What’s a heart made of?

Holidays are for hearts. Whatever we celebrate this time of year, images of families and loved ones and friends and memories surround us. The season lifts us up, makes us homesick, sometimes brings unwanted sadness. Our hearts are in play. Done deal. We’re feeling something more, something deeper, something real.

I often wonder why–you know, besides the obvious manipulation by the media and advertisers, wanting us to spend, Spend, SPEND so we can feel even better (or worse) as we long for more of whatever we want (or have lost) most. What’s behind those heart strings tugging at our thoughts and memories and imaginations?

heart strings music

We’re more open around the holidays, even the jaded among us. We engage with the world and people around us, because it’s all closer, it’s all bigger. How can we not be affected?

Our minds are on the every day of work and kids and obligations and worries. We plod onward with all we think we are. But we’re also conditioned to feel certain ways in November and December and early January. Whether we want to or not, we’re trained from infancy to fit into the holiday mold our families before us have spent generations crafting. But what do we truly want our hearts to feel and believe and desire this time of year?

In matters of the heart, what’s habit and what’s intention? What makes us happy, and what are we doing because we’re told it should make us happy? If only we could tune in and find the magic of our own individual experience (as the world and the holidays experience and evolve and march onward around us), the hustle and bustle that distracts from more than this season would fade a bit…and we’d discover the holiday of oyr dreams.

heart happy shadow

That’s my plan this year, anyway. To be, in this moment, what my heart’s always wanted this time of year to be. To understand my hearts desire and see it come to life around me. To inspire, through my stories and my blogs and the other fun things coming soon that my publicist would smack me for talking about before its time (waving at Nancy Berland and her fabulous team while keeping mum’s the word for just a little longer), everyone I reach to long for the same.

Let’s say them out loud…those inspirations and wants and needs and hurts and desires. Let’s look around at others who need and hope for just as much or more. Let’s be, this holiday season, instead of just responding to what the rest of the world wants us to be. Let’s find our authentic hearts and understand what they’re made of, and let’s find a way to bring them to life, put them to work and in action, around us. That’s the way to thrive through the holidays, I’m sure of it. I dream about it, I write about it, I seem to talk about it to everyone I talk to these days.

Join me, won’t you? Let’s make the “happy” in our holiday intentional this year.

heats on a string

I’ll start!

What’s in my heart, my true heart, this season?

Here’s my list, in no particular order of importance. Share your list in the comments, then come back tomorrow and let’s take the next step together, bringing all of this to life!

  • I love family.
  • I love large, happy family get togethers, whether I’ve had a lot of them in my life.
  • I love writing about them, discovering them, creating them for myself and readers. When I do that, my heart is happy.
  • I love emotional journeys, good and bad.
  • I love the bad, when it becomes good.
  • I don’t trust the good, really, unless the truth of what lies beneath is revealed and dealt with and resolved so the good can feel real. When I do that, in my life and in the lives of my family and characters, my heart is happy.
  • I love finding family in my “other” life beyond the ones who raised me.
  • I love my husband and son as if my world wouldn’t exist without them, because it wouldn’t.
  • I love my close friends.
  • I love people I’ve just met. I love seeing and understanding and joining in and helping. Sometimes, it’s easier to love, when it’s outside of my world. It’s hope and a new beginning and a chance to make a difference. When I can make that difference in a friend’s, another writer’s, or a stranger’s life, my heart is happy.
  • I love creating new characters the feel like family, or like friends I’m just met but would love to get to know and help and be helped by.
  • I love creating new journeys and watching people grow and change and struggle and over come and blossom into a real happily ever after place I’d want for anyone I know. Crafting a change like that, or being a part of seeing it come to life in the real word, makes my heart happy.
  • I don’t particularly love the holidays each year. It’s hard for me at first, since my dad died just before Thanksgiving when I was much younger.
  • I don’t like feeling sad when everyone is gearing up for festivities. I don’t like wanting to be alone, wanting to protect myself, wanting silence instead of parties.
  • I don’t know sometimes how to want what others do, much like many of the characters I write, BTW. But I refuse to let that stop me.
  • And this year, I don’t want to worry about doing things right. I just want to to do and be proud of what happens next. That would make my heart happiest of all.

So, as I look over this list, what would make my heart happy this holiday?

  • Writing about, discovering and creating what makes family feel real to me.
  • Digging deeper beneath the cheer, revealing what gets in the way, dealing with it and making the good stuff ring more true for myself and others.
  • Reaching out to others in my life, my community, that I might not know yet but can help or encourage or inspire, making a difference simply by reaching out through story and more.
  • Seeing change come about and the holiday come to life and difficult memories recede for others, too, and silence dissipate while I share what I have and others do to and we all focus on hour lucky and blessed we are and how much we have to give, rather than all that we still need but haven’t yet found.
  • How could I worry with a holiday experience like that to look forward to?

So, those are my “real heart” lists this year?

What are yours?

And what do you think you can do to make some of your “heart happy” moments come true this season?

More tomorrow!

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2 Responses to “What’s a heart made of?”

  1. Emma Burcart says:

    For the holidays, I only need one thing on my list: my family. Christmas is all about family and it is my family’s favorite time of year. I can’t wait to go home and just hang out. We also have a new member of the family this year, a foster sister who has never had a real family holiday, so I am excited to help her experience what it should really be. Great post!

  2. librarypat says:

    Participate in community programs such as the angel tree at our church (we sponsored 2 children again this year), we work with the Red Cross and a couple of other organizations to serve holiday meals to veterans and the Boys And Girls Club.

    Best of all we will be spending time with our children and their families.

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