I have a holiday wish for you for the coming year.
Comfort in your pose
This is not just for yoga enthusiasts. This is what I wish for you. In yoga they twist you into a new and uncomfortable shape and then encourage you to breathe and find comfort. This is what I wish for you … breath and comfort no matter your pose, be it sleeping, standing, sitting, driving, running, getting drilled at the dentist or just being. May you find comfort.
May you have fortitude in life.
You will need the strength to enjoy the other gifts I wish for you, so may you have mental strength, suppleness and stability. This will help you appreciate the world around you and make good decisions that will make the world around you better for everyone, including yourself.
May you have physical fortitude, no matter your baseline. Whether you are an X-Games competitor or bound to a wheelchair, may you have the fortitude to make it through the day with your head up and enough core strength to find comfort.
Let’s not forget intestinal fortitude, which they say lays the foundation for the possibility of the other above-mentioned fortitudes. There is a lot going on with the gut bugs, so keep them happy and the rest can follow.
Whatever your task at hand, may you find joy in the doing of it. They say that real pleasure is found in working toward a destination, not actually getting there. Enjoy putting on that nail polish. The sparkling fingernail is a just a bonus to the actual focused brushwork.
All work could be considered a journey. Each step provides an opportunity to focus, exert, enjoy and appreciate. Imagine how much fun the other stuff will be if you get pleasure out of doing the laundry or cleaning the bathroom. This may be why I love doing the dishes. (Don’t you wish you invited me over to the holiday party)?
Caring for others
What some don’t realize is that by caring for others—even those we don’t know or understand—we are caring for ourselves. Of course we must first affix the oxygen mask to our own face so that we will have the strength and wits to put one on the less fortunate soul next to us who can’t reach their mask.
Some call this love, compassion or generosity. By offering others the same empathy we require, the net of love is cast wider and may just come back and blanket our own selves when we least expect it, but most need it. Generosity doesn’t just mean giving your money away, although that kind of generosity does feel good and you should try it if you haven’t. By giving you my love and compassion I fully expect it will return to me in spades.
I want you to have lots of presence this holiday and in the coming year. Presence of mind helps us get outside of ourselves and see things from the perspective of others. Deliberately living means noticing our breath, our ripples, our effect. When we do things on purpose with deliberation and consideration for others, there’s a chance that others will take notice and do the same. Imagine if everyone did this how wonderful life could be.
Doesn’t if feel good when people are being nice? Even on the worst of days one person can turn things around by looking under the dark hood we sometimes wear and simply say, “Hello in there.”
Try being nice unconditionally as bitterness lurks behind the veil of conditional kindness. Expecting something in return, instead of trusting that your kindness will be returned is a slippery slope that can lead to isolation and anger. When we encounter someone who is not so nice, remember they give us the opportunity to practice fortitude and find comfort in our pose.
I wish these gifts for you but I am selfish. I want all these presents for myself as well. Because if I can find a way to incorporate these elements into my own life, I will be a better person, making things a little better for everyone, including my dog, Chooch.
Steve Skinner hopes you have your best year yet. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.