Every year is special and unique and different than the ones that have passed and the ones to come. A little bit of nostalgia is lovely. A little bit of dreaming is wonderful. A bit too much of these and we may have slipped into comparison world.
Comparison can be a place where we can easily be pulled away from Gratitude. Remember that gratitude is our focus for the month. We can too easily begin to focus on what’s missing and what’s wrong. Worse, we can sometimes begin to focus on what other people have and what we don’t have. In addition to pulling us from Gratitude, it pulls us away from Love and Hope and Faith.
There are lots of studies right now about how much social media impacts our way of looking at ourselves. What we have. What we don’t have. Who we are. Who we aren’t. It’s very, very easy for us to being to compare ourselves to others when we overdose on social media (and we’re likely to be spending more and more time on social media these days). So and so is doing this, why am I not doing that? So and so has this great picture, I should post a great picture? So and so went there, I should go there.
Social media can pull us out of our reality. And let’s face it, there are no real lives on social media. Some faces are “public figure” faces. Others are posting their “without thinking first” faces. Another is “specifically focused” faces. Regardless, social media is only a snippet into other people’s lives. Remember this, social media is reflecting a reality that we wish to share: good, bad, indifferent. Thoughtful. Thoughtless. It is not reality.
Maybe, a good idea is to take some time and put down the technology. Get away from social media. Take time to just Be. Go for a walk. Take a hike. Read a book. Take yourself out on a date.
Write a poem; I LOVE this exercise and it’s great for kids. Write the best poem that you possibly can. Only six lines, but make them the best six lines possible. Then tear it up and throw it away. If you have a wood stove or a fire pit, burn it. (gasp) Did I just say that? Yes, I did. It’s a practice in doing something for the sake of doing it. Not for the reward. Not for recognition. Not to share. Not to open for comparison or praise. Just because.
Whatever you do this year, make an effort to allow this season to unfold exactly in its own way. Don’t compare it to last year or the year before or the year before. Show gratitude for what it is. Make choices that reflect this gratitude all around you. Allow your gratitude to ripple forth and bring goodness to those around you.
I hear you. I hear you. I’m not asking you to pretend that it’s all ok. I’m not asking you to be all bubbles and sunshine when you’re not feeling bubbles and sunshine. I’m inviting you to make choices for how you want this season to unfold and to greet them with an attitude of gratitude. I’m reminding you that there is so much to be grateful for, if we only focus our attention in that direction. It’s easy to get mired in the gunk, I know that too. If you need support, reach out. Friends are wonderful. Maybe make a pact with a friend or friends to focus on the beauty of the season and share your joys. Absolutely share your struggles too, but try to do it with a focus on helping one another through to the bright side of Love and Hope and Grace.
Focus on this year only and try not to compare. Seek the ways can you make this year its own unique wonderful. Challenges are an opportunity to think outside the box. Make some time for stillness and quiet prayer (in whatever shape that takes for you).
Laugh at your failures. Savor your successes. And when in doubt, it’s hot chocolate season. Savor a mug of hot chocolate and be grateful for the sweet things in life.
With that, I offer you Love & Blessings.
Feel free to share your successes and failures. Please share your own offerings and ideas. Even if it’s virtual, good company is still good company. Help one another grow and learn.