Make Peace This Season

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The traffic sucks. The stores are a mess. Toddlers are whining. Lines are long because there are too few registers open. Relatives are demanding to know if or when you are arriving, while completely ignoring the fact you have three other stops the same day. Everyone is in their own little head space. There are dozens of preparations to tick off your to-do list. Last minute scrambling seems to spawn more.

And you can’t wait until the craziness is over so you can have some peace.

Create peace in your own little corner of the world just by being peaceful. You don’t have to take any of the trappings so seriously. You may get generic gifts or none at all. Even if nothing goes as planned you can chose to remain calm. The best gift you can give yourself and others is peaceful energy.

As hard as people work to create the “perfect” holiday, they forget that what they consider to be perfect may not be anyone else’s vision. No one remembers perfection. The standout moments are when things go awry.

The roast beast doesn’t cook because the oven isn’t getting hot enough.

The cat chews up something on the tree and vomits all over the house.

The coveted toy malfunctions and burns a hole in the carpet.

The relative who won’t let you alone about your failures drinks the spiked eggnog and becomes worthy of a payback posting on YouTube.

Go toward the holiday river of chaos with a light heart and resolve to not let anyone or anything get to you. You can be the life preserver others cling to for stability in the unstable (even hostile) environment. Make peace by being peaceful. Others may not remember it or thank you for it, but you can change the energy of their holiday (and yours) tremendously.

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Happy Holidays everyone! Emphasis on Happy.

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Looking Up

Jim Carrey, 'The Grinch'

On my errands this week, I was just about to get out of the car when I looked up. In my rearview mirror, two women threw their arms wide open, sang that strange sound that reminds me of a violin being tuned, ran to each other and embraced as if they’d been separated for many years. I warmed at their loving energy and watched for a moment as they held each other at arms-length while rapidly catching up. Even with my windows closed I managed to hear how well one was doing after having been hospitalized.

And then He showed up to spoil it.

Five sharp horn blasts came from a Grinch of a man, angry that the women were blocking his path. Killjoy. They stepped aside to let him pass to the handicap space where he climbed from his big Buick as able-bodied as anyone. Before marching to the store, he tossed them a pinched glance as if to say, “Take your sickening happiness somewhere else.”

This didn’t bother the women nearly as much as it did me. They resumed their gushing.

I followed The Grinch inside.

He browsed unhurried while I asked myself why he’d hit such a nerve. Didn’t take me long to remember.

In my younger days, what seems like another lifetime, I was The Grinch.

Oh, I never laid on my horn to break up happiness, but I know that I’d thought about it. Even waved The Finger that I’d overheard from a five-year-old just yesterday, “ . . . means you hate God.”

Yeah. I hated everyone back then.

My life had gone in an undesirable direction – for 25 years! And I had no idea how to change any of it.  Happiness was so foreign it spoke might as well have spoken Mandurian.

It took losing everything in a fire to snap me out of it. I can look back now and be grateful for the catastrophe that burned my old life to ash. My old life had died in the fire and I got to be at my own funeral. It cleaned my slate, reset my hard drive, and opened the door to a fresh start. Because when you hit bottom, there is only one direction: Up.

Had it not been for that I might still be a Grinch, stomping around everyone else’s happiness without ever finding my own.

So I said a little “Thank You” to Mr. Grinch for reminding me that today I can only look up.