“Maybe Christmas isn’t in a store, maybe it is much, much more.” The Grinch
It’s St Nick’s Eve. On my evening walk, the neighborhood is starting to show signs of the holidays with lights and blow-up Santas and snowmen. I’m in the middle of watching for the first time “How The Grinch Stole Christmas,” by Dr. Seuss while decorating my tree pandemic-style—by myself.
In the movie, after much terror and disaster that the Grinch inflicts on the citizens of Whoville, Little Cindy Lou continues to be kind to him and he realizes that, “Maybe Christmas isn’t in a store, maybe it is much, much more.”
One of my favorite holidays as a young girl was St. Nicholas Eve and Day. As children, before bedtime we’d hang our stockings, the cuffs tucked under books on the bookshelf in the living room. Mom would send us off to bed, say our prayers with us, and then spend the evening stuffing our stockings with trinkets, chocolate kisses, nuts we had to crack open with a nutcracker and a tangerine.
It wasn’t much, but looking back on that tradition what I remember is watching her delight in our excitement in the evening and our joy in the morning and remind us that someone we didn’t even know thought we mattered and were deserving of treats and to remember to be kind and generous with each other and others less fortunate.
Did you have any Holiday traditions as a child that you have continued? Is there one that really matters this year during Covid restrictions. Please share in the comments below. I know it will brighten my day and anyone reading this.
With so many suffering incredible hardship this year, I feel incredibly grateful to have my health, a comfortable home, work I value, and family, friends, clients and colleagues I love. Wishing that for you and the rest of the world.
If you can, donate to your local foodbank. In #sandiego, even $1 will provide 5 meals through the #sandiegofoodbank.
“In short: Staying safe is half a head game.” Arianne Cohen, Fast Company on COVID-19 behavior.
It wasn’t lost on me when I watched from my metal railing balcony as my little 5-old-year neighbor wandered to the edge of the canyon in our community backyard for his daily “let-off-some-steam” time that the bars between us had many layers of meaning for me. Paying closer attention to him after I returned from an unsettling interaction out in public earlier in the day, I noticed this little guy was wearing a mask.
If he can wear his mask to play games outside, surely the 20ish male runner without a mask coming toward me as I stepped onto the grass more than six feet to the right on a short walk to avoid his heaving breath can too, right? And what about while I was waiting to pick up takeout today to support a local restaurant, the unmasked man with his masked wife in front of me and the three young unmasked men standing behind me who brushed right past me? Why no masks? Rhetorical question, sort of. But not really.
What is it with men?! With young people? Sorry, men friends and millennials I love who are wearing masks, for lumping all of you together; I know it’s not all men or just men, or young people but it is so unsettling to see the number of people who seem to have so much entitlement for themselves or so little regard for themselves or others and all the incredible life-saving going in by medical professionals and family caregivers or so little social-emotional intelligence that they won’t comply with what we know helps prevent COVID from spreading and killing people! What will it take? Do they need a personal reason like their own intubation or someone they love suffering, or worse, dying—and alone, like my aunt and the loved ones of two friends or the 202,272 other people who have died of COVID-19 as of today!? https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-death-toll/
I am not normally publicly vocal about these kinds of issues, but a quote by Rabbi Hillel that I’ve theoretically spouted as a speaker for years keeps playing in my head: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And when I am for myself, what am ‘I’? If not now, when.” And the community version of it, “If not us, who?”
Are you wearing a mask when you’re out? If so. thank you. (If you live in San Diego, they’ll be mandatory May 1.)
If you aren’t wearing a mask yet, please do. And adapt the premise, “If you see something, say something.” And for those you see wearing masks, thank them.
What would you say to someone not wearing a mask to help them comply without shaming them? Let’s create a list of responses in the comments because I could use them. I didn’t do so well today. To the older man in the takeout line four feet away from me as I continued to back up, I said under my mask and pointing to it, “Where is your mask?” He said, “I don’t need one.” I said, “Yes you do! For yourself, for your wife, and for me and everyone in this room. Please wear a mask.” He shook his head no, his wife shrugged her shoulders and they turned around and walked away.
Outside of neighborhood walks, I’ve been out in public to grocery shop four times in five weeks when very few people are out. Today was different with so many people outside. I get it. No one likes wearing a mask or being cooped up as long as we have, especially on a beautiful day, but, please—pretty please with f-ing sugar on top…PLEASE WEAR A MASK.
I really had to work to shift my fear and anger to compassion. But as I’m learning from my mindful self-compassion teacher training, there are two types of compassion—yin/gentle and yang/fierce. Gentle compassion comforts and fierce compassion protects. We need both and sometimes, like today, we need to use our courage to call in fierce compassion.
What are you doing to protect yourself and your family, co-workers and community? Please wear a mask.And consider reading this article from Fast Company: “6 Reasons Why You Engage in Risky COVID-19 Behaviors and How to Avoid Them. (Thank you, Arianne Cohen) bit.ly/3570ZFQ
As you read that, what did you think? Did you question what I meant? Did you judge it as selfish because I put myself first? Did you feel included? Did you worry about others who might not feel included or just start scrolling?
In my #mindfulselfcompassion teacher training practicum through the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion (an awesome community), one of the core meditations we are practicing is “Giving and Receiving Compassion” using the breath. Any breath you take can become a wish for yourself and another.
If you’re someone who always puts others first, and then feels exhausted, resentful, disappointed or any negative feeling that depletes your energy, research has shown that self-compassionate people tend to be more caring, supportive and compassionate with others, less jealous, and better compromisers. The challenge is giving yourself the same care you give others.
Drawing on the Creative Life Force and breathing in good wishes first for yourself gives you the energy to send it to others.
On your inhale, if it feels right, say “Breathing in for me” and on the exhale, “Breathing out for you.” Or actually, any words that conjure up a feeling of care for yourself and another person or group, country, pet, or the earth. “One for me, one for you.” Or “In for me, out for you,” or even as simple as “Me” on the inhale and “You” on the exhale repeated for as long as you like in a slower-than-normal breathing rhythm while savoring the feelings in your body. Adding a smile can help connect your mind and body and shift your energy from stressed to blessed.
This meditation can be done silently when you’re in a stressful conversation with someone, worried about someone, or just thinking of them. You can do it for one cycle of inhale/exhale that takes just a few seconds or 15 minutes in formal sitting practice, or for a minute when you wake up before you get out of bed, just before sleep, while walking or even sitting on the toilet while you are rationing toilet paper. “One for me. One for you.” Sorry, I couldn’t resist a little levity given how serious everything is with #coronavirusprotocol and #coronavirusstress.
“One for me and one for you. One for All Beings and one for the Earth.”
PS. If you like this or have other topics you’d like to learn more about, please leave a comment or share your favorite meditation. I love hearing from you.