The yearly feeding frenzy of holiday shoppers has begun. While post-Thanksgiving shoppers ventured forth with tasers in hand and hearts full of greed and aggression, my mood turned pensive. Is this really what life is all about?
What compels someone to leave their table of blessing to find (and sometimes fight with others to get) more stuff that distracts us from the essential questions of life? Questions like:
- are we living a life of meaning?
- are we living true to ourselves?
- are we conscious of how the choices we make affect us (and every other human being with whom we share Oneness)?
If you knew this was your last Christmas, would you spend precious hours at the mall?
I’ve reflected on such questions for decades because when my time is up, I don’t want to be full of regret for having wasted a single moment of my time here on earth. I want my heart to be so full of love and joy for the life I lived that it acts like a slingshot to send my Spirit off to explore the next adventure as I move unencumbered into eternity.
This season of remembering blessings and giving generously used to be more thoughtful, less frenetic, more quiet. It’s hard to hear the stirring of our hearts in all the noise we’ve created now. And as I get older I wonder if that isn’t the point of this madness after all.
When we stay busy with all these non-essential tasks that seem so important in the moment, we don’t have to think about how it all plays out in the end. But when it’s all over—not just this Christmas but life—will we have regrets? Hospice caregiver Bronnie Ware compiled a list of five things many of her patients told her they regretted once they were close to death. She compiled them in a book but has a quick review of them in a post on her website.
In short, people did not regret much of what they did, they regretted what they didn’t do. They realized too late that they had not had the courage to live a life true to themselves. They worked too hard, stifled emotions too much, didn’t keep in touch with friends, and didn’t play enough.
As this holiday season now takes hold, perhaps instead of engaging in the normal holiday feeding frenzy you can choose a different way. Maybe give people gifts they need but would never have thought to ask for. Gifts like:
- the encouragement to be who they truly are
- encouragement to take some time to play
- permission to feel whatever they feel
- time to enjoy friends that they haven’t seen in a while
Encouragement is not showy. It really costs nothing but our time and attention. Yet there isn’t a man, woman, or child who wouldn’t benefit from the love inherent in that time and attention that is generously given from someone who is truly present.