Christmas is just around the corner and it’s that time when we start thinking about what gifts we will give others and perhaps what we will receive from others. Sometimes when we are given a gift, we may not be sure we like it. The same gift can be different things to different people or you may treat the same gift in different ways. For instance, if you were given a set of candlestick holders you may use them to bring joy to others like setting the mood for romantic dinners. . .
…or you may store them and not use it much at all…
….you may display them…
….or you may use them meditatively…………
You may donate them…
or even throw it away.
Life is like that. It is a gift from God but how we use it depends on us. It starts with our attitude. We must honour the Gift-giver by seeing life as a GIFT. If we work hard but don’t leave time for love, relationships or creativity then life will become a drudgery at best. If we put off living life to the fullest then we might as well be storing our life away in a closet. If we live trying to please others or impress others then it is as if it is only on display and our lives our empty of any real joy. If we allow ourselves to fall into addiction of any kind, then it is as if we are throwing life away.
If we have an attitude of joy and fun, then we will have joyful lives full of infectious fun that we spread to others. If we live life meditatively, making our spiritual growth a priority, then tranquillity will reside in our spirits. If we donate our lives to helping others then we will become loving, joyful givers.
How do we do it?
Changing our attitudes is not always easy. It’s a process. There are no cookie cutter solutions either because we are all unique individuals. Sometimes it only takes the smallest minute change to relieve a bit of suffering and to help us feel more positive. The important thing to do is to try something. Begin with a decision to make a small change in your life. Play it safe so that you know that the worse that can happen is that nothing life-changing happens. Make it a change that celebrates life or brings moments of tranquillity.
Some small changes you can make to help you begin to feel a bit more positive might be:
- Change out of your work clothes when you come home from work (I call this the Mr. Rogers routine)
- Dance to music that feels happy
- Plan to give someone you know a gift just because. It can be a gift of service (such as a lift) or a flower or a compliment or an encouraging word.
- Begin praying for others
- Treat yourself to something very special that doesn’t cost a lot. Something high quality that won’t hurt you financially. It could be a bouquet of flowers or a scented candle or a magazine. Perhaps an item from the supermarket that you normally wouldn’t buy such as semi-gourmet chocolates or some really good soup (from the fridge section, not can) or exotic fruit.
- Read a feel-good novel
- Spend time in nature and/or bring nature in
- Give affection to your pet or someone else’s
- Do something creative
- Make a list of things that you are grateful for or a list of things that made you happy or righted themselves out today. Build that to a daily list.
Remember these are just tips to adjust attitude not change your life per se but a positive change in attitude is a start. The above are only suggestions. I encourage you to come up with your own ideas if these don’t work for you.
I know that at times life can feel so unbearable. We all go through some bad times. Some of you may be going through a horrible time and if you are then I genuinely feel for you. You may have a harder time than most because the light you seek may be at the end of a longer tunnel then most people. If you think that’s you then I want you to know that where you are now is not permanent. Can you accept that as a solid truth in your life right now?
Suffering always passes.
Always. Yet we sometimes allow suffering to go on longer than necessary. In my experience, the best decision I ever made was to begin spending time with God and to meditate. I have found that meditation brings so much clarity to mind and frees me from a lot of anxiety. It has also helped me to love others in a bigger and more profound way which has brought a fuller joy into my heart. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time. In fact, if you are just about to start, then I advise to start with only 5-10 minutes. Don’t be attached to the outcome yet either as it takes time to learn to quiet your mind.
Begin making a change today. Start small but be willing to be bold. Seek help if necessary. Don’t give up and please don’t stop. Keep going. Keep growing. Keep expanding. Small changes can grow into bigger ones making life fuller, richer.