November 1, 2011

Thought for the day: Friendships are like gardens. Every once in a while, they have to be weeded and pruned. Sometimes, a drastic redesign is necessary. 

This marvelous wisdom was presented during a yoga workshop that I took years ago. At the time, it seemed a little harsh, especially coming from an instructor who seemed so mellow and meditative. Wish I could remember her name and thank her now — because I have followed her advice. Now I understand that weeding helped keep her energy positive.

The garden analogy works very well. As gardeners know, some weeds are pretty and do no harm. Others are invasive and can viciously take over a precious plot. Some flowers grow so madly that they’re as bad as weeds. Then there are the plants that stop blooming…do they need to be ripped out? Or are they still beautiful?

I guess I’m starting to think about all this because we’ve just gone through Halloween. For me, Nov. 1 always signals the beginning of the major holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve. Just typing these words is anxiety-inducing. Of course, they are nothing compared to the dread that comes with Valentine’s Day…

The plastic smiles. The pressure to show off a perfect life. The scramble for gifts that people don’t need or even want. The parties that I will and won’t be invited to. Please feel free to add some of your own pet peeves!

The good news is that I’m gradually becoming less grouchy because I’m creating new comfort levels.

Trying to figure out Thanksgiving as a divorced mom was horrible; where should my daughter and I go?

Now we’ve created our own ritual: Instead of a traditional gathering, we try different things each year (e.g., Nicki Minaj concert, feeding the homeless, visiting various friends).

As for Christmas, at this point, I actually enjoy putting up the tree. While gift-giving can be a cash-sucking chore, most of my near-and-dear have similar emotions about buying presents — especially in this economy. So having a very short list has made December more pleasant too.

Still, I dread the coming onslaught of consumer advertising, holiday music and fake cheer.

There’s gotta be a way to tend a special winter garden. Your thoughts?