Shock and awe. That describes it. How is it even possible that Thanksgiving has arrived when I do not have any pumpkin spice hand soap in the house? My September was crazy, and so I did not do my annual early fall pilgrimage to the mall to go to the-store-that-shall-not-be-named to purchase my pumpkin spice smelly products. It feels like that part in the Grinch cartoon, after all his efforts to take away the material things in the hopes of preventing Christmas, the Grinch realizes at the end, “it came without ribbons, it came without tags, it came without packages, boxes or bags.” Well, Thanksgiving came without pumpkin, it came without spice; it came without products that make things smell nice. Maybe Thanksgiving, it seems, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Thanksgiving, perhaps, means a little bit more …
I had a moment of panic while driving home one afternoon this week. I hadn’t had even one pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks. How could I possibly be happy, grateful, and filled with the warmth of the season without my smelly hand sanitizer and my seasonal Starbucks? Does this mean that I have abandoned the joys of autumn, and missed an opportunity to display my appreciation for the spicy warmth and connectedness that only pumpkin spice can bring? And worse, what if I don’t need pumpkin spice any more, and I am just let loose in the world to experience joy at any given moment? You can understand the panic that caused me to pull over at the first Starbucks to order my Grande pumpkin spice latte, and say yes to the whipped cream.
To be fair, pumpkin spice products are not the enemy here. I really do like that smell and flavour. But I realized this week that I have been putting a lot of pressure and responsibility on pumpkin spice products to serve a purpose and play a role in my life because I didn’t feel safe enough to experience life without them. No matter what the day threw at me, I could always count on the creamy, rich flavor of the pumpkin spice latte; it was predictable and comforting. No matter how yucky and dirty the world felt, the pumpkin spice hand sanitizer could cleanse it all away. Safety, overwhelm, fear of scarcity and control are all ‘hot spots’ in my life that I have dragged into my relationship with pumpkin spice.
And so we tapped and had a conversation, the pumpkin spice and me. And now, I release the pumpkin spice to be what it is. I am taking even more responsibility for my happiness, stress management and joy. Maybe I will enter in to a new and more authentic relationship with pumpkin spice now? Maybe I won’t like it at all? Maybe I will enjoy and appreciate it more fully?
As the next holiday approaches, I really hope I haven’t dumped my ‘hot spot’ issues on to gingerbread too … I really like gingerbread!