As I write this, it’s the time between Christmas and New Year’s Day. We are awaiting the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022. Now, it’s time to rest and breathe. The flurry of the December holidays is past. We can relax as our calendars and our lives become bit less crowded and chaotic. We’ve created wonderful holiday services in our spiritual communities, hosted and attended all kinds of gatherings with friends and family. We’ve wrapped and mailed presents, signed cards and put up our trees, Advent wreaths, nativities and menorahs. And now….it’s time to be a bit quieter.
But…. sometimes those Ghosts of our Christmases past just won’t let us rest. They are often persistent with their messages of regret and “should haves”. Our inner voices haunt us, saying “we didn’t do enough”, “we didn’t do it right or we didn’t do it like our parents did for us as children”. We often find ourselves dogged by these ideas of not meeting these perceived expectations.
So we can acknowledge those uncomfortable, intruding thoughts/ ghosts, often made more stressful at the holidays. But like Scrooge in Dickens’ Christmas Carol or George Bailey in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, we have the opportunity to reflect on the importance of our presence to others this season. I am more than certain you presented the gift of your Divine Self to others on numerous occasions. I am equally certain these folks truly cared little about what you were doing and more about who you were being. Did you pause to listen to another’s story, listening with your whole being? Did you hold “sacred space” in your quiet time or in a holiday service? Did you choose a special gift for someone not out of obligation but simply from love? Did you sit with the grieving? Did you share the joy of another?
Third Principle in Unity teaches us that we experience our lives from the thoughts we create. If we listen to that very well-worn recording that tells us we didn’t do it right or didn’t do it well, we will find ourselves living lives of resentment and misery. If we “change the tape” and affirm to ourselves, “I did my best in every moment. I might do differently next time but in this and every moment, I am doing all I can do.” Don Miguel Ruiz, Four Agreements, says, “Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to being sick. Under any circumstances, simply do your best and you will avoid self -judgement, self-abuse and regret.”
Not only do we have to know this Principle for ourselves, we must extend this grace to others, withholding judgement and expectations.
So, as we close this holiday season, let us not look back and see only our shortcomings. Let us know we brought the gift of ourselves, our true nature to every interaction. We were our authentic selves, showing up as best we could be as was everyone else.