On Santa

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OK. So, you may be wondering where I plan on going with this post (me too, by the way). How will the topic of Santa get woven into the thread of mindfulness?  Well, honestly, I’m not really sure yet.  But I thought I’d just start typing and see what happens.

The other day I was reading our local news online and came across a story about the Parade of Lights, which happened here in town a couple of weeks ago and involved family friendly activities throughout the day, pictures with Santa, and a parade and tree lighting downtown in the evening.  The article mentioned how one of the daytime activities was for kids to write letters to Santa, hosted by a local downtown business.  It stated how last year the business collected around 300 letters before Christmas and then wrote back to each kid in response using a set template with certain areas left blank so they could be filled in with a personal touch and be individualized.

There was part of me that was proud of the local business for spending so much of their time and energy devoted to our community’s kiddos.  However, there was also part of me that was sitting there reading the article shaking my head back and forth in disgust at the deeply penetrating and pervasive lie that sweeps our nation this time every year about the existence of Santa.  In being a weekly blogger I’m often thinking of what to make my next blog post about and tuning into things with the mindset of how to tie it into the art of mindful living and write about it later on.  As soon as I read the article mentioning the letters to Santa I thought, “How can I turn my frustration about this whole societal Santa ordeal into a blog post?”  While I’ve mostly grown out of my ranting states of self-righteous infused monologues that prevailed when I was in my twenties I’m still holding onto this one rather tightly.  When I think about or read about the certain Christmas related fantastical myths of Santa Claus or flying reindeer or elves at the North Pole I feel this sense of anger well up within me.  But rather than going off on some long diatribe about the perpetuation of these myths and how I think it’s wrong to lie to our children about Santa I think instead I’ll keep with the nature of this blog and delve more deeply into my reaction.

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Positivity

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To change our outlook, to change our disposition, to change our life, to change anything really, we have to, well…actually change.  We have to do something different then we’ve been doing in order to get a different result.  To keep on doing what we’ve always done and expect a different outcome is one of the definitions of insanity.

There are a lot of negative people in the world.  And there are a greater number of people who aren’t necessarily negative but certainly aren’t positive, instead residing in some sluggish, disconnected in-between area that leans more towards the negative then the positive.  From my experience we are collectively lacking in positive, happy individuals.  I am reminded of a dharma talk that Thay (Thich Nhat Hanh) once gave where he said: The world needs more happy people.

Over the last 2-3 years, as I’ve been intently focusing on the practice of cultivating joy, my outlook on things has transformed a great deal.  And reasonably so!  It makes good sense that outlook and disposition are interconnected with quality of life.  What I see as good news is that neither is mutually exclusive.  And what I mean by that is that we don’t have to do one to develop the other – practicing one IS practicing the other one too at the same time, and vice versa.  So, when we’re practicing to be more positive we’re also practicing to cultivate joy and live a happier life and when we’re practicing to develop joy we’re also strengthening our ability to be more positive.  They are intertwined, not separate.

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