How do we practice being joyful, when being joyful becomes a mandate? How do we get in the spirit? It is nearly impossible to avoid the machine of commercialism. The constant message forced upon us this month is that you must shop to show your love. Getting and giving presents is how you must prepare for the upcoming darkness, or perhaps a cheerful way to tie up your own darkening. The constant ringing of jingle bells and cash register drawers keeps you spinning to a soundtrack demanding the ethereal light of your soul. You must complete your “to do” list and then curse it’s length. You must, especially if you are a woman, do the impossible, do it well and like it, just like on tv, or the internet, or the radio, or anywhere there is a sound being broadcast; you get that message. We have been consumed by a worldwide market. A monster that analyzes every keyboard click to predict your interests and desires, then presents you with a comprehensive view of what you need. The memo reads: you must get things to know that you are loved. Okay Bullies, so what do we do? We pay attention!
I heard a mother talking to her son who was holding a Grinch doll. “Get the Grinch” she said, “Get that grumpy Grinch, bad Grinch”. She mimicked hurting the Grinch doll and seemed to be encouraging the young boy to do the same. “Bad Grinch”. I imagined her “might is right” message was familiar to the young boy, but he didn’t punch the Grinch. He just let the doll dangle by his side. I wanted to intervene and say, “Excuse me, wasn’t the Grinch won over by unconditional love? Nobody ‘got’ the Grinch. The Who’s just lived their life joyfully until the Grinch figured it out.” That is the whole point of the story, that love and light are the most desirable feelings and if you practice those feelings, you get better at it, and maybe, you can help others too. It’s not that easy, but it might be. So Bullies, aside from learning how to play a zoozitherkarzay, or walking with gravity defying bells hovering over the curled pointed end of your shoes, we can just go old school and embrace the natural rhythms around us. A simple walk, or a glance out the window can teach us how Mother Nature prepares for this season. You don’t need faith or money.
The leaves completed their farewell dance, twirling in the wind, they now rest together on the earth. Some still hang on; you can hear them shaking, a dry parchment crumbling sound becoming the winter song of the tall oak. We can see more of the sky now. The bare branches seemingly stretching upward, remind us that no path is simple and straight. The trees’ inner highways start to slow down as the sun sinks lower in the sky. Long shadows prompt the squirrels to bury acorns everywhere. These lessons happen all around us, and we have our own physical and mental preparations too. Rituals that equip us for the upcoming darkness, this moment of tilt. We light lights and make time for friends. We must take notice, that we are not alone in our preparations for this season. It will get dark. We can find wonder in light and hope in evergreen circles. Olde school style.
You may know what your joy is or the search is on. The only thing we all know is that looking for your own sense of joy is the only way to find it. No one can give it to you, and it won’t come from a store. “It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags.” Dr. Suess