Thursday, December 11, 2014

Little Forever Lights

Sometimes I envision myself as a little spark of energy or light, flitting around the universe colliding with other little sparks. When I collide with the right spark, my energy flames up, radiates out, becomes brighter, at other times when I collide with another spark, I grow dim, my light is paled in the presence of that spark. I can close my eyes and almost feel the buzz of energy flowing through my veins, responding to the energies I am in the presence of. Plants, birds, bees, mankind, all with their little flames of light.

What if that’s really all we are? Little balls of energy flitting around, looking to collide with other sparks that make us bright? Sparks of energy only just barely contained by our cumbersome flesh and bone. Flitting around, simultaneously radiating and absorbing life energy from our neighboring sparks. I would like to think that my spark is one that makes others brighter. I would like to think that that we go on for eternity, little balls of energy.

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Reflection on Christmas

Another Christmas is just around the corner. In my younger years there was nothing in the world that could crush my holiday spirit. And we were poor, never had enough to make ends meet, but we loved our small traditions, and we made the best of it. This went on far into my adult life. My Cheermiestering started the day after thanksgiving and continued until Dec 26th. I would start baking, several kinds of cookies and sweet breads to freeze. I made homemade wrapping paper, sent out dozens of greeting cards, sang all the classic carols all day long, and drank more than my fair share of eggnog.
But several years ago all that changed. Call it midlife crises, or maybe I just finally gave in to the Scrooge. Looking around at my dysfunctional family, and overwhelmed by the incessant consumerism, I started feeling like nothing I did really mattered. Traditions became thankless motions; everywhere I looked I saw need or greed, both which disheartened me.
I don’t know what caused this change, although I can say it seemed to happen all at once. Suddenly, a holiday I loved, that was filled with joy and family became a chore, something I had to force a smile to get through, doing the bare minimum “for the kids.” It no longer held any meaning for me.
Ever since then, I have been searching, wanting to get back that warm fuzzy Christmas feeling I know exists, but to do that, I now know I have to find its meaning to me. It means a lot of things to a lot of people, and easy if you are Christian, but I am not. But I know it still means something. But what?
This year, it means letting go. Letting go of how things are “supposed” to be, letting go of unrealistic expectations, letting go of perfection. This year it means acceptance and flexibility. To look for that joy in smaller moments, to embrace all of my emotions at this time of year, even if it sadness. To stop with false cheer and look deeper, so when a genuine moment of joy presents itself I can recognize it.
Life is hard, it has so many twists and turns, if there is anything that can magnify that, it’s a holiday where everyone is expected to be full of joy. I am thankful to be in place where I am now open to see things in a new way; I have a sense of hope. I look back at the years behind me and feel blessed to have the life I have led, and lessons learned, and see a new year coming up before me and welcome it, whatever it brings because I know it will teach me something.

So this year, I will put up a tree big or small, fake or real, and love it. I will expect nothing, and love what I receive. I will give of my time freely and with an open heart and joy will find me.