I’ll never stop learning my lessons

When I was a kid, I wished I could hide inside our Christmas tree and gaze at the world through a rainbow of bobbles and lights—the way “Chip and Dale” did in the Christmas cartoon, “Pluto’s Christmas Tree.”
Sometimes I still wish I could do that.
To compensate, I do the next best thing. One evening each year during the holidays, after all my Christmas decor is in place and the tree is trimmed, I get bundled up, turn out all the house lights except the Christmas ones, and go outside.
I pretend I don’t live here and peek in the living room window like a stranger looking in on the Christmas of someone else. It’s a favourite tradition where once a year I look in on my life in a perfect world.
I did this on Christmas Eve on Saturday night. Mother Nature was in her mild-mannered way and it wasn’t hard to stand out there for a time in relative comfort—unlike other years when the ends of my fingers would freeze in a New York minute.
I stood outside looking in, and wondered how many children have played and danced and laughed throughout this house in the last 67 years. My mother and I and my cousins, and my children and my children’s children, are among them.
It seems so trite to say “I love this place with all of my soul,” but it is my truth and where I belong no matter what else happens in my life.
My perfect little world thinking doesn’t last long. It’s not supposed to and that’s okay. Besides, if it did, I’d have nothing to write about every week.
Not long after I start frosting up the windowpane with my breath, the cat and two dogs figure out no one is inside the house or around to catch them nosing for Christmas nibbles left in dishes on the coffee table.
It’s all but a mad scramble for me to dash inside, scold, and then pick out all the red and green jujubes that were not dog-licked in the candy bowl. I scrutinize what’s left after the cull, close my eyes, and eat one and another amid muffled screams akin to Lucy Van Pelt in “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
“I have dog germs! Get some hot water! Get some disinfectant!”
Ah, yes, this is my perfect little world with dog germs, cat hair, and squirrels that fill the inside of my skates with pine cones so tightly that I need a jackhammer to get them out.
There’s but a few days left in 2011 and I suspect I’ll be eating too much leftover Christmas chocolate and soaking up the last fleeting days of Heather’s visit here with as much intention as I can muster.
I go to great lengths to live a purpose-filled life—and often go far enough as to drive my loved ones bananas with my “non-stop” approach to every day. I understand that no matter how life may saddle me, I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
“Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should” (taken from the “Desiderata”) says it best.
And while there are bound to be many future times when I will frown on that outlook, especially when life stinks, I still will believe it to be true. That belief keeps me approachable to learning more the why and what of this fascinating and multi-layered world—and the importance of my part in it.
So my dear readers, stand on the horizon of 2012 and look back at what you’ve seen and done and learned, and what you’ve lived through, cried through, laughed through and shared, and then grant yourself peace and go forward.
The Four Noble Truths encourage us to show up, pay attention, and tell the truth or keep noble silence, and stay wide open to change.
Peace to you.
And as the poet “Rumi” wrote, “This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. . . .
“Treat each guest honourably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.”
Make 2012 count.

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