The December meeting of our monthly Happiness Group is traditionally a time to take stock of where we are now, to celebrate the past year and look forward to the coming one, and a chance to raise a glass (or two!) of mulled wine with old friends and new. This year we used some of the daily inspirations from Robert Holden’s Happiness Project to reflect on our own hopes and wishes for the festive season, so I’ll share some with you here.
‘Christmas is a time for love and goodwill – and in this respect it is like every other day in the year.’ What a good reminder that we don’t have to keep our ‘best’ side for special occasions – imagine how life would be if the spirit of generosity and benevolence to our fellow human beings lasted for the whole year!
‘Be content with what you have; rejoice the way things are. When you realise there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.’ – Lao Tsu. Wise words, whether the current times invite consumerism or austerity – we already have so many gifts that money can’t buy. The best Christmas presents that I will get this year are time with my family and friends to connect, relax together, play silly games and share some fun and laughter – what are yours?
‘Today is a good day for forgiveness. Mind you, forgiveness is not for everyone. It is only for those who would like to experience peace, love, joy, bliss, healing, freedom, total salvation and things like that.’ Hmm, sounds appealing – so why are we so resistant? Do we seriously want to hang on old grudges and grievances for yet another year? Or even another day? It might be time to ask ourselves if it’s really worth it. Christmas is symbolically a time of amnesty, so why not use it to build bridges or start with a clean slate – go on, give yourself a present.
‘Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.’ – Native American Prayer. What a comforting thought – as well as being grateful for the gifts of the past year we can look forward to more to come – whether longed-for or unexpected. Even if they’re mixed blessings we can learn from them, so let’s remember to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
With that in mind, I’ll share one last idea that I spotted on a friend’s Facebook page – what a great tip to help us give thanks for all the blessings to come in 2013. There’s something special about putting things down in writing that really anchors happy memories, and ensures that they don’t slip by unnoticed. I’m going to give it a go – why don’t you join me?
I hope you all have a happy holiday season filled with joy, love and peace – and may all your Christmas wishes come true!
Poem of the Week
Grace at Christmas
Not only for the way the whisky
flames in the glass and thaws the blood;
not only for the rattle of hailstones
down the chimney and doused by fire;
not just for the way the brand-new ring,
slipped cool on a finger, flushes with life;
or the warmth of the bed, and the warmth of another,
when streetlamps are spinning snow outside.
But also for the good, true cold,
shocking us back to all our senses:
the broken-off star of ice in the hand,
the sting of the wind and the quickening heart.
For the splintering light, and the frost in our voices,
striking, and making the strung air ring;
December cold with its wilder gifts –
for when are we more alive than now?