Dining alone gives me the unique opportunity to allow my thoughts to wander.
While enjoying a less healthy than normal breakfast at Souplantation this morning, I listened with half an ear to the conversations around me while reading a few Spirit Science articles on my iPad. Remembering that I needed to visit Brookstone to pick up a Christmas present, I thought about using my iPad to look at the mall’s directory.
I actually spent a few moments on this thought as it provided two alternatives: 1. I could locate the store if it still existed and walk directly there, or save myself the trip if it, like many others in this particular mall, had closed. 2. I could walk to the directory and look up the store, thereby giving myself a little exercise after a heavier breakfast than that to which I’m accustomed.
After a little thought, I chose alternative 2, both for the exercise and the fresh air. It also afforded me the opportunity to walk around the mall a bit instead of returning to my car when I discovered the store had closed. As I walked, I lost myself in my own erratic musings.
Wherefore art thou, Christmas Spirit?
The usual gigantic Christmas tree once again graced center court, but this year, there was a sign in front of it, dedicating the tree to a former chef in one of the mall’s restaurants. As the sign referred to the man in the past tense, I read through the accolades to find that he’d been killed by a drunk driver in 2010 at the age of 31. I also noted that he’d graduated from the same Culinary Arts Academy as my youngest daughter.
My wanderings took me past two women decorating a smaller tree with flowers and tulle, a chalk painting of a boy depicted as an angel (his photograph was next to the painting, and I assumed he’d passed on), various stores selling Christmas decorations and the annual cottage for Santa. There was also a store with a huge sign about Santa’s Wish List where a long line of people waited their turn for something-or-other.
As I took in all of the accoutrements of festivity, I realized that I’m just not into Christmas this year. Whether it’s because I’m limiting my own giving or procrastinating putting up my tree with excuses (I really do need to scrub the living room floor first!), the pine wreath I purchased at Trader Joe’s this week and hung on my door and the small pile of boxes from Kohl’s and Amazon.com in my guest room are the only indications that Christmas has found its way into my house at all.
It’s not “Bah Humbug”, but rather, “Ho Hum”
In year’s past, I was not only going way overboard for my kids and adopted grandson, but I was looking for special calendars for my co-workers and gifts for some of my extended dance family. This year, I’m focused on limiting my spending, appreciating the fact that I really don’t need to buy a lot of stuff, and so I’m not out in the stores or online looking for more things with which to bury my tree or overfill the stockings. This year’s bounty should take no more than an evening to wrap.
On the one hand, it’s given me time to realize that part of my annual overspending of the last few years has been directly connected with the years when things were very lean and the girls got hand decorated sweats, pajamas, socks and books from the discount book store. I realize that it was never necessary to do that, either for my kids or grand kids (although, admittedly, Jenni was more likely to expect more and appreciate less than Heather who still tells me that she’s happy with a book with my annual inscription, pajamas and undies). So who was I putting myself into debt to appease?
Our lives are filled with choices, often from one minute to the next.
From one minute to the next, we make choices. “Should I get up now or wait another ten minutes?” “Do I want my usual yogurt for breakfast, or should I treat myself to breakfast out?” “Should I spend another bundle on Christmas presents or shower my family with the time and attention I’d have spent shopping and wrapping instead?”
Once again, Dr. Seuss helped me put things in perspective. I watched “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” again and noticed a lot of things in the movie I’d never caught before. The prevailing message the story conveys really hit home for me this time. Christmas Spirit is not about presents and food and out doing your neighbor with your lighting display. It’s about sharing your heart, unreservedly and unconditionally.
For me, it’s also about listening when my friends tell me that they perceive me as an evolving, expanding, spiritually conscious person, appreciating that I’m giving off that impression, and doing everything in my power to live up to their perceptions; not because I want to be what they expect, but because what they perceive is what I’m aspiring to be, but know in my heart that I’m not there yet.
Yet, I appreciate their feedback so much because it tells me that even if I’m not yet living as I wish to inwardly, I’m giving the impression that I am on the outside so all I really need to do now is to internalize what I’m projecting. And as the song from “The King and I” runs through my head, I realize that I have been doing exactly what I set out to do when I wrote the post about acting like you’re already where you want to be until you convince yourself that you are there; at that point, you will be where you’ve been acting like you want to be. I believe the popular phrase these days is <em>”fake it ’til you make it.”</em>
The choice I make today is to “…hold my head erect and whistle a happy tune so no one will suspect I’m afraid.”
For now, I’ll just follow my own advice and act like I’m already living a truly spiritual, giving life, and that I’m already a published author and web content writer. I am letting go of my need to make up for the lean years as I finally understand that my time and attention are of far more importance to the people I love than excessive amounts of gifts to unwrap. And I’ve finally allowed my soul mate into my life to share all of the things I’ve learned and achieved.
This is what the Christmas Spirit feels like!
What choices will you make in this season of giving? Will those choices have long- or short-term implications? Which do you want them to have?
My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for feedback from my friends and family which remind me to live my projections.
2. I am grateful that I have choices.
3. I am grateful for the opportunity to reassess my interpretation of the holidays and to make much needed changes in my perspective.
4. I am grateful for continued reminders of the love I receive and the endless supply I have to give.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, joy, spiritual awakening, expanded consciousness, holiday spirit, health, harmony, peace, friendship and prosperity.