Winter Needs Christmas

Winter needs Christmas

Christmas brightens winter

Many people are not religious, but they still love Christmas.

Christmas has become more secular, and more spiritual.

In those parts of the world where winter is cold, Christmas warms our bodies and souls from the inside out.

Christmas is a time of expansion – we eat too much, spend too much, drink too much, but our hearts expand in the process.  When we extend ourselves for others, we feel better, and associate Christmas with abundance and love.

A Happy Celebration

A Happy Celebration

The neighbours’ Christmas lights stay on all day and night, leaving an added glow, brightening the outside, when the days are short and the temperatures are cold.  When the letter carrier delivers the mail, it`s only a Christmas card, yay no bills!

My sister hosted a family Christmas gathering at her house, a wonderful opportunity for family bonding. No need to fly to a sunny location for Christmas; almost everyone wants to be home for Christmas, spending time with loved ones.

At Christmas, we give what we can.  It’s a time of goodwill and peace. We call a truce to arguments and wars, we see people we only see at Christmas, reminisce about Christmases past, and get updates on their lives today.

Christmas trees and decorations transform the inside of the house with colored lights twinkling like stars, with an angel on top.  We relax by the fire with hot cocoa, grateful for all the riches around us.

Christmas breeds joy in our hearts, of giving and receiving, rewarding service,  holidaying from work and stress, making wish lists, filling stockings with names on them, shopping in bustling toy stores, going to parties, making gingerbread houses, and smelling pine cones.

goodwill to all

goodwill to all

People I meet are wishing me a Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays, and to me it means have a happy celebration, good fortune, good food, and love.  I am not offended if they wish me a Happy Hanukkah, or Happy Kwanzaa, although I am not Jewish or African-Canadian, because I know they are wishing me the best celebration they can imagine.  Christmas is a family time that warms the heart and shortens winter.

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/darwinbell/2094406126/”>Darwin Bell / photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/cameliatwu/6541663721/”>CameliaTWU

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/29233640@N07/8303780929/”>** RCB **

Optimizing Yourself – Week 50 – Dec 2 – 8, 2013 – Think About What I Can Give This Holiday Season

Think about giving

Giving is Like a Gift to Yourself

During the holiday season, I am happy, and thinking about what I have to do and prepare,  but many people aren’t so happy.  This week, I am going to think about what I can give those people who are in need of some help at this time.  For this week’s exercise,  instead of focusing on what I have to do, I am going to think about what I can give, and give unselfishly to help someone else.

I want to give what I can to help others emotionally or financially, with a gift of my time or resources.

Whether I donate food or money to the food bank, or warm clothes to the homeless, or simply encourage someone who is discouraged, I am going to think about giving this week.  This is like a gift to myself because giving to someone else feels good, and has it’s own reward.

I will let you know how it goes next week.

Finding, Enjoying and Sharing Your Purpose

Pursue your dreams

Pursue your Dreams

                                            There are two great days in a person’s life –

                                     the day we are born, and the day we discover why.

                                      William Barkley

 

We are born with a purpose in life, and part of our journey is to find out what it is. We find it by looking inside, and listening to the voice that tells us why we are here, and we will no longer need to search for it – it will find us.

 

It will find us when:

We are doing what we enjoy,

And doing what we are good at,

And what empowers us,

Uplifts us,

inspires us,

and makes us feel alive.

Some people don’t pursue what they were born to do – life happens to them; and they get discouraged by it and put their dreams aside, or they put other’s expectations of them first, or seek fulfillment with distractions – overeating, or working too much, but these activities aren’t meaningful so they don’t find lasting fulfillment.

Much has been written about finding your purpose:

Tony Robbins says:  “you have to decide what’s important to you, and put that first, and create a vision for yourself.  He says being too busy means ‘managing your pain’, but the real way out of pain is giving.  That is when your life matters to more than yourself.  He says the best time to give is when you have nothing.  It’s like planting a seed when you have very little left, and something starts to grow.”

“What will put life in perspective is to constantly do something as a ritual, to serve somebody in worse shape than you are; there is no greater way to put perspective in your life. I call it ‘I have no problems day’.   It’s about doing something for someone who is worse off than you.” – TR

The Dalai Lama says:  “the purpose of life is to be happy” and that caring for others has the added benefit of increasing our own wellbeing and bringing us inner peace.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “The crowning fortune of a man (or woman*) is to be born to some pursuit which finds him employment and happiness, whether it be to make baskets, or broadswords, or canals, or statues, or songs.”

Joseph Campbell called it “finding your bliss”.  To fulfill your purpose in life requires persistence on your part.  When you face setbacks, you must have faith in yourself, and not listen to other people tell you that you  cannot do something when you know you can.  Only you know what your purpose is, it comes from inside you, so you are the expert on this one.

Some people recognize their purpose early in life, and a beautiful flame is lit inside them, which fuels their inner peace and purpose.  Their talent continues to develop and expands from helping themselves to helping others.

You are here for a reason

You are here for a reason

When I was young, I dreamed of being a writer and someone told me writing was for middle aged men with a lot of life experience.  I”m glad I didn’t listen to him or I wouldn’t have had articles published, or ran a resume writing business, or worked for a newspaper writing ads and articles, or taught essay writing, or written this blog, which I enjoy.

Following your dreams takes persistence.  Circumstances and people don’t always support you, and every artist creating their path has faced setbacks.  The Beatles pursued their purpose with persistence, despite every record company that they approached at first turning them down.  Once they signed a recording contract, they went on to become one of the best bands of all time.  Likewise, JK Rowling was initially rejected by all the publishing houses she took her Harry Potter books to.  But once a publisher signed her on, those books became one of the best- selling series of books of all time.  Both The Beatles and Joanne Rowling had faith in their ability and persistently pursued their goals.

The moment you decide to take the first step towards your dreams, then take a step to start creating your unique path, you are on your way.  Doors open for you, your fears recede, and your doubts evaporate.   You no longer feel that you don’t have enough talent or time to pursue your dreams, because time will disappear when you are having fun.

We think we are physical beings, and look outside ourselves to find our purpose, but we are actually spiritual beings who can look inside ourselves to find what is right for us, as unique individuals.

Eckhart Tolle says: “awakening to your life’s purpose involves serving yourself and others in some way.  When you use your special talents and gifts to contribute to the world, the power will come through you like a light, that only you know is shining through you, and you will feel great presence with what you are doing and will really enjoy it.”

Eckhart says: “it is not based on desire, or the ego, but it is based on enjoyment” and you are totally present when doing it.

 

*woman added for the purposes of this blog

photo credits: both flickr <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoquotes/9689105659/”>symphony of love</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>