Feeling festive?

Here we are yet again. The festive season is upon us. For many it’s a time of excitement and joy. For some it’s a time of stress and anxiety. For most it’s a time of busy schedules and high expectations.

Each year I’d start out with visions of a Norman Rockwell/Martha Stewart event where the entire family gathered around a perfect tree surrounded by just the right gift for each one. The vision would expand to include a perfectly cooked turkey which appeared as if by magic to a perfect Christmas table. Of course these lofty expectations never materialized exactly as imagined, for a variety of reasons.

But then, expectations rarely do perform according to our script and therein lies the folly of expectations. We’ll come back to that later.

It seems that more than at any other time of the year, Christmas offers us the opportunity to see our thinking in action. This is simply because the “volume” can often get turned up on our lives if we let it. This acceleration comes at a time when all of nature is hunkering down, getting quiet. We, on the other hand, appear to be going berserk, spending more, eating more, drinking more than at any other time of the year. All of this madness is also counter to what many of us value in terms of our health and lifestyle, not to mention the growing mistrust of ballooning commercialism disguised as “Christmas giving.”

Over the past several years I’ve watched my own enthusiasm about Christmas wane and my mood change as the actual day approached. Even though I knew (or thought I knew) the inside-out nature of life and that I was creating my own experience of disappointment and even sadness, I was still somehow able to justify it. I even began to expect it. How’s that for nutty thinking? What chance does a good feeling have when we actually expect to be disappointed and sad?

I came across a quote recently that somehow clarified yet another piece of the puzzle; as Keith Blevins states “We’re always feeling our thinking.”

I knew that every thought had a feeling laminated to it and that our feelings were our guide to our state of mind but suddenly I actually saw and experienced myself “feeling my thinking.” How could I possibly expect a different experience while the same old tape was playing. And so here we are with the festive season upon us and this time I get to choose my experience and so do you. I don’t need to get upset with the crazy buying frenzy; I can just choose not to be part of it. I don’t need to have everyone together around the table; I can just love them from afar and cherish the times we are together. I don’t need to eat or drink everything that’s offered to me. I can just decide in the moment if that’s what I want.

So what I want for Christmas this year, for myself and for all of you, is a good feeling. As Sydney Banks says, “It’s only a thought away.”

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