This photo by the madplanet.wordpress.com.
It is no secret that I have been searching for my Christmas Spirit for quite some time now. I have tried looking for it everywhere but it has remained illusive. I have tried seasonal movies like–The Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life–nada. There is a host of Christmas ‘feel’ good shows on cable but–nada. I must admit that something stirred in me the other night when I listened to Josh Groban singing Silent Night. The man has a gift like no other. But when the song was over so was my warm and fuzzy. What this told me was that I still have what it takes to embrace Christmas–I just need to look in other places.
Great insight often comes from simple events. I don’t claim to be overflowing with the Christmas Spirit. I’m still unsure of what it is supposed to feel like but I believe that I am moving closer to the magical time when it just ‘is’ with no thought or work on my part. So here it is–my ‘recipe’ for feeding my soul and, hopefully, finding my Christmas Spirit.
This plan requires equal measures of Hope, Joy, Peace and Love. I know it sounds like an ad for ‘Hippie Haven’ but I think it has great promise. Perhaps, in the past, I have overlooked the simplicity of it all.
Hope: I need to restore my hope in the world and the people around me. I do that by allowing myself to see the good in others, about taking emotional risks and leaving doubt and pessimism behind. If we choose to see just the downside in people, events and things we are only going to see the worst that life has to offer. Hope is about choosing to see what is possible without the fear of being disappointed.
Joy: I have come to understand that Joy cannot exist in the company of ‘want’. True Joy is available to us when we give up our wants for more and more or bigger. We can’t experience Joy if we are never satisfied. It’s not about settling for less but rather appreciating what we have accomplished or done. We need to remember those times when we were able to say or feel that being with someone else in a special place or at a special time was all that we needed to experience real Joy. When we experience an ‘attitude of gratitude’ meaning we are grateful to feel a calm and warmth in our soul. That is pure joy. I felt that when I held both my children minutes after they were born. I felt that the first time someone told me that they loved me and I could see in their face that they were being truthful and real. They were sharing their Joy with me.
Peace: Peace is not about living in the absence of war. It is living with Hope and Joy each day. What I am just beginning to understand is that this recipe does not create anything in me without equal measures of each ingredient. There can be no Joy if turmoil and animosity fills your heart. And if you never feel or experience Joy then Hope can’t flourish. If we are always filled with dread and fear Peace we will never know Peace.
Peace is living each day knowing that we are not only granting freedom to those around us to be who they want to be but we are not responsible for their freedom. Each of us needs to create and look after our own freedom. We just need to be sure that others are not negatively impacted by our choices or our actions otherwise we take away others right to be or feel free. Peace is not something that we take or make. It is a way of living each day.
Love: The most misunderstood of the 4 ingredients we seek. Trying to describe Love is a bit like trying to describe what a cherry tastes like. Go ahead and try–bet you can’t do it.
We can, however, see the outcomes of expressions of love. We can accept others for who they are or want to be. We can treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve as human beings walking the planet. How much time do we waste trying to force, manipulate or convince others to be just like we are–that we have a better way? How upset and angry do we get when we can’t make them see what we see? That is not love-that is control. We need to allow for the fact that not everyone is going to see the world as we do nor are they going to accept the fact that you are always right. Love is letting go of the desire to be in control of something or someone.
So this is my recipe for creating an atmosphere around me that opens me to the wonder that is the Christmas Spirit. Try it–what have you got to lose except your sadness, frustration, anger, stress, depression and doubt.
Anyways, that’s how I see it. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and may Peace and Happiness find you wherever you may be.
Send comments to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org OR jimcloughley.com
Please forward this to family and friends with Hope, Peace, Love and Peace in your heart.