For just a moment, close your eyes. Imagine these global-reaching gifts for the holidays…
- Awareness of individual ancestry and culture
- Respect for nature
- A place to call home
- Access to clean water
- No person or animal left unfed
- Simple lifestyles and expectations
- Enough sustainable income
- Coexistence of differences and inclusiveness
- Love and harmony exchanged
- A united, inclusive governing body
Now you open your eyes, and everywhere you turn, you are immersed in the negative column of duality. None of your reverie seems real, even possible, let alone attainable. You may feel angry, hollow, cynical, or in denial. Perhaps your attitude toward people and the world has changed.
Yet, attitude is one characteristic over which you have control—a present to yourself. Consider this quote from Viktor Frankl, Austrian Holocaust survivor, neurologist, psychiatrist, and author:
“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”
Having visited the Dachau Concentration Camp near Munich, Germany, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., I remember the haunting feeling of distinct limits on human life, of profound struggle, and of hopelessness. Being a deep feeler, it was difficult for me to shake the sight of young children’s worn shoes and clothing, the scratchy feeling of a lone, crinkled and discolored photograph of a loved one that I imagined placed next to skin, and the dark, heavy energy of the palpable emotions that reached to me through the displays. It took me several days of “sitting with” my psyche before I could balance my heart and thoughts. I have never forgotten, although I do not dwell on those scenes. Changing my attitude to embrace the good, the bad, and the ugly lets me be in the world, but not controlled by it. Ways of thinking and behaving are up to me.
In some ways, today’s circumstances seem to engage the senses similarly. The pandemic, racial frenzy, denigration of nature, a broken economy, and egocentric and dictatorial government leadership ebb and flow during this time of unusual holiday celebrations. Although not always easy amid the surroundings, choose your attitudes.
Practicing a different perspective is another characteristic of choice. Since you don’t know what the next six months hold, better to be prepared, observe, and resonate with an offering of voice.
- Are you short of toilet paper? You might try using crepe paper. It conveniently displays well on the roller, and the party stores are fully stocked. ~Terry Terrones, journalist for “The Gazette,” Colorado Springs, CO, April 22, 2020
- One reason that cats are happier than people is that they have no newspapers. ~Gwendolyn Brooks, In the Mecca, poetry, 1968
- “…Being a good person and being the coolest can come in the same package….” ~Norma Johnson, writer and performer: A poem for my white friends, “I Didn’t Tell You,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UVIgjuovt8, December 29, 2013
Believing in the impossible—a cousin to developing resiliency—is a third characteristic that you can control. Irradicating world hunger may seem like an impossible reach, yet, in 2019, donations to Action Against Hunger, a global humanitarian organization, gave 17 million people in 46 countries access to clean water, food, education, and healthcare. This is wonderful, astonishing progress. Each year, we give our adult children and grandchildren a holiday gift of experience (along with requested books or movie tickets). This year we will be supporting Action Against Hunger with a gift in each family’s name. https://www.actionagainsthunger.org/
Since the holidays have traditionally held magic for those who believe in the impossible, reading is another pleasure that warms the hearts of both reader and listener. My five-year-old grandson and I use FaceTime to read books from Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Treehouse series. #8 Midnight on the Moon tookthe protagonists, eight-year-old Jack and his seven-year-old sister, Annie, on an improbable moon adventure. The kids were challenged by Merlin’s spell that turned Morgan le Fay, their librarian friend, into a mouse.
Despite trials and encounters, they persisted with the assistance of a fact book and Annie’s intuition. My grandson loved repeating the “M” word clues and joining in their emotions. Annie believed in the impossible: forget the flashlight, the moon can light the way; a moon base functions as a space hotel; and it is perfectly safe to talk to and get help from a moon man whom she believed was really an alien from another galaxy. Also, Annie could feel things in her body as positive or negative. She trusted these feelings, allowing them to guide her. At one point, Morgan le Fay thanked Jack for his love of knowledge and Annie for her belief in the impossible. The 28+ book series continues to hold the hearts of children (and adults!) as NY Times best sellers.
Sometimes the impossible is all you have to go on. No supporting facts. But if the impossible is your only option, why not trust it? I once stopped at a vendor booth that was selling hand lotion. I removed my engagement ring at the time and applied the lotion. I got caught up in the feel, the smell, and the purchase of it—and went on my way. I probably spent a half hour or so looking at other vendor booths. I returned to my car and all of a sudden, I noticed my ring was missing! I frantically checked my pockets and parcels. My heart and stomach were screaming, now what? Racing back to the booth, I kept believing, It has to be there. It has to be there. Breathlessly, I inquired. The smiling vendor had discovered the ring and put it in her apron pocket. I knew someone would be back for it, she said. Crying tears of joy and relief, I thanked and hugged her.
Believing in something that seems impossible starts with turning to your inner light—your consciousness—that works with your body and reflects your thoughts and experiences. You feel instant clarity and resilience, sometimes adrenaline, sometimes calm. This simple act of opening to your inner light joyfully leads to possibilities that bypass the chaos of your environment. This light of a higher level of thinking and feeling, in itself, is a beautiful, powerful experience. Sometimes an individual’s light may be dusty or hidden, yet it never goes away. Regardless of your circumstances, engage the gift of your inner light.
From a higher vantage: This season offers ways to support, love, and imagine. Envision changing just one of your attitudes, perspectives, or beliefs, allowing a brilliant inner light to shine. Maybe it’s time. Maybe not all at once. Maybe incrementally. Light up the dark!