“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty;
not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
- Charles Dickens
This time of year it is so easy to get lost in the mindset of “needing more”, we go shopping, and even though our closet may be bursting with clothes, we still feel we need more. We think this particular dress is prettier, greener, better designed, or it may even be that we don’t have that shade of red or a dress in that style. I know around this time many people donate to charities and that is wonderful, yet many of us have more than we need to live a comfortable life. We may not have the newest fashions, or cars or the finest silks or materials. Yet, if we look honestly, we re not lacking. We have options, we have warm clothes, our bellies are full, we have a warm and safe home. Our basic needs are met. We have family and friends to socialize with, entertainment easily accessible, and maybe even a little extra for those extra special expenses. Yet, we go to the stores and every commercial and advertisement, even the songs, tell us it’s not enough, we need more, we need to buy more, eat more, give more.
This time of year, seasonally, as primates, we would slow down, the earth hibernates, and naturally we want to too. Our bodies want to slow down, sleep more, eat more hearty foods, but less of it. The sun sets early, it’s cold, we want to be safe at home, by the fire, with our family and some soup. Yet, the holiday season makes us busier, and since this goes against our better instincts, we in turn then feel stressed out and stretched thin.
I am struggling with this myself this year. By body wants to shut down, go to sleep earlier, rest more, yet my mind feels obligated to stay busy, cook, decorate, shop, buy gifts, socialize… It is an inner struggle, and at the moment it’s anyone’s game, both sides are fighting very hard this year.
So, when I am feeling that I am lacking somehow and need more, to do more, buy more…be more. I try to step back and look at what I am grateful for.
“Taking stock of what I have and what I haven’t, What do I find?… I’ve got the sun in the morning, and the moon at night!”
- Irving Berlin
I have a job I love, dancing and singing every day. Teaching children, such a joyous occupation to watch them grow and blossom. I have a loving husband and daughter, family who care for me, sisters who are always there, even from miles away. I have friends, purpose, love and laughter. I sleep in a warm house, listen to wonderful music. I am able to provide myself and my family with healthful delicious meals that nourish our bodies and minds. So, I may not have that fancy new dress, or the newest i-book, or broadway tickets to the hottest new show. However, I have what I need and more.
To those I am giving gifts to this year, I may not be able to give you the fancies sweater or newest gadget on the market. But I promise my full attention when we are spending time together. The best gift I can give someone else is myself, as I am, nothing more, nothing less. Do you really need another pair of gloves, or more cookies anyway?
When I stop to look at what I have, I have a great deal, and I am thankful. Yesterday it snowed, and my daughter laughed and stopped in the middle of the sidewalk to admire the snow. She was trying to catch some flakes on her tongue, and she is happy. I am happy. Developing an attitude of gratitude, I get to see that not only is the glass half-full, it is overflowing, truly.