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Christmas Spirit vs. the Spirit of Christmas

Is it the Christmas Spirit or the Spirit of Christmas? Good question. The answer lies either between your ears or in your heart.

If it lies between your ears, your mind will say, “There is no difference – it is the same thing.”

Your heart will reply quite the opposite, however.

Christmas Spirit defined can include everything from the “Ho! Ho! Ho!” to Christmas Cards to gift giving to one and all. It can include stress caused by many sources, exhaustion from too much to do and too little time to complete tasks, the lack of money, etc. It can be an  endless array of Christmas parties and too little sleep. It can be Christmas gifts put on display in the stores before Halloween and reminders of how many days until Christmas signs everywhere. It can be holiday music, lights, trees, and tinsel every time you look around. Yes, it can be all those things and more, positive and negative, bright and festive, cheap and elegant side by side.

But when you look at the Spirit of Christmas with your heart, you may find many surprises, one of which is the ability to see Beauty in your surroundings. That is because one is aware of time passing, along with a sense of peacefulness (like when floating on an inner tube on a lazy river).

If you are feeling rushed and filled with angst, slow down and take several deep breaths. Focus on just one thing at a time instead of a litany of tasks. Make a list of the tasks and choose just one, get it done, and then move on. Multi-tasking is a possibility if you still focus on just one object, like a person who is spinning plates on top of wooden dowels – touching one plate at a time to keep it spinning.

The Spirit of Christmas is not limited to a specific time frame on a calendar – it is truly an attitude that you can utilize year-round! In this way, one can see so much more clearly what is important vs. what is not so much. For example, you can give a gift from a thankful heart because of how satisfied you are with how well one is doing in lieu of giving out of duty or expectation. Pay attention to the details, one at a time, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the plethora of it all. You can enjoy one Christmas card, one gift your receive or give, or one bite at a time of a fantastic meal.

Time will, indeed, flow by regardless of how crazy you make yourself. So why not slow down your responses to exterior (and interior) stimuli? Then you can select the way you react to it instead of wearing yourself out from the inside, reacting vs. acting. Life can become so much more simple if you try this method of selecting a response (Acting) vs. gut level Reacting.

The Spirit of Christmas should nourish your Spirit, creating attitudes of thankfulness and joy. Do you remember that last time when you actually felt JOY? If it has been a long time, some introspection is required to find out when it left, how long it has been gone, and decide what you can do to restore it to your life so you can experience it again on a more regular basis. You may ask why that is important: Because JOY and PEACE are twins – they come and go together.

Peace is more than a word you hear and see during the Christmas Season. It is an attitude and a way of living.  It is something you can cultivate in your life which can begin with learning to  breathe deeply. Take a yoga class or T’ai Chi if needed. In our frenetic world, it is vital to your Spirit because it nourishes you from the inside out. It also simplifies complex situations which crop up all too often. When you feel like you are in a box and cannot get out, it is time to take a truly deep breath and seek the CALM (like that at the center of a wheel in lieu of living on the circumference where you feel like you are being run over).

The Spirit of Christmas is a gift you can give yourself every morning, if you so choose, no matter the time of year. Think about it: Are you willing?

God’s blessings upon your journey! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Image result for Bling Christmas

 

 

Looking Forward Instead of Backward

With the 2015 New Year before us in just a short three days, it is a time to begin Looking Forward Instead of Backward.

If one is driving a car, how much time does one spend gazing into the rear view mirror? Now there is an accident waiting to happen!  We all have to be aware of what is going on around us, right here, right now, real time. It is no different with Life, every day, day in, day out. Usually, it is some unfortunate experience that keeps us gazing backward, to no avail. Perhaps it is a word spoken in haste that cannot be retracted. Perhaps it was an unthinking act on someone else’s part that hurts us so very much. Perhaps we have done something we are sorry for but cannot take back. History cannot be changed. It has been said that Unhappiness is a result of someone trying to make something Un-Happen. It is a fact that Time cannot go backward. Yesterday is gone, and Tomorrow is but a figment of our imagination. The only day we have is TODAY.  That is why it is known as the PRESENT. That is why it needs to be cherished, appreciated, and utilized the best we can. Forgive and let go of that which was so that you may move into your PRESENT with more livingness.

Now is a time when some people  begin to make New Year’s Resolutions so that goals may be set and achieved, possibly change some negatives in one’s life to positives,  “Turn over a new leaf!” etc. Some decide to begin a physical fitness program, pay for a fitness center contract, and make aggressive actions for a short time before the energy for change wears out amid the humdrum vicissitudes of daily life. Some decide to lose a lot of weight, set a goal that they remember from long ago and far away,  and then feel like a failure when the required changes in eating habits just do not magically happen. Why is it that so many actually do not see the necessary steps to success actually begin with very small increments?

Do not be disheartened if you desire to actually make a difference to your health and life. Consistency is the key, of course. For instance, one could begin to lose weight by looking at your eating habits and writing down what you actually put in your mouth for a week. There is an eye opener for you! Physical Fitness could begin by setting a goal of walking on a treadmill for a few minutes every day, taking the stairs instead of an elevator, or parking farther out so you have to walk a little more. But first, you have to set a goal that is within your reach. You may not ever run a marathon, but you could see a healthier you in the mirror by beginning to make changes in what you do, how you do it, and the choices of food that you ingest.  Questions to ask yourself: “Do I quickly grab a Starbucks and a donut, or do I actually figure out what is good for me in the long run? No matter how good that sweet Danish tastes, will it nourish my body? Do I skip breakfast altogether (which, by the way, every doctor/nutritionist/health addict knows is the major sin against the body) or do I learn to eat to live vs. live to eat?”

It has been suggested that Food Police is a negative idea in watching carefully what your choices are — treating the idea from a forceful point of view, ensuring failure. Actually, it all comes down to your choices. Is becoming more healthful important enough for you to look at the sweets that surround everyone at this time of year, the alcohol being consumed, the pops that are offered at every party, and enormous quantity of food on every plate?

Every diet in the world begins with measuring the actual intake of what you consume before you open your mouth, choosing the foods that will nourish you, and passing up the rest that is out there. Why is that so difficult?

That answer usually is tied up with our emotions. Are we stressed out? Are we overtired? Is the quality of sleep good, bad, or excellent? It has been proven over time that our hormones respond to all of these, even to the point where we are hunting for chocolate to eat so we can calm down, or some other comfort food which has nothing to do with our long term goal of becoming more healthy.

Attitude matters. It is paramount to make an analysis of what is going on between our ears. There are so many good things that come from exercise for our bodies that will help us along our path towards our goals. The peptides, etc., are released, helping us to feel better.

Some people do not want to take baby steps. They desire gargantuan goals, ensuring the probability that they will become failures more quickly. After all, if one cannot climb a mountain, what is the point in starting?

Confucius said, “Journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

He had it right!

So if you want to begin to write your New Year’s Resolutions, be kind to yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Look at where you are now, and then decide where you want to be  a year from now. Then write a list of achievable steps where you can begin a synergy that will carry you onward.

It has been said that “Rome was not built in a day.” You might remind yourself of that as you go forth on your journey.

The Christmas Season is such a lovely time of year. It always seems to me that people are kinder toward others, more generous, more forgiving. But when that special day is passed, the attitudes in general change back to more “business as usual.” The meanness we all see every day overpowers our senses, and we lose sight of what Life is all about. Is it possible to extend these lovely Christmas moments and attitudes so that they are here every day of the year? It can be if you personally choose that to be your attitude and goal. It is, after all, up to you.

God’s blessings upon your journey! Happy New Year to one and all! May the light from the beautiful fireworks celebrations for the New Year remain in your mind and heart, long after they are gone from the skies. May God bless you with Love, Light, Life, Laughter, Joy, Truth, Beauty, and Peace every day this coming year!

Fireworks

Fireworks

 

 

 

Christmas Is Coming!

Christmas is both a time for giving and receiving. How are you at giving? How about receiving? Most of us are predominantly either one or the other. Rarely are we able to do both.

A child’s rhyme/song runs through my mind during this time of year:

“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat
Please do put a penny in the old man’s hat
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do
If you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you!”

You hear repeatedly that “It’s not the amount you spend on a gift that counts, but the thought you put into it.” Do we really hear that at the heart level?

I truly love this time of year. I love playing Santa to my friends and family. I know others do as well.

The naysayers emphasize the commercialization of the Christmas Holiday, stating that it is just a time for the stores to make money.  Yes, that is true, but it does not take away from the idea that you can give of the love in your heart, no matter the item.

It is a time for expressing that love in whatever way you deem appropriate. What attitude do you have when you are selecting your gifts? Are you stressed out? Do you feel unhappy because you do not have enough money? If this is true for you, you need to take a look at your priorities. If you cannot give even the smallest gift with a happy heart, filled with the peace of the Season, what blessing are you adding to the gift? That is what matters the most, after all is said and done.

What do you feel when you receive your gifts? Are you looking at the amount someone must have spent, or do you think about what a loving thought and blessing is wrapped inside the package? Are you open to receive that thought and blessing?

My first gift to my friend, who later became my husband, was a small Christmas stocking from a mall kiosk, with his name in glitter and some candy inside. He went into shock when I gave it to him because it was so unusual for him to receive a gift. He still has that little stocking in his desk drawer all these years later. So you never know what a small kindness can do.

In the flurry of the season, take a few moments to stop and appreciate the beauty that surrounds you. The Christmas decorations, the music, and the Holiday Spirit (which does not come in a bottle, unfortunately) are all a part of it. I love to exchange Christmas cards because it is a time to touch base with friends and family to see how they all are, for they are now spread far and wide across the globe. What a special time of year!

The center of this Holiday is, of course, the Christ in Christmas. It is a time for celebrating his birth. Is He in your heart, mind, and spirit as you go about your activities? His Gentleness, His Love for all mankind, and His Caring Nature are all expressed through you on a personal level to every single person you contact. Be mindful of that as you go through your days. Do not be so busy with anything that you forget that.

Just know that you choose whether to be that blessing or not as you give your gifts. Put a little of your thoughts inside each one, K? Be a Blessing, K? Be aware of your attitudes when you open your own gifts — look for the thoughtfulness and be open to the gratitude for the expression of love that is inside each one, K?

God’s blessings upon your journey. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

 

Hibiscus & Christmas

Hibiscus & Christmas

Christmas Poinsetta

Christmas Poinsettia

 

 

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