Phoenixes, fire embers, a person’s inner spark or flame; I love the imagery of all of them. I like the idea that fire has the potential to ignite, drive or fuel our passions- but I also know that, sometimes, our inner flames can burn down to embers if we don’t tend to our own needs. With this new Etsy design, I wanted to capture the light of fire through the ages- past, present and future.
The three Swarovski drops on the necklace remind me of the people who have helped to reignite my inner flame when I’ve forgotten my path. It also reminds me of the life-journey; sometimes we burn bright, sometimes we don’t- but always we have the spark of potential.
In my life, I have always striven to be a “light-bearer”… but there are have been times I have forgotten to tend to my inner flame; my fire burned down to embers. To all those persons in my life who have inspired me and been kind enough to help reignite my passions when I have forgotten my own potential- I thank you.
To all of Butterfly Sundries’ friends, fans, patrons and admirers (along with everyone else)…. I wish you the happiest of holidays, filled with friendship, love, companionship and family (whether blood relation or not). I thank each and every one you for your support of my business during this holiday season!
Now, that being said, I also understand the holidays can be a difficult time for many of us. Our commercialized society is great at building up often-impossible expectations of how the holidays are supposed to be…. while reality often differs from the fantasy we’ve learned to idealize. For all of us who have realities which differ from what we think the holidays should be or mean…. I invite you to join me in my Christmas tradition.
This Christmas or Yule, join me in letting go of all expectations of what a perfect Christmas should be– and let’s create our own meaning. Do something which makes you feel happy (even if it means avoiding people who make you miserable). Spend time in silence and ponder what would create meaning for you. What have you been putting off? What have you been saying you would do if you only had the time? How can you make the day of someone else a little brighter?
Love to cook? Prepare a nice elaborate meal for yourself, even if you are alone! Know someone who is home-bound or without family? Invite them to join you (or save some leftovers for them)! If you have extras, why not share them with someone you know or have seen who would appreciate (or benefit from) a homecooked meal?
Need coffee? Thank your barista for working on the holiday, leave them an extra tip, and make sure to wish them a happy holiday (and only nice customers)!
Do you know someone who has lost a loved one or significant other in the past year? Consider giving them a call for Christmas to tell them that you’re thinking of them and wish them a happy holiday. Listen if they need to talk.
However you celebrate your holiday season, I hope you share your joy and light with others. The holiday is just a day on the calendar; you create the meaning with the choices you make the the actions you choose. Whatever your personal, spiritual, cultural or religious inclinations- I hope you make this day a good one, for yourself and others.
And remember, when all else fails, two of the best gifts I can ever recommend giving to those you meet are your undivided attention (time) and a genuine smile (joy). In fact, I think it’s time I got back to the quality time with my household (actually, I’m writing this early- so I expect I’ll still be sleeping when this finally posts).
“Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” ~ William Arthur Ward
Thanksgiving is over. Family visits are coming to a close, at least until Christmas-time. Siblings have had their annual squabbles; someone won the fight for the turkey’s wishbone. Arrangements are being made for Christmas and now the shopping plans for everyone on our wishlists is (presumably) getting started in earnest. Black Friday has started and many are shopping for deals on the gifts which will “truly make Christmas special” for their loved ones. The rush, the bustle and the chaos of the season we often look forward to (and feel completely crazy by the end of) has begun.
I’m not ready to leave the sanctuary of gratitude yet. I want to stay here a while longer- no, I want to stay here forever.
I am grateful that I’m not out shopping for Black Friday.
There is nothing I can buy which will make me happier. No thing would mean so much to my loved ones as a few minutes of my precious time without distraction. No time spent shopping will mean so much to me as a few more hours of sleep, quiet, reading or jewelry-making.
I am grateful for all that I can do.
As a person with disabilities, there are many things I cannot do as easily as others. But for every single thing I can do, I am grateful. It may take me longer, it may come at a high price- but I am grateful for the choice.
I am grateful for the power to choose (and the ability to recognize the gift).
Everything is a choice. Everything. I cannot always choose what happens to me but I can absolutely choose how I will respond to it. Every choice is a matter of priorities- and while I may not always choose wisely, I have the ability to change my choices- if I choose. Choice empowers me in a way that simple bodily health cannot. I know from experience that my time, energy, health and even brainpower can fail me; I am not invincible. Capability can be taken for granted and then wasted; I know to be mindful of how I use whatever I am blessed enough to get.
I am grateful for quality friends and family.
I don’t tend to have a lot of relationships (people are, much as I love them, exhausting). I don’t spend much time out socializing. I’m lousy on the phone and I visit in-person even less. But, as quirky and out-of-touch as I am, I have a few close friends and family members who understand my limitations and love me anyway. However frustrated they get with me- they know (I hope)- that I will always love them, give them what energy I can and I’ll always accept them who and what they are.
I am grateful for the eyes and heart to recognize beauty- and the opportunity to create it.
Beauty is all around us, all the time. It’s in a spiderweb covered with dew. It’s in the warm colors of autumn leaves. Genuine smiles, a cat’s purr, a warm heart, a thoughtful gesture, we know those things are beautiful. But the person who is bent over from arthritis and pain but gets up and greets you anyway… this too is beauty. The homeless person who shares what she has with someone even less fortunate, this is beauty. The man who is struggling to make ends meet and care for his children but still finds time to bring groceries to the home-bound person in the next apartment, he creates beauty. The youth who spends time listening to the same story again which she’s heard 20 times before from her grandmother… beauty is everywhere.
It’s in the little moments we take for granted every day; beauty is in the choices we make every day, each opportunity to help create a better world with the choices we make. Sometimes it’s a choice to acknowledge the beauty of a moment when we see something which can inspire our spirit, sometimes it’s a choice we make to do something.
I am grateful for the opportunity to create a more beautiful world, one choice at a time.
Whether it’s where I spend my money, how I spend my time, who I choose to become, what I choose to do…. In this moment now, I choose to practice gratitude for every choice I can make. May they be good ones, and may I do my part in helping to make this world a better, brighter and more just place for all.
“Appreciation can change a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.” ~ Margaret Cousins
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