By Marguerite Jill Dye
“What should I write my column about?” I asked my friends at our dining room table. Between bites of turkey and mashed potatoes, they offered ideas, one after the other.
“Gratitude,” newspaper reporter Francesca said. “It’s the season to remember how blessed we are.”
“We’ve entered the holiday season when many people are suffering. Some are alone and have lost a loved one. Painful memories tend to surface now,” said Emma May, retired nurse, poet, author, and artist. She continued, “We can reach out to them with a call or card, or by stopping by for a handshake or hug. We never know how deeply a gesture of kindness will touch a suffering heart.”
“Instead of thinking of receiving, the holidays are a time for giving. We can use these weeks to reach out to those we’ve lost touch with or others who need a helping hand,” said Eileen, who writes poetry, suggested thoughtfully. “I’m encouraged by people who feed the homeless and reach out to people in need.”
Francesca seconded that, saying, “seeing people act from the kindness in their hearts inspires us all and lifts us up.”
“Since writing that column, I’ve had second thoughts because the act of volunteering manifests good. But new policies and programs are needed for change,” I added, with my typical bleeding-heart zeal. “Please pass the green beans.”
“Do you still write about political news? I remember the research and points you laid out,” Francesca said having mentored me then. “There’s no question about it. You’re a journalist, my dear. I adore your cranberry sauce too.”
“Thank you. It should be called cranberry potpourri’ with pear, pineapple, ginger, maple syrup, and honey . . . I tried to be on top of the news and point out injustice, but I had to stop. The constant chaos, negativity, and hate did little good and was making me sick. Now I write about Vermont, nature, spirit, and ideas that inspire. I was thinking about ‘Women Power’ with last week’s Killington Women’s Ski World Cup, and the record number of women who will serve in the new Congress . . . Another theme that popped into my head was ‘Rejuvenation.’ Let’s toast to our own rejuvenation, and that of our loved ones, our nation, and the world.”
Rejuvenation is about renewal, reimagining our lives and reconsidering what matters. Since our time here is limited, we want to choose wisely the people we spend time with and what we do. What are the values we hold dear? Family, friends, living simply, eco-friendly? Do we wish to do more good than harm by examining the results of our actions? Do we live in alignment with our beliefs and stay true to our authentic selves? Or do we act selfishly, blame others, and cut corners, making excuses that nothing really matters? What kind of a life do we want to look back on when our time has come at the very end? A life based on greed, ego, success? Just what is “success?” To gain status (based on what?) and to amass enormous wealth? To be happy and fulfilled? Often, wealth guarantees neither. Perhaps the richest life of all is one filled with kindness, love, and good deeds that embrace the human race in a spirit of acceptance and respect so all may benefit from the earth’s bounty.
The answers to our questions lie deep inside. We can access our heart centers by feeling the love: the love for ourselves, for each one is unique; love for each other, including the “other,” for we are all one; with universe and earth; love for nature, our living treasure; and the beauty below, around, and above us; and love for our creator and the spark that ignites our lives with passion and enthusiasm (Greek for “god within”).
We may not always feel the connection or be mindful of our multitude of blessings. All we must do is keep our eyes open to the beauty and blessings that ceaselessly surround us. And when they’re out of view, remembers they’re just through the clouds.
One way to always keep them in mind is to label a jar, “What I’m thankful for.” Each night before going to sleep, write down one good thing. By focusing on that wonderful thought, you’ll realize how gratitude grows goodness, blessings multiply, and miracles manifest because like attracts like through the powerful “Law of Attraction.”