Today was a full day of pouring rain in sunny San Diego, and, it's the last days before Christmas. For two good reasons I stayed home: San Diegans, driving and rain don't mix, and, I didn't want to experience the tension many folks have about getting where they want to go to get what they want when they want it...with a deadline. Throw in a few folks partying and I figured it was a perfect day to stay home.

Does this holiday season bring you anxiety and tension? Where does it all come from and is it necessary?

It hit me about ten years ago that it would be a good idea to re-think the whole thing. Small children love presents. So, we buy them things that light them up, and things that move their learning about life forward. Adults appreciate being remembered. Does this need to mean a feeding frenzy of shopping that leaves credit cards in shreds and tatters, nerves frayed and self-esteem in a quandary? No, but many folks still engage as though it is an essential holiday practice. They see what the other person wants and hand over the credit card with a shrug and a promise to skimp somewhere else. But, does that happen? Hmmmmm.... And, will they really be happy--read: like us more--if we buy them what they want? Big question.

Once again, we have an opportunity to sow peace within ourselves. The holidays are a time when, even if it is unlikely for the rest of the year, people seem to get more involved in living up to the expectations of others. That is not a pathway to personal peace.

Let's stop for a few minutes of soul solitude, get centered, and ask ourselves whether or not we are caught up in the expectations of others, or living from our own values, vision, beliefs and purpose. We may be playing out the holidays from a long-ago written family or community script that says give until it hurts. If everyone did that wouldn't the entire world be in pain? Give with a generosity of spirit that has little connection to the monetary value of anything. Give love, attention, time, service, and words of appreciation. You don't have to shop for those now, so, relax!



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