By Kristine Moore, Resident Artist
By Kristine Moore, Resident Artist
Could you tolerate a bit more joy?
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Merry Christmas everyone! The holiday season feels a bit different this year with social distancing and families not being able to gather as one unit to celebrate, but thankfully there are still some comforting traditions in the midst of so much change. I love riding down the roads to see homes that are still glistening from head to toe with lights and I can’t resist stopping by Krispy Kreme when red light is on, but my favorite Christmas tradition is snuggling up with my mom to watching holiday movies, more specifically, my top five Christmas films. These films have held so much nostalgia and brought me so much cheer through the years that I truly hope they bring the same to you and yours this holiday season. Without further ado, buckle up ladies and gentleman, it’s about to get merry!
My Christmas season wouldn’t be complete or officially begin, in my opinion, without this Rankin Bass classic. In this film, Santa is in desperate need of a break because he has a cold, but as we all know, Christmas must go on! So Mrs. Claus and Santa’s elves make a plan to save Christmas without him. This plan, however, doesn’t go over so smoothly and they soon need rescuing from the bed-ridden Santa when they find themselves caught in a world of trouble between the Snow Miser and Heat Miser. Will Santa get the day off he deserves? and Will he get the elves out of their mess? You’ve got to watch it to find out. From the whimsical stop motion characters to the campy musical numbers, this movie is fun for the entire family and a sure fire to win you over if it hasn’t already.
This film is easily one of my favorite Christmas movies. The moment I saw it in theaters, 17 years ago, it immediately captured my heart. The soundtrack, the characters, and story had me before Bob Newhart said, “Hello”. This is the tale of Buddy the elf, who was an orphan adopted my Santa Claus. After discovering that his father is on the naughty list, he decides to go on a trip to New York City to find him and show him the true meaning of Christmas. With Will Ferrell in this role, you can be sure that comedy is to ensue and it’s worth every minute!
Need I say more? Seriously? Home Alone is a CLASSIC! It screams family comedy with enough snarkiness for the adults to enjoy as much, if not more so than the children. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve laughed at this film even knowing what’s going to happen from scene to scene. It’s just that good! This kid gets his Christmas wish to be alone while fending off home robbers in the most slapstick way possible. It’s like Tom and Jerry meets It is totally my cup of tea and if you watch it, it just might become yours too.
The debate about whether the second film is better than the first will not end here, I just feel I can throw my hat in the ring and say the second one is better. It’s inarguable that it measures up to the first, I just believe that they gave Kevin a bit more depth here and really allowed him to wreak havoc on those crooks in ways he couldn’t in his own house. Does it make me a bad person to enjoy watching the comedy duo of John Pesci and Daniel Stern be, humiliated by a child? I don’t think so, I just think it makes me incredibly human, which is an experience we’re all sharing.
First off, let me say that I can’t believe this film has been out for twenty years! I’m also not sure if I was aware of Jim Carrey’s presence in this world prior to this movie, but it certainly endeared him to me. He IS the Grinch. His essence and charisma are unmatched and in my opinion, there will never be another Grinch, though that didn’t stop them from trying, unfortunately. I could-and I have- watch this film over and over and over regardless of the season. It does, however, hold a special place in my heart during this time of the year. The fact that it’s still available for streaming on Netflix brings joy to the depths of my soul. If you haven’t had the privilege of viewing this cantankerous yet loveable character steal Christmas, I suggest you start a watch party with the Netflix app and enjoy his completely relatable moments with the company of those you love and cherish.
Although today is Christmas, the season of love and nostalgia isn’t over. You can carry the spirit of it everywhere you go all day, every day and to start, perhaps you can have a watch party and watch one of these films with your loved ones in their respective homes. You’ve already seen a portion of my list, but what films are you and your family looking forward to watching this holiday season?
Dig a hole in the hard earth.
Sift through the muck of ages.
Amend with living soil and compost.
Wait for the harvest!
In a year where it feels like the only constant is change, I’ve thought a lot about how to not let the daily discouragements get me down. My family and I have navigated job loss, California wildfires, distance learning and parenting struggles, let go of a long-awaited sabbatical year in Mexico, and finally reached a breaking point that prompted us to leave our home and set out on a Pandemic Odyssey from one coast to another (more about that here).
It’s been a hard year.
And a year of wonder and delight.
Life in 2020 has been like that: beautiful or terrible depending on how the light catches it. Even as we grieve this temporary move from Oakland to Massachusetts, we’re grateful daily to be close to extended family, to see our kids revive under the tutelage of my mother-in-law, to finally have the support that allows us to recreate life—not in the way we’d planned, but in the way that’s available to us.
Perhaps the greatest example of this is Shelter in Place, the podcast that I began on March 17 to mark a moment in history—a project I thought I’d be doing for three weeks—but that quickly grew into something bigger than the pandemic. Writing has always been the way I process life, but never before has it pushed me to go so deep—or given me such delight.
As we approach the holidays, a time that can be delightful or devastating (and sometimes both), I’ve been thinking a lot about all of you. Some of you have been cheering me on for more than a decade. Some of you have become friends because of Shelter in Place. You’ve taken the time to read or listen. You’ve sent me encouraging messages when I needed it most. You’ve reminded me again and again that no matter how divided or discouraged our world may feel, there are still good people who won’t give up. This community of writers and artists at Karma Compass is proof of that, and it’s a privilege to be a part of it.
I have a friend who gives her kids one small gift for each of the 12 days of Christmas to remind them that she delights in them. This holiday season I want to do something similar to thank all of the good people who have given me hope this year. Beginning on December 24, I’ll be sending 12 days of delight to your inboxes. These are gifts you can enjoy in a matter of seconds, gifts of laughter and levity, gifts of delight. The team at Shelter in Place has had a lot of fun creating them, and I’ve seen myself change in that process; I remember that while there are always things to feel grumpy or discouraged about, our world is more hopeful and bright when our vision is trained to delight.
If Shelter in Place has been a home for you in 2020—if these posts or our podcast episodes have made you laugh, encouraged you, or comforted you when you needed it most, we’d love to hear from you! If you’d like to enjoy our 12 Days of Delight, you can sign up here. Our first daily delight is going out tomorrow. We hope you enjoy it—and feel our delight in you!
How do I begin to converse with you?
Does this year make you feel colder?
When will you stop aching?
Why do you hurt so much?
Do you think you’re beautiful enough?
For a life partner? For anyone?
If you lose weight?
When will you know you are enough?
When will you finally break from bending over backwards?
How are you feeling?
How are you moving in this world?
What makes you feel better?
Who loves you?
Who sees you?
What do you need?
What do you need to let go of?
What’s hurting you?
What’s burdening you?
I have so many more questions, are you listening now?
Will you answer?
As I ask my body these questions, I offer the same questions for yours and the option to respond with your answers.
By Kristine Moore, Resident Artist
I learned a few things while walking my dog Sasha the other day: 1. She is incredibly bougie, 2. We’ve gotta get out more, and 3. Despite the inglorious task of picking up her poop, I found the whole ordeal therapeutic. It got me thinking about why such a menial task that often makes me gag was such a source of relief. I thought about the normal course of my day and how it usually follows one of two courses: utter busyness or sheer laziness. This dichotomy in our state of being as humans isn’t easily balanced. It’s usually driven by a strong desire to make money or recuperate from those efforts of making money. It’s a draining cycle of monotony in the busyness and laziness. Although both courses of action lend towards spontaneity, they don’t usually leave room for mindfulness, a practice which I find most useful in the decluttering of my mind. This is where walking Sasha becomes key in aiding my mental health. With constant thoughts of homemaking, work efficiency, and ways to escape boredom, I realized I was either being busy or lazy, but I wasn’t always present. I required balance and I had to create a third space.
In my youth, I believed that if I wasn’t doing anything, I was lazy, but if I was busy, I was productive. In the Black community, we are urged to occupy the first space of busyness with this hustler’s mentality instilled in us from youth. As a child, I watched my divorced mom work harder than anyone I know to provide for my brother and me. I’ve watched my uncle work hard to provide for himself and his daughter. I’ve even observed strangers in public as they hustle and bustle down the sidewalks of Newark, New Jersey to their respective 9-5 jobs in hopes of job security and financial stability. The phrase “Working for the weekend” comes to mind, and it saddens me because people are always in a hurry to do nothing, myself included. We’re constantly working to reward ourselves at the end of the workday or the weekend where we get to do nothing. We make these times of nothingness sacred because we feel we’ve earned it when it should be simply because we deserve it. We, humans, have been trained to work on a reward-based system from childhood; if we work hard in school, we get good grades, which is then rewarded with a range of things from parental praise to a new car depending on your social class. This reward learning is a type of reinforcement learning that strives to improve productivity, but all of this talk of productivity makes no room for rest, the third space.
The third space is a carefully cultivated place where one sets aside the time for mindfulness. In a perfect world, I would have a work-life balanced career that fulfills me and supplies for all my financial needs. At this present time, this is not my reality, so I find myself working for the weekend and getting naps where I can like the rest of the population. I thought this was the only way to trudge through my days while sheltering in place until I came across a Lavendaire podcast the other day. In episode 150, Aileen interviewed Leeor Alexandra, who spoke of her early beginnings with spirituality, breathwork, and meditation. Her words brought me back to my childhood and my early love for God without context. When I say without context, I mean I loved God without goading or mention of His love for me. The love and knowing of The Divine was already there, much like Leeor’s experience. Everyone’s experience with The Divine however is not intuitive like ours and requires some education and practical guidance. Leeor reminded me of this and the need to create space for mindfulness. This mindfulness helps me to connect to God and she also reminded me how to alkaline my body through breathwork, a practice I’d long forgotten. After watching her brief video introduction and reading the benefits, I decided to do these exercises and monitor the results for seven days. I can honestly say the test worked. It has truly been a tremendous help in slowing down my thoughts and keeping me mindful. The deep breath in through the gut is carried up to the chest before exhaling. It’s almost like you’re extending one breath into two. I enjoy the exercise because it’s simple and I can do it anywhere at any time.
Practicing mindfulness doesn’t have to be a drawn out production that occupies your whole afternoon, although that can happen. A lot of guided meditation videos I’ve come across take anywhere from 5 minutes to 35, maybe more. Most days, I don’t have the time, so I practice breathwork while washing dishes or showering. There is something about warm running water that calms me. I also implement it while walking Sasha as walking outside is always therapy for me. Perhaps the next time you are stressed you can try one of these methods. I desire to carry these practical applications of mindfulness through life because it gets stressful. There will be moments where I get lost in my work and familial matters. Others, where I will be likely to forget that I’m not alone in this and help, is all around. It’s the little things however that keep me going, like this furry little face full of love and mischief that makes my heart smile. My openness to love and guidance keep me centered, and an inner knowing serves as a gentle reminder to help me decompress one deep, guided breath at a time. It is this knowledge and love that I pass on to you, praying that you all breathe a bit easier today and every day.
Gitana Martinez is a powerful healer and astrologist.
Join us tonight for a night of intentional and proactive growth.
I’ve teamed up with astrologer-healer Gitana Martinez to move us all closer to realizing our full potential. Join us this evening 6:30-8:30 pm PST.