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Picture Perfect

Christmas will soon be here. Before long children who have plenty will be getting more. And many children who, despite being good all year, just as Santa required of them, will get little. I don’t much care for the myth of Santa Claus. I feel this holiday, that sits right after winter solstice, should be a time of remembrance, a time of gratefulness, a time of giving to those beyond one’s own. Even I have had to look at my own life, and realize I was not teaching my children these things.

Some of us fall into this by way of getting caught up in the flurry of marketing, or keeping up with the Jones’s. Some of us fall prey to it by way of guilt, due to upheaval that we feel convinced has robbed our children of the Normal Rockwell life with which we’d hoped to provide them. My life has never fit the one’s so perfectly represented in those paintings; never has, even when young. The dissonance between my life and those representing the norm in movies, cards and in the media, always filled me with sadness. And in time I came to loathe the little Christmas villages people would set up in their homes. I didn’t like the perfection, as it was surely nothing I’d ever known. I wanted to know it, though.

Through years of study, I’ve come to realize that we often cling to or turn away from, that which we don’t have. For a moment in time we want to control our world. And if we can’t control it as a whole, we will for a few days, or by arranging beautiful little houses, cathedrals and people who sit upon glass on a table in our home. And that’s okay. We all need our moments. We all need our own personal mechanisms. I do wish though, that we as a collective whole, put as much effort into trying to create a perfect world. That we expanded our reach so that it touched not just our own, but those who have no one. I’m quite certain that is how Jesus would have approached the celebration of Christmas. I think he would have taken the gifts given to him, and handed them to another. There is perfection in that act.

Due to such, a few days ago, I told both my children that I had failed to teach them the most important  aspect of the Christmas celebration – giving. Giving not money, but the gift of their time, effort and compassion towards another. So with that, the biggest part of Christmas for us this year, will be giving of ourselves to the local Humane Society.

I’m the kind that would much rather celebrate winter solstice. I like that its untouched by the masses. And yet, it’s when nature says, “It is time to shift. It is time for us to move in another direction.” We all need to stop, take notice of where we are, what we are doing, what we are teaching and what we are giving – then shift in a new direction. So as we slowly creep away from darkness, and back toward longer days of full light, I’m also shifting into teaching my children one of the most important life lesson’s one can teach their child – give of yourself – when you do, you give back to you; you give back to the world. And something about that, represents the picture perfect Christmas to me.


You May Say I’m a Dreamer


There is purpose behind daydreams – I believe. This simple act of imagining is done effortlessly and taken quite for granted. And yet, I often sit back and wonder why we have the ability to imagine, in unfathomable detail, something beyond what we are experiencing, and so much more than what we know.

Although, for comedic purposes, I envision my dog daydreaming, I don’t feel she does. Instead, I feel she constantly lives in the now – her thoughts are only of what is.

Everything that surrounds us, made by human hands, was first made by imagining. Prompted for whatever reason, that which we create comes forth first from a rather elusive source – the mind.

We can, when we allow it, imagine almost anything. And I have to believe, humans are the only species that use this fantastical creative force to imagine something God awful and horrific. Somewhere along the line, we lost our footing within this ethereal world of the imagination – I know I have. Instead of imagining only that which I desire and want for myself, I often imagine, repeatedly, that which I do not. I have to wonder, for what purpose I do this. I tell myself that I take this dreadful imaginary journey so as not to be caught off guard. I am, role-playing numerous grim outcomes, so that if and when things turn sinister, I’ll be readily prepared and thus, know what to do. Truth is, picturing the worst is a knee jerk reaction based out of my fear – that’s all. I rarely lie, not even to myself.

What if, this powerful, well-of-imagination was just as important as your heart, that beats without your instruction; without your purposeful, careful guidance. What if your daydreaming mind, the mind that sits just above the mind that reminds you to pay your bills, and change the oil on your car, is the part of you that touches the universe. Within it, are grains of commanding, universal energy, and all those daydreams you effortlessly construct, are blue prints of your future – good or bad.

I believe, whether we care to admit it or not, we are more spirit than anything else. And a gauge of our disconnect with who and what we really are, is best revealed through our daydreams. Often, my immediate mind refuses to let my imaginative mind play and create unencumbered. I give my imaginative mind bills to pay, children to care for, and an appearance I’m not thrilled with.

In the quiet darkness however, I have the ability to stifle the mind that percolates with nervous energy; energy that moves with forced determination, like a machine that never forgets all that is required of it, all that it must do. During those sacred, blissful moments, the imaginative mind spreads its broad wings, and with a dramatic push lifts itself into a different place. In this place, thoughts and images move softly through the mind. I see those I love, and they are happy. I am who I want to be. What if within this time of active meditation, we are giving the universe the very essence of what we truly want for our future. What if, the more we allow ourselves this mental reprieve, those blue prints begin to manifest. What if, at one point, one glorious point in our lives, the world that immediately surrounds us, we recognize as the world that first lived within our mind. Heaven, for me, is not just to have caught up with the dream, but to be living within the dream – whatever that dream may be. I’m not there yet, but I see it, and I can almost touch it.


To Run Unfettered

Image found at: www.costumedogs.comSitting at my writing desk I heard the sound of my writing assistant enter the room. The sound of her four paws clicking across the floor is unmistakable.

Watching her, my happy expression quickly changed. My Boxer dropped her head, stared at her soft bed, then threw her body onto the floor. Not the bed, the floor. I grumbled, the way dog owners do, “Why the hell do I buy these nice beds if you don’t sleep on them?” She glanced over her shoulder at me, yawned, then let her head fall back onto the floor with a thud. She really doesn’t care what I think. She knows she’s ‘grandfathered in.’ Her fate is safe in my hands. So she lives without guidelines or restraint.

Boxer’s must feel their chins are heavy. I’ve come to this conclusion only because she is the only dog I’ve ever known that needs to rest her chin on tables, arms of chairs, bent knees, or any other such horizontal surface. She isn’t relaxing; I know this as she’s standing. One time while riding in the back of my Jeep she rested her chin on the top of my daughter’s head who was in the seat in front of her.

She has no shame in showing her excitement when visitors arrive. I think I’m going to start doing the same. The next time a friend arrives at my door I need to dance with excitement, hug them profusely, then latch to their side, all the while giving them a soft look of adoration. At the very least my efforts should earn a good rub down; that being what my Boxer receives.

And just like my Boxer, when I eat I think I’ll start picking through my food, leaving bits and pieces strewn across the floor. There will be no real rhyme or reason as to what I will eat and what I will spit off to the side. I think this approach will be good for me. A good change. And I plan to leave those hard nuggets all around, so those without shoes can find them later.

When I venture outside I’m going to run as if chased. I will run with force and strength without any real direction. When I’m done I’ll come sliding into the house and snort at everyone. It seems to work for my Boxer, so it should work for me. It might help remind me I’m alive. To be alive, I should probably act alive. I often forget that.

I want that kind of unbridled joy and zeal. She also howls for no apparent reason. I want to howl for no apparent reason. I never have, and doubt I ever will, but the idea sounds liberating. She doesn’t care that everyone looks at her as if she’s lost her mind. She knows one doesn’t have to act sane, to be sane. All she knows is she felt like howling – so she howled. Life should be so simple. It’s an overdone theory: that we should take lessons from our dogs. Yet, regardless of how often its said, it still remains true. Analyze less. Live more, and do so – unfettered.