Happy holidays, everyone! As we get closer to December 25, I wanted to share a shot of our Christmas Tree for this year:


It looks great, right? It’s the biggest tree we’ve ever had, and it’s been lovingly decorated with ornaments that our family has collected over years, from our various adventures, near and far.

Now, here’s the same tree, but from a wider angle:


Take a closer look. That’s not a hardwood floor, that’s a subfloor, with spilled paint, nails, staples and inexplicable holes cut out. Our ceiling is not actually a ceiling – that’s been ripped out along with the floors, two bathrooms and several walls. We had some water damage before Thanksgiving, and have been living in various states of disarray ever since. But, depending on how your crop the photo, you might not ever know.

Sometimes we see pictures and we think they are telling the whole story. A whole perfect story. But as we all know, real life is rarely perfect, even during the holidays. Maybe especially during the holidays. Those smiling faces we see still belong to real people, but many of them may be standing on their own flimsy sub floor, with their own ceiling literally falling down around them.

As the holiday season continues, it’s important to remember that the pictures we see only tell part of the story. We need to remember that even in this joyous time, there are some close to us who are struggling with great sorrow. Compassion and patience are the greatest gifts we can give at any time, but they are especially important now.

A yoga practice can help. It’s the best way I know to steady my mind, even in altogether unsteady times. It’s a way to find the internal peace we all need to have when we are confronted with wholly unpeaceful acts and events. Then, take that steadiness and peace you’ve found on your mat and share it with others. It’s a ripple effect that really does change the world for the better, one slightly more gracious interaction at a time. Like the old song says, “Let there be peace on Earth, but let it begin with me.” I’m not sure, but I would imagine a yogi wrote that line.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and that 2014 brings health and happiness for you and your loved ones. And no matter what is happening around you, take some time for yourself. Maybe, at least for a brief period of time, you can find a truly blissful holiday moment. And it doesn’t have to be something grand. It can be 5 minutes in child’s pose, an extra hour of sleep on a Saturday morning, or a prolonged snuggle with a kid who doesn’t have to be rushed off to school. But take those moments wherever you can get them. The peace they give you is truly the gift that keeps on giving.



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