Keeping Spirits Up

My spirit wants to soar, expand, feel love flowing inside me and reaching out to everyone I meet.  It’s fall, my favorite season, finally crisp and cool.  It may snow soon; snow-haters forgive me, I am a solid East Coaster, I love the snow despite its inherent inconvenience.  The holiday season has begun, almost all the Halloween candy has been eaten.  I want to dive in, but the world won’t let me.

How can I say it’s not too early to start celebrating when there’s just been another mass shooting?  When every day another person is being revealed as a sexual predator?  When everyone is sharing opinions about serious issues and confessing their own traumas, how can I write about the new white flocked Christmas tree I’m so excited about?

I could write #me too and join the fray.  I deal with my trauma but don’t feel the need to tell everyone my story or vilify the persons involved.  I only want to handle my own healing; hard as it is to face, the perpetrators are victims, too, and have their own healing to do.  The way we point fingers and ruin peoples’ lives only shows how far we have to go in raising our culture to one of love.

As for gun violence, words I heard yesterday in Adyashanti’s book, The End of Your World, rang true to me (I will post the exact quote when I find it) — we won’t change the world by having this government or that or by following this philosophy or that, but by changing ourselves on the inside.  Because what we are on the inside is what is reflected in our world on the outside.

Do we act and speak out of love or fear?  It’s not easy, I know.  Every day life gives us ample opportunity to practice.  I had a customer recently who was a great teacher.  She didn’t want to join our registry or participate in our philanthropic promotion, but she wanted a discount.  I recognize these situations as opportunities for my personal growth and try not to react with judgment.  But when she said “I don’t understand why I’m standing here and can’t get the discount,” I felt the warmth rising in my chest.

It’s not easy to look inside ourselves and ask what’s going on with me that’s causing me to judge?  Realizing that now I’m also judging myself and adding more negative energy to an already problematic situation.  Now I’m hearing in my head that song I love, “It’s not easy breaking your heart.”  It’s what we do when we don’t love unconditionally.  Finding a way to inject love, empathy, compassion into that interaction would have changed the world in that moment.

I’ve always told my kids no situation is ever all bad or all good, it’s always both, the paradox of life.  Maybe that’s why I’m so into this holiday season and my new Christmas tree.  There’s a lot going on in the world that we need to change, but there’s also a lot going on we can appreciate and celebrate.

It’s not too early, let the joy of the holiday season begin.  (Don’t worry, I won’t unpack my tree until after Thanksgiving.)

tree in box

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It’s a Thing

That last post picture of my son Elliot and me was taken at a wedding this past summer.  It was Elliot’s first wedding experience, so a big deal for him.  For me, it’s always a big deal when I get to spend extended time in his presence.  In fact, the highlight for me of the entire weekend was when he came to me (twice!) unbidden for a hug and even better, to invite me to dance.  But that’s not the point of this story.

Weddings these days are so different from when I got married.  It’s all about the bride and groom now, not the parents, as it should be.  I’ve watched close friends and family members shake their heads in confusion as their children plan weddings entirely without parental input.  “All I know is where and when to show up,” one friend told me.

I’m actually surprised young people choose to get married at all anymore.  If you look at the origin of wedding traditions, they don’t always seem to make sense in today’s culture.  I asked my nephew why he thought people are still getting married and he answered maybe it’s for the tax advantages.  This nephew and my son are both more financially astute than I ever was at their age, so good for them.

It’s fun to observe the kids at a big party like this wedding.  I noticed they have a certain way of dancing, that even my son, at his first wedding, knew about:  dancing with a beer in one hand, raised in the air.  Interesting, I thought.  Maybe a little dangerous, since a lot of the music seems to also require jumping straight up in the air.  I have to admit I was moved to do some jumping myself forgetting for the moment I have a bad joint on my right foot.  Music can do that to you.

When I commented on the beer in hand dancing, my husband said, yes it seems to be a thing.  This phrase “it’s a thing” is also a thing.  You can find out whether something is widely accepted or not by asking, Is it a thing?  Another thing I notice is how young people pose for pictures with attitude while the grownups basically stand smiling while trying not to blink.

family at wedding

I first learned this whole “it’s a thing” thing while working on assignment at a smaller store with a new group of people.  We had all new equipment including smartphone devices set up for inventory control.  One morning I couldn’t find any of the many chargers and asked the manager where they were.  “The kids take them,” he said.  Take them?  What do you mean, take them?  “It’s a thing,” he shrugged.  That’s stealing! I replied, make them give them back!  I don’t think we ever got them back.

Some things shouldn’t be a thing.