An Act of Christmas

To say I hate the rank commercial Christmas of the gift giving, excess in all things and the jolly fat man (especially) would be an understatement.  There is nothing wrong if those things make your Christmas, it’s just not mine.  Christmas to me is about Christ.  His birth.  The hope He brought to the world and the present of salvation He gifted to the world.  I enjoy the images of the angel or star at the top of the tree, the promise of spring the tree brings and Christmas hymns which herald the season.  I have a small nativity I put up instead of a tree because of the wonderful family who gifted it to me and the love which radiates from the small icons. That is Christmas to me.  Don’t get me wrong, presents are nice but there isn’t anything I need which I can’t get for myself, and stress buying has seen me getting a lot of stuff this month.  (Of which I’m still horribly shocked I spent so much on me!). This festive spending seemed to blacken the already dark mood from the first twinkle of Christmas lights on the house. I wasn’t going to put my nativity up this year because my room is a “pig stye” as I told my friend. She said it was fine, Christ was born in a manger, He would feel right at home. I immediately went home and put it in a safe place where Sammy couldn’t ‘play’ with it.

Christmas morning was special. After the family Christmas Eve of excess, there were bagels and herbal tea for breakfast and a round of opening presents. I didn’t buy anything for anyone because I didn’t think to and because I wasn’t used to Christmas mornings. Haven’t had one in dogs years. My nephew and his wife gave me stones to enhance creativity for my writing and a perfume spray called “Spiritual Gangsta”. My sister gave me a blank journal and a candle. I had nothing to give.

By the time I was ready to leave to take my last gift to my great nephew I was close to tears. I was both enraged and touched. I wanted Christmas to be over so I could just get back to the water treading I’ve been doing for what feels like forever now. I gathered my things and drove the hour or so towards their house when I was starting to get tired so I pulled off to get something fizzy with caffeine and something to eat. I got a soda and 20 nuggets. I know, it’s not really food but you can eat and drive without losing site of the road. I wasn’t that hungry but for the price, 20 pieces are the way to go. As I was driving out there was a man bundled against the cold holding a sign that said, “Anything, please.” I don’t really recall hearing the voice of God telling me to give that man half of my nuggets, or even the gentle whisper of the Spirit urging me to do anything at all. I pulled over, rolled down my window and gave him half my order, wished him a Merry Christmas and drove on. From that moment forward the anger, the dark mood or whatever you call the specter of the Grinch was gone. My soul was lighter and I felt the hope and joy the season is supposed to bring. That was Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

May all the good tidings of the season be yours, and please dear God, bring on the new year!

Massaging The Asset

One of the points in Essentialism by Greg McKeown is Protecting the Asset. The asset being the Essentialist. I don’t know if I have declared it publically, but I am trying to be an essentialist. Protecting the asset is pretty much what it sounds like….I am the asset and I need to protect me. This isn’t the setting-boundaries-with-people-who-want-to-hurt-me-emotionally protecting but protecting myself from entropy in life to keep me working towards my goal. Essentially, I need to sleep regularly and for a set amount of time. I need to eat right and drink water. I need to keep my finances in check so I can have the time I want to write. And {sigh} I need exercise to stay strong to sit for hours at a time to work.

I joined Planet Fitness because their monthly rate works out to be the reimbursement my company provides for a gym membership…..and this is the Black Card Membership where they have massage chairs, hydro-tables and and infrared light booth that the teen-ager behind the counter told me will help remove wrinkles. I’m more interested in these benefits…

Infrared therapy has many roles in the human body. These include detoxification, pain relief, reduction of muscle tension, relaxation, improved circulation, weight loss, skin purification, lowered side effects of diabetes, boosting of the immune system and lowering of blood pressure.

To be perfectly honest though, I said yes to the massage chairs and the hydro-table. Never heard of a hydro-table before but now I don’t think I can live without it. I signed up last weekend, took a tour of the facility on Tuesday and gave them both a whirl. The hydro-table is like having your back turned to a warm water firehose (you can adjust the pressure and speed) running up and down your back. It kneads and relaxes with the heat. The only downside is you have to get up after 10 minutes to tell the kids at the front desk to flip the switch again. The massage chair found knots in my shoulder and neck I didn’t even know I had! I have one in the middle of my right scapula which I tied up by working in a non-ergonomic position to finish my birthday jacket. I noticed last night was the first night I didn’t wake up with the gnawing pain in the middle of my back pushing it’s way through to my front. I’m hoping to have the other bumps the massager found gone within a reasonable amount of time as well. I spent 45 minutes there today doing both twice. This time having the hydro and heat soften up my muscles and then letting the chair knead the knots out. I’m hoping a faster relaxation for bed tonight.

I’ve actively chosen to not listen to the evil pixie in the back of my head telling me I’m not worth it, I’m wasting money, and I’m just going to be a dumpy gray-haired wanna-be for the rest of my life. I think ignoring that is part of protecting the asset too. Not believing all the people, pixies and statistics telling me I’m not going to succeed as a writer is going to be the metaphorical armor I’m going to have to wear for a while until I can massage my ego up from the depths of my psyche to essentially stand in the light with me and my convictions.