First, let me wish you A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR 2023! GOD BLESS YOU WITH YOUR HIGHEST GOOD EVERY DAY!
With the daily stresses and strains of day-to-day living, you may well ask how is it possible to live your life fully every day. We all know the heavy toll that these place on your body, creating illness in our bodies, depression, fear, and anger in our minds, and a state of unfriendliness seen in the whole world in the news. Even if one obtains a modicum of peace, it shatters easily with negative self talk and outside stimuli.
The answer to that question is quite simple but is most difficult to actually practice: Simplify, take one step at a time, watch your self chatter for content, breathe deeply, and smile.
Sounds so easy, doesn’t it? But if you take it seriously as a possible goal, you can watch your life change before your very eyes.
Each day, strive to experience your day, moment by moment. Notice how you are breathing: If it is shallow and upper chest only, your body is telling you that it is stressed. The cure is closing your eyes for a moment, begin to belly breathe, and slowly return to your reality of that moment. In that moment of quiet, examine the cause of the stress. Ask yourself if whatever it is will be worth shortening your life for. If it is not, awareness of a need for change can begin a transition to a calmer you, living longer and happier. Dr. Wayne Dyer stated: “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.”
Our “fight or flight” responses alter our reality every day. Rarely are we chased for our lives by tigers, lions, or bears. But that scheduling conflict, missed taxi, late for a meeting, child is sick and you don’t have a babysitter, or any other stressor in your reality does activate those responses to your body’s detriment. Firemen, police officers, soldiers, or anyone else in situations like that are taught box breathing to deal with stressors: Breathe in for four seconds, hold for four seconds, breathe out for four seconds, and hold for four seconds before beginning the breathe in process again.
Love is meant to be shared with others who share your life: A word of kindness to a busy check out clerk, a smile anywhere, a laugh to lighten the mood, a hug and kiss to personal relationships, saying, “I love you!” in a meaningful way. Love is very misunderstood in today’s fast-paced world. Some people think it is only a physical thing, but it is so much more than that. Basic respect and cordiality can go a long way in changing your reality with others you know well and strangers passing you like ships in the night. You cannot know how much good you can do to alter someone else’s life by a moment of kindness or a smile. If you pay attention to each one and begin to live and love fully in each exchange every day, this world can be changed greatly. Remember, there are no “do overs” so LIVE NOW. Create good memories.
That idea should include yourself. Our negative self chatter can ruin anything. It is so very powerful. Can you begin the day by looking at yourself in a mirror, give yourself a hug, and say, “I love you!” to that reflection you see? So many personal growth workshops begin with that idea. How can you love others if you do not love yourself first? Jesus said: “Love others AS you would yourself.” He did NOT say: Love others INSTEAD OF yourself. Some of us have been badly taught that such an idea is selfish and wrong. It is taught that others come first always. But can you give water out of an empty bucket? If you don’t find ways to personally fulfill who you really are, how can you give “water” to anyone else? God created you. There is only one of you, just like there is only one snowflake as all are unique.
Yet from childhood we learn that we want to please our authority figures at any cost, which we internalize and carry with us into adulthood. If interpersonal relationships are wrecking havoc in your life with negative self talk, etc., there are some delightful books that are easy reads which can then enable you to make magic changes:
“Psycho-Cybernetics” by Maxwell Maltz
“Games People Play”by Eric Berne
“I’m OK – You’re OK” by Thomas Harris
“Rethinking Everything” by Neil Bright
Last night I finished watching “Limitless” on Disney Plus with Australian Actor Chris Hemsworth who plays Thor. It has six episodes and is National Geographic supported. Yes, you might thing that these are, for the most part, directed at very active people in the audience with extreme challenges not many could even think about, but if one is paying attention through all six episodes, one learns a lot about the effects of accidents, how to handle stress, and even life changing things like grief and poor health. I can recommend it to everyone, indeed, for the suggestions it plants in one’s mind.
Little things can cause big feelings and responses. They can grow exponentially. The more you feed with thought and emotions, they become mountains. However, if you take each item individually to examine its parts, you can gain control, causing perceptions to change. They can then become what they are: Little Things.
At any point, all the above can make a difference in your reality: You can be motivated to do the best you can under whatever circumstance you find yourself in. You can choose to live your life fully each and every day in spite of any external stimuli or situation you are in. It starts inside of you with self talk and deep breathing, mindfulness, and the awareness that you want to live all the days of your life in a better way. It is your choice. Awareness is the beginning of change.
God bless you each and every day, now and in the coming years as you continue on your journey! Peace, love, and laughter to you!
The world is moving so very fast around us. Tempus Fugit. Yes, time does indeed fly, and it is speeding up daily. The only question a few of us stop long enough to answer is: How do we slow the speed of life passing by us every day, literally? It is like riding in a chariot with four beautiful horses speedily pulling you along, but the catch is that you are not holding onto the reins to guide the course of your team or your chariot. It is like riding in a ship on a storm-tossed sea with no one at the helm steering, with only a dim idea of survival or destination.
Question: What was the last meal you ate, and how did it taste? Do you remember any spices or scents? How many times have you simply ran out of time for yourself or family, but it is time to eat? You think of all the fast food restaurants in your area, pick one, order, pick it up, drive it home, and sit down at the table, television, or gaming area to chow down. You are too tired to think of anything better at this point. You even fall into bed, sleep restlessly, and then get up to start it all over again!
Is there a better way to handle your life and how fast you are moving? Absolutely! Become aware of how this occurs (possibly thinking it is required by family members, coworkers, or bosses). As a spectator of all of it, you can gain insight much more quickly into what is really going on. Your feelings of stress, anxiety, and all emotions in the negative realm can enhance every incident, causing you to become a puppet instead of the puppeteer!
They say that the beginning of change is when you get an idea that things need to happen. That one awareness can open many doors, behind which information is available for your personal life. Each one is unique with different needs and approaches to bring changes about. Classes will be brought to your attention. Physical exercise becomes a part of your life because the endorphins released bring positive forward motion to your thinking. Perhaps you will suddenly see the reins you dropped to your chariot and find a way to regain them. Meditation and deep breathing are keys as well.
Life cannot get the better of you unless you let it occur. No decision becomes a decision anyway. You can continue along your path with the mindless pace you experience every moment of your day, or you can choose to stop, decide to be the puppeteer instead of the puppet, and find peace.
You see, life is meant to be savored…every moment of what God has granted us is so very precious. Why would you want less than that? No matter how short or how long you live, quality of life is vital to the process. Do you want to begin to savor the flavor of food and each moment as it passes or not?
Perspective makes all the difference in the world, after all. God created you to experience life the best you can, with dreams of more to come. You were not created as a robot with no choice of your own. You can indeed choose to be that, but the expense is so very great as the sands of your life slip away. It is all up to you! Are you willing?
Do you chop wood and carry water? You must be thinking, “Is she crazy? I’m not camping!” Tee hee!
In all reality, you do it every day, each in his/her own way. “How?” you may ask. Answer: Everything you do–be you a king, queen, laborer, or pauper–is in fact Chopping Wood and Carrying Water!
My point is that, if you are present in the moment, you are breathing, thinking, and performing your daily tasks, whatever they may be. The question is: What is your attitude? Where are your emotions? What are you thinking about and dwelling upon, whether it be past, present, or future? In these uncertain times with extreme fears and passions everywhere, where is your calmness and peace?
Only as you ask yourself these questions and then answer them can you leave the outside world behind so you can find the calmness inside you to weather the storm outside you.
The concept behind “Chopping Wood and Carrying Water” is actually a very simple one:
PRESENCE OF MIND!
If you are driving your car, is your mind thinking about the burned toast or unkind words from someone you care about? Or perhaps you are fretting because traffic is heavy and dangerous? Maybe you are concerned about a big project at work with impossible deadlines? My question is: “Are you driving your car, centering your attention on what is happening at that moment?” Would it be possible to take a deep breath, notice your surroundings, be polite to someone who needs to get over, and smile in your mirror? Taking life moment by moment is the only real way to live. You cannot do two things at once, no matter how hard you try. You may do many things in quick succession, but each one is by itself. Most people are trying to stuff their lives with stress-causing, unrealistic expectations of themselves and others.
Presence is defined as: “The state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present in a place.”
What that translates to is: Are you aware of how you are breathing at this particular moment in time? If you are breathing from your chest, you are stressed out. Only when you are aware of being able to breathe deeply from your stomach/diaphragm area can you get a handle on what is going on with you…your brain…your emotions. What is in the room with you at this moment? Is there something beautiful to please you, or a wonderful smell like baking bread, or perhaps the scent from someone you care about? So many times, our monkey mind is fretting over some silly situation that truly does not matter at all, if you stop and think rationally about its components. Usually it is just emotions running wild. Calmness is an impossible dream and totally out of reach.
Why? Because your attention is so centered on it, emotionally ruminating about it in your mind, perhaps drawing up unpleasant scenarios. Why do that to yourself? Beats me!
So many things are outside of our control, especially now. We forget that it is our reaction to outside stimuli that is causing the problem.
Life will go on, trust me, if you stop, take a deep breath, and apply Presence of Mind at that moment. You can control your reactions, but you must take the thoughtful action to do it. Are you willing? CHOP WOOD AND CARRY WATER!
Mark 12:31 states clearly: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Note that it does not say before yourself, or instead of yourself, or NOT yourself!
It has been known for thousands of years the simple truth that: “Love begins with YOU!”Self Love is perhaps the hardest to master.
Most people are harder on themselves than they are with anyone else in their lives: bosses, friends, lovers, mates, children, acquaintances. We become our own worst enemy. Why is that?
I personally believe it is because we are so focused on OUT THERE realities from the second we wake up until we fall exhausted into bed at night. Then it doesn’t end. Look at all the different sleep medications out there that are for sale. There must be a reason. My guess is that our dear mind is keeping us awake, thinking of things we could have done better or differently, stress, nerves, world news, fears for money, jobs, and the pandemic of COVID19. My list could go on quite a while. So we beat ourselves up endlessly for so many reasons.
Does that sound like Self Love to you?
Also, how about FORGIVENESS? Can you forgive yourself for your shortcomings, no matter how small, big, or in between they are? Can you forgive others for past instances where they fell short in your eyes?
To me, Self Love includes not only Forgiveness, but also Gratitude. Are you truly grateful for all the blessings (big and small) you have in your life at this moment? I could start with allowing myself a deep breath, releasing stressful thoughts and condemnations, and just being glad I am alive in this moment. I am grateful for everything from a roof over my head, food to eat, a car to drive when I need it, bills are paid, good medical care as I age, this computer to use to communicate with my world at large, smart phone and tv, my Keurig that gives me a hot cup of coffee, etc. I also know how to handle all the aches and pains, injuries, etc., as I age because I have been careful to learn yoga, exercise, and physical therapy to strengthen whichever body part needs it at the moment. I include deep breathing as I start my day and as the day proceeds. Beauty is part of my world, which includes beautiful flowers, watching birds and observing my garden grow – providing us with squash, eggplants, and tomatoes to eat and to share. I could go on, but you get the idea.
The difference in my life is which thoughts and emotions I choose to entertain myself with. I, too, have strong emotions/thoughts that carry me away quickly. Prayer helps a lot with that. Meditation is necessary as a tool to calm down and love myself anyway. That to me is a key.
You, too, have the possibility of using your own keys to LOVE YOURSELFANYWAY! After all, perfection is merely a goal, not a commandment.
We are lectured when we are young about our many faults. We take that inside of us and use it well, much to our own dismay. Sometimes it is so strong that we treat all of that as REQUIRED PERFECTION, from which we will ALWAYS fall short, requiring us to reprimand ourselves for every transgression. Isn’t that a sad thought? Because we do it at such a deep level and so naturally that it is difficult to change. However, we can choose to change. We truly can get off of our own backs and stop beating ourselves up!
You are in charge of your own mind. Are you willing to let what is really not working very well continue? Or do you want to begin to LOVE YOURSELF TRULY?
One of the yoga breaths is called the CARING BREATH: You reach both hands/arms out in front of you, take your right hand/arm and touch your left shoulder as you bow your head in that direction and you say, “I accept myself fully, with all my faults and shortcomings.” Then you reach out with your right hand/arm and say, “I am willing to serve, love, and care for others.” Then you repeat this with the left hand/arm. I find this so peaceful and life-changing.
Many motivational speakers tell us to look in the mirror every morning and say to ourselves, “I love you just as you are. You are enough. Go forth with joy in your being!”
Are you willing to try to love yourself? It is all up to you, after all.
Each segment of the church system/religious beliefs has its own parameters of what consists the answer to the question: Are you a saint or a sinner? On one side is the saint, and on the other is the sinner.
Even in our own minds, we label our concepts of saint or sinner. From this point of reference, we judge our world, past and present, self and others. We beat ourselves up for our perceived shortcomings, where we fall short of our own expectation levels. Others also emphasize the same. This only reinforces the negative input incoming to our spirit. Is it productive or counter-productive? Does the negativity give us a desire to change? Nope. Only a positive attitude, working toward a positive goal, can do that. Isn’t it amazing, though, that so many people think that the negative motivation works?
Here is a revolutionary concept: What if we have the power through the use of our choices to be one or the other and even somewhere in between? Is that a possibility?
It may sound absolutely insane to think of life in that way. We put a lot of attention on blaming others, circumstances, or even life itself. This helps us to avoid the responsibility of accepting that we made a poor choice in the first place.
Yes, accidents happen, as do sickness, job loss, horrific weather, crazy politics, etc. Then we have to decide on what our particular response will be – not our reaction, mind you. I am focusing on the idea of what I am going to do in this situation that is occurring on this Third Rock from the Sun. Am I praying for the situation others are experiencing in such a traumatic way? Of course. My response is to choose to support the relief efforts in whatever way I can. Please note that I said response.
In my own life, stuff happens: Good, Bad, and all that comes between those two. However, as captain of my ship, I must decide how I am sailing: What, where, destination, journey, etc. In a strong wind, I must tack to maintain my course. I have to consider my destination (a fixed point) vs. the journey itself as it unfolds. Heaven knows that the destination certainly can change in an instant through positive or negative impacts, perhaps with no choice of my own involved. Life happens.
The only question you are left with: How do you want to respond vs. react to exterior situations/information? The choice is always yours, whether you recognize it or not. In this restless world at this point in time and space, the electronic transmission of all facts/perceptions are known to all with just a touch of a button, literally. The emotions are running so high that the fight or flight pattern in all of us is controlling so much of our thoughts. This state, if kept up long enough, will be our undoing, both individually and collectively.
Peace must be actively chosen as a part of our world. Step back for just a moment, breathe deeply, become quiet (no matter how briefly), and rest just a bit before reentering the exterior world. Your body and mind will thank you. That choice is up to you! Choose wisely.
Praying always for all the suffering that is happening now. Be safe. Act constructively and positively. Do what you must, but don’t lose your sense of self/peace in the process.
Have you ever watched a gaggle of geese that are coming in for a landing on a lake? They are majestic, to say the least. Before they touch down, their wings lock into a curved downward position as they descend. When they are close to the surface, they flutter their wings to let the air pass through their feathers and land. The one thing I have noticed, though, is that, no matter how many other geese are already in their chosen landing spot, not one ever sets down on top of an existing goose’s place. Their brains are not large, yet they always land successfully!
What if humans had that same ability when going from place to place, goal to goal, and job to home? After all, we have a larger brain. Why do we have such a hard time of setting our wings?
If we could do so as easily as the geese, think what a peaceful place our lives could be. We would leave our home situations at home, traffic/transit problems there, and work situations/problem/stresses at the place of origin. Perhaps you have heard, “Leave your problems at home. Put on your smile, and move into your day here.” Maybe you walk in the door at home and start yelling because you haven’t left the stressors at your workplace. You are carrying leftovers from place to place. You are literally not “setting your wings.” The same happens when going from burned toast at home to an important meeting at the office.
Goal oriented people can become obsessive, trying to get their To Do Lists done, all of them, all the time. They thus create stressors on themselves and others. Instead of flowing from task to task, they jump around like grasshoppers in lieu of doing just one thing at a time, which is really all one can do anyway. Multi-tasking is a myth.
If one could set one’s wings as easily as the geese, you would better be able to construct your day, pick your destination (as it were) of each incident, decide your necessary action that is appropriate to the task at hand, complete it, and move on to whatever comes next. You would keep that sense of ease about each task, one flowing into another one, whatever comes next.
Imagine yourself in heavy traffic, you need to get home because you have a million things to get done before you can relax, which you desire even more. Someone else, equally as anxious, cuts you off. You respond with anger because they have invaded your space. What gets lost in the process? You got it! More stress than you had before.
I know you are definitely not a goose. But what if you could keep that sense of peace when setting your wings through your day, no matter what happens? There is an inner connectedness that can occur when you stop for a moment, breathe deeply, and decide your action in lieu of a reaction to circumstances around you. If you applied this idea to every incident that occurs throughout your day, you would be less stressed, more peaceful and happier person. You would most certainly be more healthy.
What if you could encapsulate the stressors you experience each and every moment of your day in a little bubble, all its own? Then you could act or react to just that particular incident instead of going crazy over the accumulation of it over time, be it a day, week, or lifetime. Some people are still reacting to things that happened long ago and far away, thinking about the injustice of it all, feeling self righteous, etc. It is an accumulation of things that are dragged from one incident to another that causes the confusion. Then add the daily stuff and you have a recipe for disaster. You may feel driven in lieu of being the driver.
What I am suggesting to you is that you can live a more peaceful life if you set your wings in the morning by breathing deeply, noticing the beauty around you, think of a very happy place in your mind where you were totally relaxed and easy going. It only needs to be just a few moments. Then as you move into your day, be it spilled milk, a restless child who will not get dressed or cannot find a shoe, a traffic incident, an angry coworker or supervisor over something insignificant in your mind, you can act or react as you choose. Perhaps you could flutter your wings, letting the occurrences flow without a negative response in your mind/being? Trust me, acting vs. reacting is the key to keeping your wings set and letting things go. Encapsulate those stressors by not ignoring them but by responding appropriately at that moment. Don’t drag stuff around with you, situation to incident. No wonder you walk in your door at home and collapse. You are doing it to yourself. That is the sad part.
If you were to set your wings, you would breathe better because the first thing your body does when it reacts to stress is shorten your breathing. You would be healthier, that is for certain. Your day would be less tumultuous. Instead of carrying an empty bag around with you, throwing the impact/influence of each incident into that bag as it occurs, causing you to feel the weight of the world on your shoulders by the end of the day because you are dragging a now-totally-filled-to-overflowing bag, you can choose to come home feeling fresh and alive because you dealt with each thing by itself. Would that be magical? You can choose to live like that. Are you willing? You can change. You can do it.
Our thoughts become the basis for living our lives.
If these thoughts are positive and uplifting, our lives are blessed.
If, however, these thoughts are negative – including anger, fear, worry, sadness or any variation thereof – our lives become a living hell. Do you remember the lake of fire where you are burning up, but it never ends? You are never without the pain of it all? Thus, our lives become bitter and cursed.
Most people do not realize how important our thoughts are. They get up in the morning and embark upon another day without a short time of quiet to calm their inner selves. They run through their day and obligations like a squirrel in a cage. At night, they drop into a restless night, not sleeping well because of their stress. Is this not a hell?
If a thought appears to these people which would lessen their hell, will they pay it attention or not?
The likelihood is that they will keep on keeping on, whether it be duty, lack of knowledge of a better way, or just plain tiredness.
What if a person could seize that thought and actually wake up to a new way? What a marvelous thing that would be! The pain would fizzle, and the fires of hell would dissipate!
Could you imagine such a future for you?
God sent angels in human form to the men of old, warning them to always take care of strangers at their door that they might entertain angels unbeknownst to them. Sometimes the angels came in a dream while they were sleeping.
In today’s world, God sends us many angels to help us live better, more fulfilled lives. These angels are our thoughts. They instruct us in better ways to live and move and have our being.
Why do we ignore this possibility for good in our lives? I believe it is the noise made by the disrupted emotions of anger, regret, pain, anguish over things that did or did not happen, etc.
What I am suggesting here is that where you put your attention – past, present, or future – grows into either your worst nightmare or your best dream. Which would you rather strengthen and enable? Which path would you choose? Could you take that class, read that book, get counseling, or simply stop in the morning with an appropriate quiet time to still your mind and spirit?
Our thoughts our angels are, truly.
What will your choice be – pay attention and make changes or Keep on Keeping on? It is all up to you, after all.
God’s blessings as you walk your pathways upon your journey!
For many years, I have believed that Christmas is a very special time of year. It appears that people are kinder, more gentle, certainly forgiving, etc., during this extraordinary period. The focus is placed on the beauty around us: Christmas lights and decorations, being good for “Santa,” thinking more of others and what their needs […]
After watching the Olympics for several days, it has occurred to me how important BALANCE is to each and everything I watched. If one is just an inch off-balance, one way or another, that person will go down – no matter how good they are, how much they have practiced, or the long hours and many dollars they have spent to get to the Olympics. A speed skater, a boarder, ice skating, skiing, etc. – all require the magic of Balance in order to reach the podium.
I have a mobile in my room. I was watching it for some time. It has seagulls with wires connecting it together. The slightest whiff of moving air will cause it to circle. I noticed that, out of all the seagulls on the mobile, one small section was not moving properly. After studying it for a few minutes, I could see that one seagull had the tip of its wing over that of another. So I reached up and tweaked it a little. The mobile immediately swung back into perfect balance and moved like it should.
The thought occurred to me: How nice it would be if we all lived our lives while paying attention to Balance: Work, play eat, sleep, etc. How we spend each golden hour of our lives each and every day plays a part, just like the wing tip.
We all know what we have to do each and every day. We have to work at whatever we do to earn the money to meet our commitments and take care of our loved ones. But if we are not very careful, we can easily get out of Balance in our lives.
Perhaps you are thirsty so you reach for a can of cold pop instead of water. You are in a big hurry and are hungry. You look on your phone for a listing of fast food outlets nearby in lieu of a health foods store with ready-to-eat items. A child wants you to read him/her a story after a long, exhausting workday, so that moment passes by as you collapse into a chair. Your body is tired and aching from sitting or standing at work all day or night, so you pop a pain pill and settle down to watch some television before bed or sit at a computer, playing games to relax your mind. No thought of yoga stretches or deep breathing enter your mind.
Perhaps you are far too busy and with too many commitments to take that five minutes for yourself or look for a yoga/Pilates/exercise class that would improve your health. You are shopping for groceries and grab the quickest and easiest meals instead of shopping carefully for items that are healthy for you or your family.
As I said, if just an inch off-balance in Olympic sports, it won’t work – the medal goes to someone else. However, if your life is Out of Balance, you do not feel well. You take a pill for your symptoms and keep going. You miss that beautiful sunset or perfect flower without noticing. Your mind is so busy on more important matters, like making a living, picking up the children on time, wondering where you are going to get the extra money needed to repair the car, how you can clean the house before guests arrive, and a million other things that bombard you from every angle. You are driven by outside forces that consume your time before you crawl into bed for a fitful night’s sleep because you are so over-stressed.
Your life is shortened by the stress caused because of your attention to the extraneous matters/forces. You do not take that five minutes of calmness before you start your day, breathing deeply and thinking/reading beautiful thoughts. When you get the chance to stop for a moment, you check your phone for messages or play a game instead of looking around you, pausing to see that item of Beauty just waiting for your attention. Your mind is crowded indeed. But if you choose to slow down just a bit, you would hear the laugh of a child as you read a story or see the smile return to a checker’s face who has just gotten a rude customer and needs your smile and “Good day!” to refocus his/her attention.
My point? Balance is not a dream – it is a choice. Every moment of your life contains one. You can make a difference to yourself and others. At risk is your health, the livingness you do or do not feel, and to the joy you could spread to others. The thought you put into every act/choice will change your reality.
You just have to ask yourself some questions: What is really important to you? How could you respond differently if you were not harried, tired, and grumpy? What would help change that? What class could you take such as Anger or Stress Management, Yoga, exercise, or something else? Could you stop what you are doing as you sit for hours at a time in order to move about for five minutes, as recommended? Could you take a deep breath and stretch a bit? Could you focus on something else instead of whatever is making you crazy?
Life is so fleeting. It is our choices each day that will help the time to pass quickly and easily or drag by as we do a job that is eating us alive. There are always alternatives. You just have to look for them. Are you willing?
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!
Life-long learning has been my quest always. There is so much in the world that brings us down. Like the old song says: "Eliminate the negative, Accentuate the positive..." Life, Love, Truth, Peace, Beauty, Laughter, Light, Joy = All these and more need to lift our spirits so we can soar. Daily wear and tear affects us all. Each one needs to take the time daily to look beyond the problems in our lives so we may find the solutions needed. I wish to use all my lessons learned to share uplifting thoughts with you. Come join me in trying to make this world a better place... :-)
I have been happily married to author and poet W. Foster Welborn for 29 years. (His blog is URL: www.wfosterwelborn.com = RSS Feed is: www.wfosterwelborn.wordpress.com) He has 6 books on Kindle and 2 in print. I am his editor/typist. I currently have 4 more books that are in my finishing process. Watch for them!