Gratitude and Holiday Choices

Our kitchen sink water pressure stopped working. Barely a trickle. Hot water became hard-won and cleaning dishes took on a whole new level of groaning. A few days in, I was irritated with it.

But then I thought, you know, I’m lucky to have water at all. Or a sink, for that matter. Running water that can heat up, a refrigerator to keep my food, an oven to cook with ease, a heater, and air conditioner to keep me comfortable.

I stopped being irritated by the leaking water pressure level.

I started being grateful.

 

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I am not saying we should minimize the small pains in our lives (talking of real issues here now, not low water pressure).

A bit of perspective is all I’m asking here. Of myself. And if you want to join in, you too.

We are so blessed.

We have so much in this country. There are many things to complain about. But this holiday season, can we please, please, look at some of the great things we have?

 Focus on what to be grateful for. We have many of those. Even in times of pain and suffering.

 

I tend to complain about what I don’t have. What isn’t working. I’ve lived in loads of places where jerry-rigging the mickey out of a problem is what you do. At first, I was annoyed. After a while, I became aware of how ridiculous I was being. I don’t get upset easily anymore and when I do, I remember a lot quicker to take stock of things as they truly are.

 

I remember.

There are children in hospital beds for the holidays, eating out of a tube. Some with cancer that can’t eat at all. Puking everything up. With no friends. Alone and in pain, much more pain than I’ve ever experienced.

There are men and women whose bodies won’t work the way they’re supposed to. So instead, they spend their days and nights in hospital beds or back bedrooms with nowhere to go and not much to do with their lives. There are people, able-bodied and strong, without a smidge of love in their lives. Struggling to make money enough to buy dinner.

There are people who don’t have access to food. Or clean water. At all.

I’m not trying to hit your shame, guilt, or uber depressing buttons. Rather, trying to put this world into a big picture for myself.

I challenge you to do the same. Put your world into perspective. Seek out a joy in your life instead of focusing on your downfalls or afflictions.

 

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This holiday season, I will remember that I am blessed. I will not belittle my real issues and pains in life. But I will always, always remember that I am so very blessed.

I will say a silent prayer, send a hopeful thought into the universe, that those suffering will feel loved by another. They will get what they need without harm to themselves or others.

I pray that you are surrounded by love and can easily see the greatness in yourself and your life.

If you are not the praying type, that’s all good. There are many kinds of prayers. You do your thing. But we could all use a little goodwill toward mankind, don’t you think?

We can use a little nudge, a little reminder.

That hey, I have a home. A family. People who genuinely love and care about me. People who I love and genuinely care about. I have hopes and dreams and goals. I have food and water and clothes and ways of getting everything I need with ease. I am blessed. I have excess.

 

I choose to look at the silver lining. The hidden blessing. The positive side. I am an optimist, even when life has me sobbing or enraged.

I will never give up on believing that there is goodness in this world and in this life. I hope you don’t either. You are worth it. I am worth it.

We can find ways to healthily cope with the pains in our lives. We can find ways to smash the darkness with mini holiday twinkle lights and light it up until the darkness is dizzy with wonder and a little fright. Or personal demons don’t get to dictate that we must live as scared little children, hiding under our beds. They live within us. That gives us the power to feed or destroy them.

 

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Instead of focusing on our tedious tasks and oh so annoying bumps in the road, instead of focusing on the pain in our lives.

Just for today. Just for this moment.

Let’s look at the beauty, soak it in. Breathe in the joys and little wins and laughs and smiles and happy accidents, until we’re so full that the misery can’t touch us.

The gigging toddler. The panting happy dog that wants nothing more than to play with you and love you. A knock at the door. Letter in the mail. Hug from a friend. Call from a long-lost relative found anew. A bright sky. Relaxing, rainy nights.

Let’s stand in awe at the wondrous magnitude of beauty, of brilliance this world has to offer.

None of us are perfect. None of us have realized every desire or dream. But we’re worth striving, becoming, learning, and most of all, enjoying.

Enjoy this life. It’s uniquely yours, for better or for worse. And most of the time, you can choose for it to be better.

Let’s find that naïve, childlike wonder inside each of us. Feed it. Keep it alive. Don’t starve the innocence within yourself. Deal with the reality of the dark days and nights but don’t be consumed by them. Allow the light of this season to push back any darkness encroaching on your rightly deserved life.

This season isn’t about presents or price tags, winning holiday dinner competitions or playing one-upsmanship around the table. It isn’t having the brightest lawn of decorations or the biggest number of shiny boxes and bows under the tree.

It isn’t about my leaky sink. It’s about the ease with which I could get help and the fact that I have water, regardless.

It isn’t about the confusion over Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, or Kwanzaa.

It isn’t about the tree or the candles or the wish lists.

This season is about peace, hope, and love. Forgiveness and new beginnings. And while these things may sound corny or trite, they are no less honest, important, and needed.

Let’s focus on what is right in this world. The best in ourselves and others. The hope for better, for healthier, for more joyful lives, financial situations, and relationships.

What we focus on is what we’ll attract, accumulate, and become.

This holiday season let’s choose to become a little kinder, more hopeful, a lot more grateful, attain a healthier perspective. Let us remember that inner peace isn’t something that comes out of a cereal box or shines up children movies alone.

I wish you harmony and peace this holiday season, within yourself and your life. It’s possible. Depends on our choices.

 

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Hope in the Dark

I’d been having a few really hard weeks in a row. Things that a person can’t control kept stacking up on me. I’d work real hard to better myself but health issues would wipe away any signs of visible progress. I was hurting.

Hadn’t given up. But I was struggling. To keep positive. To keep my head above water. To feel like there was a purpose to my striving to become better, healthier. To connect with why I was fighting, why I kept pushing and trying and trying when nothing good came of it.

Feeling like a burden. Like because I was so unhealthy and sensitive that I was useless and a negative draw on those I loved, even when I was honestly positive and trying to help them.

 

Then I get this random message.

 

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From a woman who has fought injustices and misery to an extent that I just sit in awe of her. She is so strong. A warrior who carries a smile and a frighteningly magickal voice. So wise beyond her years and so, so youthful beyond her trials. She has always been so raw and vulnerable, so gorgeously honest and real and brave. Uplifting.

She has every right to be all kinds of bitter.

But she’s not. Instead, she shares her story with others. She lifts those around her.

A rare person indeed.

A person who sees other people. Truly sees them.

 

She messages me and asks if I’d like something she’s created.

In my fumbling, messy way, I try to explain how honored I am. Though a little sad that I can’t buy it to support her.

You see…

This woman is a creator. Most creators struggle to make money from their art. Especially since artists are shamed for selling their products for *gasp* money. As if we don’t owe creators for bettering our lives.

So when I find someone I like, I don’t care if they’re living on a mountain in a castle made of gold. I want to spend my money on them. Give them a review. Share their awesome creations.

This woman is asking if I’d like her product, for Christmas.

 

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I kinda just broke a little, you know?

But in a good way. A fantastic way. A marvelous, needed, healthy, wakeful way.

In the way that you wake up and realize you’re sleeping walking through a muddy, dirty, and deepening pit when there’s an escalator not a foot away. Clean and free and ready for use. All you have to do is clean up.

I broke in the way that happy tears flow and my heart and head both agree. They remember joyful emotions and hugs and smiles and memories and future hopes and dreams. They remembered strength.

The strength of soft flowers in a storm. Of small infants in a world of noise. Of baby deer, struggling joyfully to their feet for the first time. The strength of love that isn’t cheapened with lies or half measures or abandonment.

When your heart and head agree, you know all will be alright. And it probably already is.

 

I am so grateful for this woman. I celebrate this woman.

This season isn’t about gifts or cards or price tags. It isn’t about trees or candles or decorations.

This season is about hope. Love. Rebirth. Harmony.

It is about remembering to live with joy and purpose and the strength of vulnerability.

This woman is also a dinosaur. You might know of her. If you do, you already know she’s all of those things and more than I could ever put into words.

 

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We need people like this. To shake us awake.

This season can be so painful. Stressful. Unhappy.

When it was created for just the opposite of things. The little moments where love can soothe all the broken and hurting things in and around us. Where hope can bridge the gap between differences. Where truth isn’t about facts or what we can prove, but what we feel and know in our heart and mind and soul.

This season is so much more. We deserve so much more.

The love poured into my life when I’m dangling by a thread always makes me want to do better, be better. Become worthy of the kindness absorbed into my skin by those willing to share what this world so easily burns at the stake.

 

We need each other.

We can better this world. Even if it’s only for one person.

Be someone’s reminder. Be someone’s hope. Bring joy to someone. It doesn’t have to be a big huge ordeal. The little things. The little things can mean so much more than we realize. They can open heart. Or grow scar tissue over broken hearts, leaving inside a spark of something to be wished for. The little things are rarely ever, little.

Accept the same from another.

 

Thank you, Ra.

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