Christmas is five days away! What happened to the time…to the year? We have all lived through blessings, challenges and opportunities this year. Some have caused us to grow beyond our wildest imaginings while others have caused us to make mid course corrections and adapt to new life changes. What we do know is that all were intended…all were for the purpose of self growth. As we run around feverishly picking up the last present at the store (or the mailbox for our online shoppers) let’s remember the unconditional love of the season – and keep it foremost in our hearts. Christmas brings out the best in all of us as we reflect on a few simple truths such as…
Friends and family without them our lights would not shine quite as brightly. If someone is struggling now is the time to go the extra mile to show them we care. Random acts of kindness can be a lifeline to another especially at this time of year.
Health – although we may be doing well it’s important to remember that for some fellow travelers health issues may be a challenge. They need our understanding. Regardless of our condition each of us wants to be treated with dignity and respect and seen as a capable human being. Everyone has the capacity to make a positive difference until our last breath – and beyond.
Opportunities – when we review what we have faced this year some things might not have gone as planned. We may have run into some difficulty with others. As Desmond Tutu tells us that ‘forgiveness is nothing less than the way to heal the world’ one person at a time. Let’s heal it together.
Joy – we can see it everywhere. The smiles, the hugs, the laughter of others helps us to remember – all is good with the world – and we see it clearly when we stop long enough to breathe deeply and live in the present.
Gratitude – it brings light into our lives and makes our life lessons easier when we appreciate what we have and maintain a mindset of ‘YES.’ It gives us strength and enthusiasm to face our tomorrows.
Our loved ones who have passed on left us with an incredible gift – unconditional love. Let’s pass it on to others and change the world.
For today, next week and next year – we can choose to remember the feelings we have at this time of year and decide – right here right now – to continue this unconditional love and appreciation for our life and those who are in it. Life really is good, our cups really are full and everything will work out just as it’s suppose to … it just takes a little faith in the miracle of life here on planet Earth.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Have you ever met someone who seems to have nothing but good luck or conversely nothing but bad luck? We may wonder to ourselves, ‘how do things continually happen that way to them?’ The truth is that these folks simply expect things to happen in a certain way and sure enough they do. Think of the difference between an optimist and a pessimist. One sees the cup as half-full and the other half-empty. Same amount just different perspectives. Their energy is either increased or decreased by the feelings and perceptions that they are allowing themselves to generate.
To become happier in life it takes a bit of work, a bit of focus and a belief that you deserve to be happy. Let’s start with your belief. Do you feel you have the right to be happy? We are all here to learn lessons but nowhere is it written that our lessons need to crush us or stop us in our tracks. When a challenge presents itself we can either perseverate on it and cause it to become bigger and more pervasive with thoughts such as ‘This always happens to me’ or we can recognize it for what it is … a MOMENTARY setback and decide on a course of action. When we are actively working on solving an issue the weight of our emotional baggage becomes lighter. We are being proactive rather than reactive. Making a list can help. It slows down our thinking and helps us gain control of our overactive emotions and imagination.
Recognizing that challenges happen to everyone and that we have not been personally set up by a force bigger than ourselves to be the fall guy for anything and everything in life helps to keep things in perspective. It’s NOT PERSONAL. You do not have an inherent flaw that causes negative issues to surface in your life. The only personal part is the time you choose to spend either worrying about it or developing a plan to address it. The more you worry the greater the challenge becomes due to the negative energy you are drawing to you. Worry doesn’t work but a plan does – is it time to write one?
We get out of life what we consciously and subconsciously expect – nothing more and nothing less. The energy in a simple thought reverberates out to the Universe like a magnet which then attracts more of the same back to us. Change our thinking and we change our life.
We have the power to create the world we want and it starts with our thoughts, words and actions. Happy people were not simply born that way they just learned early on that when confronted with a challenge address it and move on – no worry, no drama just action.
Have a great few days!
It’s that time of year again and for those of us who still go to the malls rather than exclusively shop on line for Christmas gifts we often see the suspended red buckets and hear the tinkling bell by the folks who brave the weather while encouraging us to drop in our loose change to help the needy during this yearly fundraising effort. Since we have heard of some charitable organizations who have high overheard costs we may wonder if the money we put in the buckets actually ends up going to those less fortunate. The answer for this organization is a resounding YES! (To check this out further – or any other ‘fact’ or rumor regarding a wealth of topics go to Snopes.com as your fact-checker. It’s a great information equalizer!
The Salvation Army sponsors the Kettle Campaign which starts in November and ends on Christmas Eve. It is their main income stream and raises 70% of the yearly dollars needed to support food distribution, meal programs, shelters, emergency assistance and even Christmas toys for the underprivileged children in our communities. Nearly all of the bell ringers are volunteers. The charity does occasionally hire people in some areas of the country where there is a scarcity of volunteers. Typically these folks are from homeless shelters who are down on their luck. They may have few marketable skills but have a desire to work and help themselves. Look into their eyes and you will see people who have dealt with immeasurable struggles in life but are trying. To further clarify the process the red donation buckets are only opened and the collection counted by an employee when it is returned back to the main center in the evening. Knowing this information should help us feel more confident when deciding whether to reach into our pockets and dig a bit deeper. This organization is the real deal and does amazing things for people in need. What it doesn’t do well is advertise. Why? Because advertising costs money! (Maybe there is something to be said of charitable organizations who can afford to advertise continually!) Let’s help the Salvation Army by sharing this information about them with others.
The topic of charitable donations is a challenging one. In a recent study by Slovic published by ‘Frontiers in Psychology’ the data indicated that we are psychologically motivated (akin to being mentally wired) to help only one person at a time and that our compassion seems to fade when even two or more people are involved! Following this logic, getting people to give to an anonymous bell ringer becomes even more of a challenge. Maybe a ‘Thank you for your effort’ and a smile from us to them is in order as we drop our donations into their small red buckets.
The irony of Slovic’s finding is that other research has repeatedly shown that the giver – the compassionate person in life – is ultimately a happier individual compared to the person who just wants more for themselves. This latter group are easily recognized …they quickly dismiss any charitable donation with the statement, ‘They’re all alike….the money doesn’t really go to the needy etc. etc.’ The rest of us see right through their statements as simply excuses to hold on tightly to what they have – rather like Ebenezer Scrooge before he saw the light! A person with even a modicum of caring for others finds reasons to give rather than reasons to turn away. Their humanity proceeds them as they smile their way into tomorrow. We can recognize them a mile away as they offer a hand up to others.
The next time we hear the sound of the ringing bell let’s personalize it by thinking of someone we know or even someone we have seen on the street that looked like they needed a good hot meal (Tiny Tim comes to mind) and visualize our donation going to them. The Universe has a way of putting our intent into action. Our coins or dollars will flow more freely and we’ll be happier from the inside out as the miracle of Christmas – the sharing and caring – magnifies.
Have a great few days!