long Beach, November comes
like a kiss. Cool and teasing. A glass
of wine at Art Du Vin.
I hold regular office hours: Portfolios.
Hot Java. Viento y Agua. Lola’s. Coffee Cup.
Makai. Tantulum. I write and read and teach
and dissertate my way through a sunny
winter. This year, my mother-in-law
will host Thanksgiving. It will be warm
like that one November on the island
when he proposed. Diaspora makes
for fearless migrations.
On this new coast, the sun and the ocean
welcome their Caribbean cousin.
The salty air insists: drink your coffee.
Sip that wine. Eat those locally grown
organic fruits, picked yesterday. This year,
she whispers, your darkness will not come.
("I <3 LBC" appears in my chapbook Nuyorico, CA)
May your Navidades be filled with Thanks & Giving!
Abrazos Fuertes Always,
Before You Go...
Li Yun Alvarado
Puerto Rican Poet & Scholar:
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Words or Water