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Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

santa

I’ve been thinking about Santa lately. That’s not really all that unusual given the time of year and all. But as I have not accepted Santa as my personal gift-giver, thinking of him at all is moderately novel. I’ve always had deep affection for him in all his fictional forms. Edmund Gwenn (as Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street), Mickey Rooney’s voice (in two classic animated tales) even the Norelco (shaver) cartoon Santa have swept me off my feet. But the real Santa? I hadn’t given him much thought.

This all started with the (not nearly as distressing as it might first seem) thought of sitting on his lap as an adult. I wondered what would I, as a grown woman capable of filling my own stocking, ask from the bearded stranger. This led me to thinking of his raison d’etre. Santa, it would seem, exists as a repository of dreams. Children visit the jolly fellow and (if they’re not crying uncontrollably or rendered speechless by his Oz-like presence) tell him what the really want. This dynamic works well as children will rarely filter with Santa. They will not tell Santa what they think he wants to hear, but instead what they in fact want. Many is the Santa (post 1970) who has heard “I want my mommy & daddy to get undivorced.” Children know what they want and rarely have shame in asking for it.

How does this scenario play out for an adult who has been (somewhat) socialized and mostly expresses herself with a (somewhat flawed) filter? What it seems to entail is doing a little hard work and digging deep to uncover what one really wants. Santa (to my understanding) cannot cure disease or enforce cease fires. Santa seems to deal on an individual basis, addressing only the personal. So then what, if given the chance, would I ask Santa to bring on Christmas morning? An idea sprang to mind, and then one more, and before you know it I had a score. They all seemed to be of a similar ilk and to the untrained eye would appear to be New Year”s resolutions.

And that’s when it dawned on me for the first time ever; New Year is Christmas for grown-ups! The eve of the New Year is spent in sparkly clothes sipping sparkling wine, waiting for something to happen. Instead of listening for hoof sounds on the roof, or jingling of sleigh bells, our ears are primed for noisemakers and countdowns. When the moment arrives we whoop and holler and when it’s all over there’s a big mess to clean. And the next day is when we receive the gift of fresh starts and begin to play with the resolutions we’ve made.

There is still plenty of time to write your letter to Santa. When you’re standing in line (at the bank, the post office, the store, the wrapping desk) let your mind wander. Ask yourself; ‘what do I want?’ Let your imagination run wild. There is no wrong answer. “I want to be more patient with my teenager” is just as valid (and perhaps as daunting) as “I want to become a doctor.” Discovering what you really truly want is not complicated but it isn’t easy either. You might just need to jump start the process with a little visit to Santa. Sure you might feel a little self-conscious, but trust me, Santa’s seen it all. You needn’t sit on his lap, maybe just a “hello” and a hearty handshake will do the trick. The thing is, once you’ve stage whispered, “I’m working on my list” to Santa, you’re going to finish the list. Santa never loses his power to motivate. This is a man who knows when you’ve been bad or good.

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Posted by on December 7, 2012 in Holiday, Well-Being

 

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Coloring Your World

Those of us in possession of (most of) our faculties are faced with hundreds of choices large and small. Before even heading out the door we’ve chosen to bathe (or not) what to wear, whether and/or what to eat, to have coffee at home or stand on line for the privilege, to pack a lunch or stand on line for the privilege, and simply to leave home at all. Most choices are so minute and routine as to barely register as the product of free will. Our will (and what we do with it) often becomes more noticeable in the great big world.

The guy who cuts you off or the woman tugging a bit too forcefully on her child? Our wheels turn. What (if anything) do we do or say? If we vow to make our own little world the world in which we want to live we probably smile at the driver and interact with the woman (“How’s it going?”  delivered with a huge and inviting smile, might break the tugging spell.) Our day is filled with choices and options regarding behavior and response.

But what of the larger choices? What of the choices so large they may appear invisible to the naked eye? The; ‘perhaps I should sell everything and move to a yurt’, or, ‘something is not right here perhaps I need to pay attention’ types of choices lurk below the surface. If we are lucky and are lives consist of more than survival we are confronted with enormous choices throughout our (healthy) adult life. It is daunting and a gift. Often the very thought of making a choice is paralyzing and we choose to stay still. It wasn’t always like that. As a 4-year old we had no problem choosing chunky over smooth, or the red crayon over the blue. But the stakes seem higher as we grow and we often (mistakenly) think we have an audience. (We don’t: ‘They’ are far too busy watching the “Them Show’ to be paying attention to our lives.)

We have this sense that each move we make need be towards a great big goal/accomplishment. Onward and upward! When faced with a career decision we can agonize over an increase in status to the detriment of creative growth. We tend to stay in relationships (romantic and otherwise) that make us less happy than happy because of having put in so much time and not wanting to fail. In other words, we often make (or don’t make) choices based on the past not the present. If we believe that our job, as humans, is to continuously grow and learn, the past is only useful for data collection. The data must then be processed and analyzed anew while examining where we are right now. (Think of it as the flight attendant announcement that; “The closest exit may be behind you”)

It is a daunting gift this free will of ours. There are no choices that will ever resonate with us unless we have a sense of who we are. There are no shortcuts, remedies, mantras or gurus that will get us to a point of self-knowledge. There is only honesty and thoughtfulness. It might not feel entirely comfortable, but it is this strong base that’s needed for freedom of movement. If the very notion of looking for one’s heart’s desire seems ridiculously daunting, remember we are born with this skill. From birth we are a squirming bundle of preferences. Before our head loses that wonderful smell we know we prefer our fist in our mouth rather than our blankie, we know which breast we prefer and what our favorite sounds are. We have no distractions, no sense of what we ‘should’ be doing; we’ve yet to develop an inner critic. If we can combine that sense of freedom with the vast data we’ve collected we can make choices that work for us at any given time.

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Well-Being

 

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