I overheard a family conversation recently where everyone was gathered to talk about what they want for Christmas.
The group was made up of 15 adults; all over the age of 21.
The conversation went something like this:
"What do you want for Christmas? I need some ideas"
"I don't know! I don't need anything"
"Well, you need to give me some ideas because I don't know what to buy for you."
"But I don't need anything, if I need something, I buy it when I need it."
And the conversation continued as each of them continued trying to pull ideas from each other.
When did Christmas become a time to stress ourselves out about buying something for someone that they don't really need?
What is the point?
I don't think that's what Christmas is about and yet this is a touchy subject for so many people. If pressed, they'll tell you, "But it's Christmas! I have to buy gifts; it's part of the Christmas tradition!"
Giving and receiving is about gratitude; the feeling of being grateful - gratitude cannot be forced.
Traditions begin with the best of intentions but there is a time to rethink the meaning behind them.
Traditions (AKA habits/patterns of choice) should fill a person with a feeling of abundance and gratitude.
There is so much talk about people who are less fortunate or who have fallen on hard times but this will never change as long as people follow the traditions of giving based on "that's the way we've always done it."
When the opportunity presents itself to evaluate traditions, habits and beliefs, only by making different choices will our lives become more enriched. Only by making different choices are we able to break the cycle of limiting beliefs, habits and traditions that no longer serve us.
As each year ends, we are given the opportunity to reevaluate how we want to end the year and how we want to enter the new year. We can choose to repeat past experiences, traditions and beliefs or we can be open to new beginnings.
When we hold on to traditions that are forced, the tradition loses it's true meaning. The same holds true with traditions of holding on to childhood memories of sadness, lack or loss during the holidays.
When a person uses Christmas as a time to remind themselves of everything they believe they were deprived of or lost, they are actually choosing to use what could be a joyful end of year celebration as an excuse to prove to themselves and others why their life isn't perfect.
We can choose to obsess over the tradition of forced giving or we can experience the joy of giving in a way that will create equal reciprocity in the act of both giving and receiving, this includes giving ourselves the gift of letting go of what no longer serves us!
People say they want their life to change but are often unwilling to start with something as simple as seasonal traditions.
Nothing in our lives will change if we aren't willing to start by asking ourselves one very important question, "if I continue to make these same choices, will my life be more enriched or will I continue to search for more meaning in my life and continually ask, "why am I here?"
Every person has the opportunity to give the best gift of all; the gift of letting go of past hurts, loss, slights, experiences and grudges. Every person has the ability to open up their hearts to the knowing that each one of us has the power to choose how we will make a difference in this world based on how we choose to show up every single day.
Family traditions can be a very touchy subject; younger generations would like things to change but are loathe to bring it up for fear of upsetting someone or "going against tradition" and being the outcast at the family gathering. But what if standing up for what you believe is the greatest gift you can give yourself this year? What if listening to your intuition instead of allowing yourself to be talked out of what you feel is right, is EXACTLY what you need to create that new beginning in your life? What if allowing your intuition to guide you is the first step to your physical, emotional and spiritual independence?
Gifts come in all sizes, shapes, forms and reasons - how will you give and receive this year?
Life truly is All About Choices!
Nancy Mueller ~ Life Sensei