Christmas can’t get here soon enough. I don’t know about you, but I’ve just about had it with much of what has come to border on foolishness (see Exhibit A).
All week I’ve been angry with retailers who, soooo blinded by profit, have been feverishly trying to convince me that ‘Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Men ‘ is inextricably linked to their big-box locations being open round the clock through Christmas Eve. On behalf of Tiny Tim, the Misfit Toys and Christmas Present, I feel for their employees.
Me? My wish list is easy. All I want for Christmas is some down-time, a good book and my partner’s home-made cinnamon rolls. Don’t get me wrong. I am a capitalist. I believe something well done should be able to turn a profit. We all need to make our nickels and pay our rents.
But if I hear one more radio commercial telling me I NEED a new Juan Valdez-esque coffee maker capable of making java AND espresso while simultaneously making rain forest sounds as it opens my garage door, I’m going viral for a petition to hang all naughty CEO’s from their stockholders chimney’s with care (or not).
And then there’s TV’s part in all of this. Without a stopwatch, it seems like 6-minutes of show pass only to herald 4-minutes of ‘…but wait there’s more‘ commercials. And by the time you get to the last 15-minutes of the program? It only gets worse when the ratio seems to diabolically invert to 4-minutes of show and 6-minutes of commercial (a.k.a. the Oprah Effect). And why is it that? And what is the advertisers motive?
As jaded as I can be, I’m in awe of the bold-faced visuals retailers trot across our screens in their effort to try and get us to want something from a time that never really existed? Maybe me being born and raised in the Midwest has something to do with it, but TV commercials filled with images of half-clad models dancing across the foyer of their Tudor mansion doesn’t even remotely relate to what I’m doing this time of year.
In this past week, several people each made an effort to let me know they were troubled at seeing me wound pretty tight. It reminded me of something I already knew, but had seemingly forgotten. As in years past, why not use this time of the year to conduct some self-administered performance reviews of my hits-and-misses over the past year?
For me, if it takes more than 5-minutes, I’m thinking too hard. Down deep I already know what they are as I repeat after me, “Keep it Simple…Keep it Simple”. And once I’m done jotting done some bullet points from my ‘year in review’, I toss it in a desk drawer. Sometime next Summer, I will likely pull it out and take stock of my direction, but then, it’s done.
From childhood on, I drove myself to succeed; to never stop working. While I thought it was good for my career, no one ever thought me important enough to help me to see the importance of pacing myself. I simply didn’t know how to relax and be comfortable in the process. I’d actually feel guilty watching snow fall…as if somehow it was up to me to shovel every walk by morning.
But that was then. This is now. Now when it gets cold, I think of home-made cinnamon rolls! No guilt, no diet program and no snow shovels!
With the ‘past’ now relegated to a rear-view position, I have every intention of enjoying some quality down-time away from work between holidays. It’s the one time of the year where I work really hard on learning to do nothing except read a book (for fun) and bump around the house for four or five days eating (you guessed it) home-made cinnamon rolls. And why not? With 850+ channels coming through my cable box, it’s not like there’s anything on TV that even comes close to a really good book. In fact, I think the intimate change-of-pace that comes with reading for fun sparks my imagination in ways TV rarely does. Think about it. Can we stand the rushing mighty wind of any more vapid Housewives of XYZ? I think not.
If you’ve ever tried to light a fire with flint and a steel, you know you want to be out of the wind if you’re going to be successful. And yes, it is true; books don’t make all the noise that comes with TV, but they do generate their own silent mental form of friction. Reading for no purpose other than enjoyment allows me the quiet spark my imagination needs while I subconsciously reflect on the current here-and-now nature of my Soul.
When I’m reading something enjoyable, I’m not worrying about either the Past or the Future.
Though I forgot this week, Life has taught me a valuable lesson. Namely, if I tend to the details of the ‘here and now’ while remaining grateful for what I’ve learned over the past year, the Future pretty much takes care of itself.
If any of you have read Dr. Wayne Dyer or seen one of his specials on PBS, you’ve heard about “Tao”. Put simply, the crux of the 2500 year old philosophy is: There is one undivided truth at the root of all things [i.e. ‘Source’].
So in one flowing master stroke, I have moved to merge holiday rituals with ancient Chinese philosophy, Judean Birth Announcements from Angels We Heard Were High and some home-made cinnamon rolls, just out of the oven.
Silencing the noise in my life has become an important part of my holidays. It enables me to seek out the Quiet I want living in my Soul all year long. If Christmases Past are any indicator, the elven irony in my search has been finding Quiet in the middle of something else, while all the while, doing nothing.
So this week, I close with some of my favorite images of things silent, each waiting to be found in the space within. Pick one (if you like) and use it to remind yourself of the importance of Silence.
Whether it’s Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwansaa – or something in-between – have a wonderful Holiday. Take a walk. Read a book. Have some home-made cinnamon rolls. You might just find a new role for Quiet as you chew. Delicious!
My gift to you: Your very own PDF of Tao-te-ching:
Your gift to yourself might be: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/change-your-thoughts-change-your-life-wayne-w-dyer/1100318321?ean=9781401917500&format=paperback
Photo Credits and Illustration/Attributions:
Black Friday @ Wal-Mart: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2011/11/26/shoppers-gone-wild-walmart-customers-give-black-friday-a-black-eye/; Frost Photo: By Katie Kendrick http://joyouslybecoming.typepad.com/joyouslybecoming/2010/01/its-a-new-year.html; BookBook Shelf: http://www.designbuzz.com/entry/book-bookshelf-stick-books-for-a-shelf/; Framed Tao Quote by dan4kent; Baby’s First Christmas: Photo by funkeemonkeeland @ http://www.the-essential-infant-resource-for-moms.com/Baby-First-Christmas.html; Michigan Icebergs: Courtesy of Terry B.; Winter Quiet Painting: By Eyvind Earle http://www.doubletakeart.com/cgi-bin/dtg/dtg.sla?ai=00167*4335&o=d&cc=dtg; Blue Winter Chair: http://www.trendleellwood.com/2011/02/winter-roots.html; Bjorklunden Chapel Photo: http://suzannerose.com/workshops/workshops.html; Silent Scuba Swirl: http://www.squidoo.com/Scuba-Diver-Ornaments
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