Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cope or Hope

Dearest Readers,

I've written before that December seems like the quickest month in the calendar. It's already the 10th and wasn't it just the 1st?

Yesterday I was with a group of people and someone brought up coping during the holiday season. One person did not quite hear what was said and asked, "Hoping? Did you say "hoping" during the holiday season?" "Coping!" the other shouted back.

It was an interesting mistake to make. Coping vs. hoping during the holiday season. Which one are you?

Being self-employed and far away from my family and choosing to stay home this year has put me in a kind of detached state around this season of cheer/jeer. If there weren't decorations in the stores and if people didn't keep bringing it up I probably wouldn't even know it was Christmas. I'd just be doing my work and then, "Oh, it's the 25th?", make my dinner and go to bed with the cat.

Admittedly, I have had a few moments of feeling that excitement that can come with the advent of the season and I am making some celebratory plans so I guess I am more in the hoping camp.

Mostly what I am doing, to the best of my ability, is giving where I am able. Whether it is time, food, money, what have you, being of service is not only a good way to get out of myself and build my self-esteem, it's the time of year when it seems to be the most needed.

I know how difficult it can be to give when we're in that coping place. Giving when I'm feeling hope is easy but how can I give anything when just I don't have anything to give? Sometimes we need to be receivers. Sometimes we need to let people give to us.

That said, I know that when I need to feel better there is almost no better way than to give of myself in some capacity. Giving is one of the quickest ways to get out of that fearful place. Somehow giving opens the heart and frees us from whatever it is that is binding us to fear.

Finding the balance between giving and receiving is challenging and I don't do it perfectly. I really need to check in with myself often. If I give here, am I going to send myself over the edge? Do I need to say no? Will saying yes make me feel better despite my reservations? Is saying yes just what I need right now?

These questions are paramount to self-care. We can't give what we don't have but when we give we receive. Making sure I am clear on what my own needs are first will help me to serve the needs of others most effectively.

Inspiring Message of the Day: I will use this holiday season to practice giving in ways that both attend to my own needs and allow me to be of service where it is truly needed.

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