Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays

I just want to wish everyone the best for the holidays and the New Year. I've found my Christmas Spirit, I think she lives in the kitchen. I'll spend tomorrow baking bread for my family and listening to Christmas music, laughing with my daughter. It's the children who remind us of the magic. Her excitement is contagious and no matter how down life tries to get me, her sweet smile and bubbly anticipation is more than balm enough. I've also been given a LOT of help this year from friends and family. I find it so difficult to express my gratitude to these people. I can't say 'thank you' enough. I've shed many tears in private, overcome by how generous and supportive the people in my life are. I am truly blessed. I think we really learn about the blessings in our lives at hard times. When things are easy, we don't need anything. We don't need help or support because things are going well. We're tooling along with no training wheels, no hands, full of smiles and laughter. When there's a bump in the road, we find out who, if anyone, will be there to help us steady ourselves. The past month or two, I've had friends and family holding my seat and handle bars, not letting me fall. How amazing is that? No wonder I have such a hard time expressing my gratitude- it's so big! Like love that can well up and make us feel as though we may burst, this gratitude fills me and goes beyond my borders. I'm going to carry that through the new year, into times that are less difficult than now, and remember to always be grateful for what I have because once I get my balance back, I still know that if I wobble, there are many people waiting in the wings to help steady me.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Great Fun!

Yesterday I visited my daughter's class to talk about the Winter Solstice. She's in the fourth grade and her teacher sent home a note asking if any parents would like to come in and share something about our holiday traditions. I decided ours is something different and wanted to share. The kids were all so great. I started out by telling them I was a little nervous to talk in front of people, "but you're all nice, right?". And they were. I told them that to understand why we celebrate the Solstice we would have to talk about history. I explained that we were agricultural people and asked if they knew what that meant. One kid even had farmers in his family- so cool! I asked if any of them had seen the show "Little House on the Prairie" and some had. So I said to think about those times and for many years before that era. Before the industrial and technological revolutions, when we didn't have freezers and refrigerators and people had to dry their meat and find ways to make their food last through the winter. And everyone was dependent on the farmers and so we were very dependent on the sun and very aware of the seasons. So. What happens to the sun during the winter? They knew that it sets earlier. So I explained that it sets earlier and rises later until the Winter Solstice. That is the longest night of the year- the day with the least daylight. The next day, the sun rises a little earlier and sets a little later. So even though it feels like we still have so much winter left, we have a little sign that spring and summer are coming. They understood why it would have been so important. I also told them that to celebrate we have dinner with my best friend and we have a sort-of mini-Christmas, exchanging gifts but we also talk about the year. What we're thankful for, what we want to work on in the coming year. So then I got out my guitar! I can't believe I played in front of so many people. In certain situations kids can be really cool. They were all so excited because it's purple. So I told them I've only had it a few months and might make some mistakes. I played "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman" and they all sang along and covered up my mistakes. Then I played "We Three Kings" and several kids sang along. It was really nice. I felt great for having taught them something. After the fuss that was made over that Gap commercial, I was glad to explain the holiday to some people who didn't know what it is about. I wonder what their parents said when they got home and told them they learned about the Solstice? If they repeat what they learned there should be no reason for fussing. It's not as if I told them we call the quarters and cast a circle and pray to God and Goddess before opening our presents. I wish it wasn't such a big deal. I wish I could talk about those types of things openly in any company but the world isn't quite ready for that so I'll start in small ways. It's not important that people have the whole picture, only that they see it's nothing to be frightened of and maybe even see a little beauty in it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It Returns

I think I may have found my Christmas Spirit! I've mentioned how much trouble I have when I'm focused on one thing. It's like I can't see around it. I've been focused on the hows and wheres of moving. And since money is short this year I haven't done much shopping and that usually gets me excited about the Christmas morning unveiling. I've finally gained some clarity about packing and I can see it getting done so that left me a little room in my brain for Christmas- and I'm a little excited. It's always a bustle and sometimes a drain. I always seem to expect myself to do too much. Like I think I can bake a loaf of cinnamon bread for everyone I know. When it takes about 4 hours to make 2 loaves. This year my preoccupation has stopped me from over-burdening myself. I'm going to make bread for my family and a few close friends. I'm looking forward to celebrating Yule twice (!). Once with my daughter and a close friend of ours and again with my little group. I get to go to my daughter's school and talk about Solstice to her class. And once I've lived through Christmas, I still have moving to look forward to! Ok, I don't look forward to moving because I hate it. I think we all can agree that it's one of the most stressful and physically exhausting tasks on the planet. I do, however, look forward to being in a new place. I love setting up a new home. And I'll be moving to a new area so I will have a whole new city to explore! I love learning places. It's such an adventure! I have a pretty good sense of direction so I always dig finding new ways to get from point A to point B. Learning a whole new city will be a great challenge. There will be new businesses, new restaurants, new people. And I'm so glad to be leaving the apartment I'm in. It has so many issues I don't even want to get into it. Just thinking about it gets my fruit dirty. So I'll stop. I have great things on the horizon. I love the fact that even when money is tight- or feels like it is- I can still see that I have such great abundance and so many things to be thankful for. I am truly blessed and I feel as though I just keep being given more and more. I hope that in this season of family and friends, of giving and charity, of love and light, that we all can take stock and be thankful for the wonderful things we have in our lives all year round.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Where is it?

I find it almost impossible to believe that Christmas is in 10 days. I have always been the girl with the irrepressible Christmas spirit. It hasn't arrived yet. No shopping. No bread-baking even. I'm just not that into it. Ug! Maybe it's because I'm focused on moving soon? Maybe I'll be more connected to Yule this year with it's quiet, gentle affair whose purpose certainly rivals Christmas' hooplah. I feel a little left-out but honestly, I haven't seen many examples of the Christmas spirit outside generosity shown to me in my own life. There is no abundant joy in passers-by. Everyone is elbowing and grumbling like always. I see the lights but they're not sparking that same kind of awe and revelry that I usually associate with this time of year. In a way, I'm leaning on my daughter's excitement. You can always count on a kid to find the joy and remember why we're supposed to be excited. She's so sweet. We have our little Christmas at home, then go to her Grandma's (dad's mom) and then to my mom's house. She tells me how much she loves our little Christmas mornings at home, watching the parade and eating cinnamon bread. "Even if there aren't any presents", she tells me. What a gem! So I'm switching the radio to the Christmas station and forcing myself to start baking for her. Sometimes when we do the things we associate with a particular feeling, we can bring that feeling on. I hope that works for me now because if I remember correctly, I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Enough about the monkeys

Ok. I promise, well I think, this will be the last blog about the monkeys but I'm just having so much fun with it. I was thinking about fruit. It's what we put out into the world, right? Like the 'fruits of our labors'. So that is a great reminder that what we think and the mood we are in ARE our fruit. Our thoughts are really going out into the world and affecting things - including ourselves. So if we think of thoughts in terms of fruit, it benefits all of us to keep our fruit clean. It's most difficult when we encounter a person who is clearly eating fruit that's not only covered in mud but possibly rotten as well. They've been carrying that same dirty fruit with them for a long time. They're used to the people around them eating dirty fruit, too, since we tend to see ourselves reflected in our surroundings. We have to do our best to not let their dirt get on our fruit. The best thing we can do is to offer them some clean, fresh fruit. Maybe it's a kind word or a different perspective. Maybe just a compliment or a door held open for someone's heavy arms. It's a heavy task to try to change the world, even if we all see the need for change. If we all start at home, in little ways, change will grow in it's own time.

Friday, December 4, 2009

More about the monkeys

I realize that sweet potatoes are not fruit but I still refer to the story as "fruit-washing monkeys". So I've been using the metaphor in my daily life and I love it. When someone is rude or cruel, I think to myself, "ooo, they're eating dirty fruit" and it helps me to not feed into their negativity. It's a funny thing to say so it takes the edge off of the yuckiness. Then when I'm being negative, whether it's thinking yucky thoughts or being judgemental, I think, "Ooo, I just ate dirty fruit". It works in the same way. So I had a hard day at work Wednesday because I was tired and not in the mood to be there. I just focused on 'keeping my fruit clean' all day and it really helped. I realize it sounds crazy but that's why it works for me. Try it out and see if it works for you. Or if you have a similar statement that you use, please let me know. We all need a full tool-box of ways to stay positive and this is my new shiny tool. I hope it helps you all too.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thank you

I just want to thank everyone who reads my blog. I do read comments and write back. It means a lot to me that people are interested in the same things I am and that they take the time to comment about the things I write. I'm gaining more confidence in my writing this way and getting feedback is such a blessing. I really feel the need, lately, to connect to as many people as I can and spread a loving message. I love reading things that make me think and I hope to offer springboards for others to take off and have ponderings of their own. I am so blessed in my life right now. I'm a little overwhelmed by how many things are opening up for me right now. I have a new-ish little group of beautiful witches who I meet with weekly and the joy these times bring me is immeasurable. I've found a closer, easier communication with one of my spirit guides through a reading from a friend. I've found a new place to practice massage that spurned a beautiful business idea that will be very successful if I stay true to my vision. In that same place, I found a new group of friends who are generously and supportivley shining a light for me to come further down my path. I met a beautiful practitioner of my faith who I can keep in contact with through writing and I feel an absolute abundance of opportunity for learning and sharing in that relationship. And even before all of this came into my life, I was blessed with a beautiful daughter who is my greatest teacher, and some very special friends whose help has been greater than I will ever be able to thank them for. I have some serious money issues right now (bills, holidays coming, low-paying job) and for once, I have absolutely no fear or worry about it. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that everything is just fine. There is way too much good right now for me to even think of falling into the worry trap. I will pay what I can when I can and life, as always, will work itself out. This weekend was a real wake up call about the value of money and in the grand scheme of things, it's worth-less. We all need to support ourselves and our families and I will always manage to do that. But money is worth so much less than friendship and love and growth. Money is energy and I have a lot of good to put out into the world. I trust with all of myself that the Universe will take care of me and mine in turn.