I guess I had a feeling that there was a sense I might be going through the motions in some ways. In the newsletter last week I included some wonderful thoughts from Jonathan Ellerby, the author of "Return to the Sacred". One of the ideas he raised was that the holidays are a time which naturally give rise to 'spiritual reflection and celebration.' If I'm not feeling that, maybe there's a reason? His words and the simple practices he suggests reminded me that putting the 'how' into the holiday is not difficult to do - no matter how busy we are getting the last projects done, while packing, planning, wrapping and cooking. He suggests practicing old-fashioned kindness toward others, saying yes only to what we can really commit to, and to remember to breathe (and while you take that walk in nature, to notice that the animals are not having difficulty making this holiday pleasant).
As I slow down, clear the calendar and consider what I really want to make time for, I realize that to have anything to give at all, I have just got to remain as connected to my own center as I can. Anything less and I'm just flying around like a kyte off the string.
I remind myself that I am committed to take care of myself and to notice when I'm off center. Thich Nhat Hanh is a wonderful teacher of mindfulness, (as well as a tremendous peace activist) and on the website for the Deer Park Monestary it says:
"Mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment. It is the continuous practice of touching life deeply in every moment of daily life. To be mindful is to be truly alive and present with those around you and with what you are doing. We bring our body and mind into harmony while we wash the dishes, drive the car or take our morning cup of tea."
Instead of becoming 'wrapped up' in doing, this an invitation for me to stop and take stock of who and how I am being. And like Bryan probably felt when he just gave a stranger a lift for no other reason than to help out, that just feels good.