Writing about the upcoming arts and crafts festival at UNM Continuing Education got me thinking. As much as a sense of unease rises in my chest at the sight of artificial Christmas trees for sale in October, I tell myself to stop being a curmudgeon. It’s the holidays! Get in the spirit!
Time is moving too fast, I protest. Can’t I enjoy fall leaves and carved pumpkins before trimming the tree and singing carols off-key?
In fact, No, the universe answers (with a smile).
Fall is winding down, even though summer flowers are still blooming on my front porch. It’s time for gloves and shorter days and a huge turkey dinner before we begin the great slide down the hill of this year toward Christmas/Hannukah/Winter Solstice. Celebrations that remind us of light and darkness, our ancient past, and how to push through winter until the weather turns again.
The winter holidays hold the promise of light renewed. If we have the capacity to express love for others—family and friends, our community, the people and animals of the earth—then perhaps there is hope for us too, even during the coldest winter night.
During the winter holidays, we are encouraged to express our love with gifts. If heartfelt, and offered without expectations, the most delightful of acts. To give freely, with no thought of what will return to us is a true expression of the concept of the high heart, which expresses authentically, without bartering.
The high heart offers compassion for self and others, appreciation, perception without judgment, and forgiveness. It works within healthy boundaries and does not take responsibility for the behavior and feelings of others. (As you might expect, living in our high hearts is related to feelings of calmness, peace, and more integration of our physical systems, which leads to less stress)
The low heart can be judgmental, fearful, clinging, sympathetic, and prone to attachments. It lacks boundaries and wants “credit” for its good deeds. It expects gifts received to be commensurate with gifts given.
So in this season of craft fairs, holiday sales, and lists of gifts to purchase, I hope to maintain an attitude of appreciation for what I have. I choose to be grateful for the years on this earth I have been gifted with, to forgive those who have injured others, and to send love to all beings, no matter how misguided and off-track they may seem.
The holidays are a perfect time to take stock, see where we’ve been, and decide if we want to change the story of our life for the coming year. I’m starting now. Not with goals or resolutions, but intentions.
- I will love more
- I will write without fear
- I will trust my Creative Self to guide me through challenges
- I will appreciate
- And I will live the story of my life as honestly as I can