By Deb Avery
As I sit with my feet up, complete with fuzzy socks and a cup of chai tea, w/non-dairy cream, on what’s referred to as Black Friday, I glance up at the news my mom is watching on TV.
My mom never misses the news. Everyday for an hour beginning at 5:00 PM, you’ll find her in her recliner watching first the local and then the national news. 30 minutes each and she assumes that she is fully informed of all the important aspects of politics, religion and world around her.
But I digress. Anyhoo, there I was, in my flannel pjs, feet up and Snooks, my little dog and companion of 11 1/2 years snuggled up next to me, and I look up to see the crowds, the grabbing, pushing, shoving and fights breaking out in a mall less than two hours from my cozy little home in the woods.
And I wonder, WHY? Why do we do this?
Every year we Americans sit at a table surrounded by the people we love, food enough to feed an army, heat, running water and comforts that some can only dream of, and we give thanks to God, the universe, each other or simply to ourselves, for all that is good in our lives. Then in only a few hours later—sometimes much less than that—we’re off to the stores or the mall to fight the crowd for bargains on things we don’t really need.
The typical mindset is that we think we need the biggest and the best at the absolute lowest price possible. Yet the true price we pay is so much more than some will ever realize.
But the truth is, nothing can replace the time spent with loved ones we see so rarely these days except for special occasions. Nothing can replace the smile on the face of a child when we sit down and spend time with them playing, reading a book or baking cookies. And nothing can take the place of the peace and joy that fills our hearts when we learn to let go, relax and simply be in the moment.
Traditions can be wonderful, especially those we create with our loved ones, family and friends. But some traditions need to be replaced when they no longer bring happiness, peace and the very joy that they were intended to bring.
All endings were once joyful, happy beginnings. And all beginnings will have an ending. Yet all these endings do not need to be sorrowful and full of suffering. Sometimes there is an opening—a spaciousness—that takes place. And this space can open our hearts and eyes to new wonders and new beginnings.
Sometimes it is in the letting go that we create space for new and better things to enter our lives.
I think it’s time to put Black Friday on the list of things to let go.
I think it’s time to put anything that lessens us as compassionate human beings, anything that strips us of enjoying the peace, comfort and joy that is found in the simple and blessed present moment, on the list of things to let go.
Nature tries to show us this each and every year at this time as the leaves swirl and spin downward to the ground. Their beautiful colors first turn brown, and then gradually turn to compost for the soil to provide an even more beautiful growing season ahead. But as usual we are often too wrapped up in our busy lives to appreciate the subtle reminders all around us.
Although I’ve always been a nature lover, it has taken me many, many years to fully appreciate the simple, yet deeply resonating, lessons from nature. The older I get, the deeper I understand and resonate.
These days, my heart beats to the cadence of that natural resonance. I am more at peace than ever before. I find myself handling situations with a bit more calmness, openness and compassion than I ever have. I also know that if I allow it to deepen and take root, it will only grow and ripen as I get older—and hopefully wiser—with every change of the seasons.
This year, as the holiday season has officially begun, let us begin a new tradition. Let us look more deeply into the workings of nature and the universe itself. Let us look more deeply into the simple, present moment and the letting go of all that no longer serves us—and the world around us.
Let that shit go.
Make room for tea, fuzzy socks and moments of comfort and joy.
Editor: Dana Gornall