“Christmas is coming…”

December 15, 2014

Happiness

Christmas elvesChristmas, a time for joy and celebration.  Looked forward to by many, dreaded by some.

One of my favourite old nursery rhymes holds 5 keys to making Christmas as special as it can be.

Christmas is coming…

What do you think are the spirit of those opening words?  To me, they are imbued with a sense of relished anticipation and eagerness for the fun that is to come.  That’s a great way to approach any day in life, not just Christmas.

I can see the makings of  a  New Years Resolution there :)!  Live 2015 as if everyday was Christmas:)!

Every day, indeed every moment, can be seen as a gift – the ever-present present.  I love how language gives us little hints like that, from time to time.   Who’s up for trying that out in 2015?

But I’m getting ahead of myself:), let’s get back to the task at hand – Christmas…

If you find ‘relished anticipation’ easy, then you’ll need no tips from me.  Other than the encouragement to pay extra special attention to savour those moments of anticipation for their own joy.  Life has a tendency to be pretty amazing when you do that.

If you don’t find it easy to look forward to Christmas (barring the exceptional circumstances of some deeply traumatic life event) then maybe it’s time to transform our inner Grinch.  If you haven’t seen it, “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” is a delightful Christmas movie starring Jim Carrey.  We all have an inner Grinch in one form or another.  Just as it took someone to love the Grinch to help him get back on track, maybe this Christmas it’s time to learn to love our own inner Grinch.  I won’t go into all the ways you can do this as we’d be here all day:).  But here’s a little hint, it’s nice that often when you shine the light of compassionate awareness on something, it somehow magically transforms it.  So be compassionately aware of your inner Grinch.  Love her/him as much as you can and let her/him be.  S/he will get over themselves soon enough.

… the geese are getting fat.

This harkens back to a time when we hadn’t been taught to be afraid of fat by overzealous folk with misguided beliefs that they were determined were true.  Much like we can now look at ‘the world is flat’ myth from the perspective of technicolour orbiting satellite videos of our gorgeous revolving spherical planet and shake our heads in wonder at how people got it so wrong for so long, we will one day wonder why people did the same thing with fat and thought it was bad for you.

I was one of those.  35 years of being vegetarian (10 of which were wheat free, low fat vegan) made for some interesting Christmas meals with family and friends.  Now that I’m in the low carb paleo or low carb high/healthy fat (LCHF) camp, as much as lots has changed for us as a family, on the other hand, nothing has.  Instead of having to navigate all that meat and fat to look after my needs, now it’s all that sugar:)!

Why do I mention this?  So much of Christmas revolves around food and our relationship to it.  If you’ve ever found yourself marooned in your chair, holding your stomach with one hand, groaning that you couldn’t eat another bite while you shovel another spoonful of grandma’s special trifle into your mouth with the other hand, then you know what I mean.   For many people this isn’t much of an issue but if you’re intolerant to certain foods then it can be a real challenge and get in the way of the Christmas spirit.

Without getting Grinchy about it, or loving yourself if you do, the key is to realise that the greatest freedom we have is the ability to choose our thoughts and attitudes of mind at any given moment and if Viktor Frankl can get that life transforming message in the horrendous circumstances of a concentration camp then surely we can apply it at the Christmas dinner table:).

Once your sail/attitude is set it’s then just about dealing with the mechanics.  How you do this will depend on how sensitive you are to the foods you are being offered.  People can understand that if you’re coeliac, you’re intolerant to wheat and even one lick of it can be enough to send you running to the toilet, doubled over in pain, so they’re sympathetic to accommodating for it.   Just so, if you’ve found you do better on a low intake of carbs and you’ve suffered from the tendency to lose yourself in carb ‘heaven’ and wake up 3 months later 10kg’s heavier simply because you thought that one mouthful of tiramisu 3 months ago wouldn’t hurt you!, then I’d suggest letting your family or hosts or guests know that you’re ‘carb intolerant just like coeliacs are wheat intolerant’ and even one mouthful can be disastrous for you.  I confess to be speaking from experience here:(.

Bring something that will work for you to the dinner table if you need to, just like people with coeliac disease do.  Or, if you’re aware of a tendency for one dessert to send you into a long tail spin then plan to take preventive manoeuvres to nip that tail spin in the bud.  It may be an overnight or three day fast on water or it may simply be eating clean foods that work for you as soon as you can.  Plan’s like that will help you relax at the dinner table and enjoy the precious moment.

Please do put a penny in the old man’s hat…

In a word Christmas is about generosity.  From the original idea of God being generous with his ‘only begotten Son’ to giving Christmas presents to your family and friends the key is to be generous with your spirit.    That’s done by paying attention to what you can give and giving it wholeheartedly.

… if you haven’t got a penny then a ha’penny will do.

ha'pennyIf you don’t know what a ha’penny is or aren’t old enough to remember them, like I am:), it’s a half a penny.   Think of half a cent if you’ve always been in decimals.

No matter how much we have it seems to be a very human condition to always want more.  Nothing wrong with that.  I believe that’s how life extends and evolves.  One of the keys to having more is to appreciate what we have to give.  It may not be what you want to give.  You may wish you could give more and one day, hopefully you will.  But for today, for this Christmas be truly happy with what you can give.

If you haven’t got a ha’penny then God Bless YOU.

Indeed God, Life, Source, Whatever you want to call it, abundantly blesses us all the time.  Unfortunately it’s easy to forget that when you are immersed in the world with it’s myriad of challenges and distractions.   Whether we like it or not, it’s up to us to see those blessings and keep it in our awareness.  If I’ve forgotten it, one of the best ways I know, to bring that awareness back, is to ask better questions of mySelf.  They don’t cost anything, except for a willingness to give up your misery and illusions, so even if you haven’t got a ha’penny you’re good to go.

Questions can connect us to the wellspring of wisdom within and remind us that we are a wonderful part of a much greater whole.   I believe that when we stop asking questions, life has a tendency to lose it’s ever-present Christmas spirit.

Quality, as always, is better than quantity.  The quality of our inner questions determine the quality of our answers and so the quality of our moments.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who has asked too many poor quality questions for way too long.  We all know where self pity fest questions like these lead us:

Why does this always happen to me?  Why to I always do that?

The Grinch was probably pretty good at asking himself questions like that:)

To remember how blessed you are this Christmas, give yourself the gift of a moment and start asking a different quality of question.  Like:

How can I take these circumstances and make the most of them?   Plus make this moment better for me and those around me?

How can I help them understand in a way they can easily receive?  (if you’re needing to take care of your food intake this Christmas)

What can I do to connect with my spirit?

What would be a fun way for me to be more generous with my spirit this Christmas?

The way I see it, better quality questions help us ‘unwrap’ the ‘present’ that Life is giving us right now.  That way you can truly appreciate the ‘gift’ that your life is, instead of seeing it as too little or the wrong shape or colour.  You can use this analogy any time to unwrap the present that life is delivering to you and understand the gift better so every day can indeed be Christmas.   And since Christmas is coming:), be especially aware of the blessings heaped upon you this Christmas and it will indeed be a Merry One:)

Merry Christmas Everyone:)

Enjoy the old nursery rhyme and the gifts it can bring you this Christmas:)

Christmas is coming. 

The geese are getting fat.

Please do put a penny in the old man’s hat.

If you haven’t got a penny, then a ha’penny will do.

If you haven’t got a ha’penny then God Bless YOU.

 

What thoughts would you like to share about Christmas?  I’d love to hear them.  Feel welcome to comment below…

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