That I’m my own worst enemy is long established truth, but I’m also a pretty good ally when I put my mind to it. I’ve been in a low-level funk for a few months now, and it’s high time I earn my way out of it – and the traditional sentiments of the holiday season hold some good lessons for making that happen.
I don’t cotton to dogma or ideologies, but I was raised Catholic and found plenty of positive nuggets while sweating in my alter boy cassock. Resolved as I am to get into a durable, positive head-space, I thought I’d meditate on some of the sentiments of the season not grounded in materialism and filthy greed!
In his “12 Things that Make Men Rich“, that old scoundrel Napoleon Hill includes “Willingness to Share One’s Blessings With Others”. The darkest times of my life, I can say without hesitation, were also my most isolated. You can’t share of yourself and stay isolated, so it’s a great place to start if you’re looking for ways to kick the blues, or simply get in the spirit of the season. If you can’t think of anything to do, you’re not looking hard enough. Everybody’s got some kind of struggle, seeing this in action goes a long way towards putting our own in perspective.
We all do have struggles, and it’s easy for it to seem like that’s ALL we have. The human psyche loves to be a drama queen, if you feed it one morsel of despair, it’ll find a way to turn it into a feast. We can all do ourselves (and everybody else) a favor by getting into the discipline of adding something we’re grateful for each time we think of a bummer. At minimum, this will add some perspective to any given situation, and possibly change how we think about a challenge. The worm of self-pity can eat everything if given enough time, gratitude can choke the worm. I ain’t no Pollyanna, but there’s always something to be grateful for, even if it’s just your next breath.
Scoff if you will, but the concept of magical elves, flying reindeer and a boss cookie eating fat man working full-time to bring joy to children is a-ok in my book. I’m not super stoked about the lying part, but we all have to learn the hard way things aren’t what they seem at some point, getting hip to the truth about Santa seems like a soft landing. Just look at the guy! Who can look at a mug like that and not get a jolly on?
Not crazy different from sharing and gratitude, but I always like to give kindness a shout-out. I had a conversation recently about the “meaning” of kindness, and that what it isn’t is “enabling”. If an alcoholic asks you to get them a pint for Christmas, is it kindness to give it to them? I think not, kindness requires patience, but it also requires that you help others be the best selves they can (and desire) to be. Living in stress, fear, anxiety and indecision is bad for everybody, no matter what they think, and helping them dig inward to find strength that’s in us all is true kindness.
I could ramble on, but I think these few ideas get across what I was hoping to say – basically that the “Christmas Spirit” is a call to all of us to be our better selves. Not for a season, but for life.
I send my most positive juju to all ya’ll (and all you love) this holiday season – and always. Be kind, be excellent!