“Will we ever feel ecstatic again?” A message for Solstice.

I’ve got a feeling, that keeps me on my toes
I’ve got a feeling, I think that everybody knows

Everybody had a hard year
Everybody had a good time
Everybody had a wet dream
Everybody saw the sunshine

Everybody had a good year
Everybody let their hair down
Everybody pulled their socks up
Everybody put their foot down

I’ve got a feeling…I’ve got a feeling…

~John Lennon & Paul McCartney

These lyrics are really resonating with me this holiday season. I definitely have a feeling. I’ve got lots of feelings. I’ll bet you do, too. Here we are, at Solstice and Yule, feeling like we’re pedaling backward into the Covid pandemic.

The other day my beloved asked me, “Will we ever be happy again?” That question stopped me in my tracks. Really, it felt like a dagger through the heart.

Yeah, the two of us have had a hard year—a flood, a move from hell, health issues. But all through it, we’ve been saying, “We are so lucky. Others have had it so much worse.” And it’s true. But what we have been ignoring when we say that, are two years’ worth of micro-losses. Countless lost visits with family and friends, canceled holiday plans, no trips to the theatre, no travel, no in-person professional meetups, no in-person workshops. Not to mention the deaths of several friends and family members who had no funerals. The list of pandemic-related losses goes on and on…

As you know, helping people create ecstatic experiences is the essence of my life’s work. The very nature of ecstasy is the intensity of seemingly opposing emotions occurring simultaneously to produce expansion, transformation and pleasure. But how can we possibly find ecstasy in the midst of endless, grinding micro- (and sometimes macro-) losses and all the accumulated grief they bring?

I decided to try a simple experiment. What if I could focus on micro-joys? A few tiny moments per day when I could create delight for myself? I tried but at first, it didn’t work so well. I realized that I could not find joy unless I could also acknowledge and honor the amount of grief I was feeling. So, me and my grief went out for a walk, looking to see if something joyful would join us.

I started locally and small. Joy was surprisingly easy to find. There was the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony my new neighbors held as they trimmed a tree decorated with kid-made ornaments on the corner. Down the street at a Christmas tree stand, I pass when I walk my dogs, there is a persistent and delicious smell of pine and fir that I love. Just two blocks from our new home is a pub with the most delicious food, the friendliest people, and the most beautiful holiday decorations. With a few conscious breaths, focused attention, and intent, I am able to turn everyday pleasantries like these into micro joys. Just as the micro-losses have led to real grief, I can feel the micro-joys leading me back to real ecstasy.

This holiday season I invite you to grieve your losses—they are real and not to be measured as “less than” by some arbitrary standard—and to find delights in what remains. It’s not hard. The world is still a wondrous place. But it does take intention. Do you have an exercise routine? A meditation practice? Some other regular practice that brings you health and well-being? The micro-joy process is like that. It can bring you peace, joy, and delight in a holiday season that could otherwise be dominated by fear, loss, and bad news.

You can do it. I know you can.

Wishing you delightful moments of micro-ecstasies this holiday season.

Love,
Barbara

P.S. To answer your questions about Urban Tantra Workshops in 2022:

The only in-person workshops I’ve got planned thus far are the two Urban Tantra Professional Training Programs: April in upstate New York, and October in the U.K. We held a super-successful UTPTP this past September. We were able to do the weeklong training safely by making group agreements about health protocols based upon the science available at the time. We will make similar agreements (which always include the possibility of postponement) based upon the conditions at the time of each program. Safety is, as always, our first priority.

I will be holding virtual Urban Tantra workshops which are in the scheduling process now. I’ll keep you posted on dates and times.

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