The first thing that struck me while looking at these cards today was to wonder whether I’m giving enough to myself. I think I’m fairly generous to others (within my means) and I’ve learned to be able to accept help from others (although that can still prove to be a bit of a sore point). What I’m not sure I’m very good at is giving to myself. All of the family obligations and responsibilities I’ve been dealing with have taken up a considerably amount of my time and energy, leaving little for me. I don’t mean this in a selfish way (although I certainly have my moments), I mean that down time, that “me” time we need to recharge the batteries. Like a lot of caregivers, I seem to have lost sight of this fact.
I don’t have a martyr complex and I’m not so giving I just can’t help myself. Sometimes it’s just easier to flow along following the same pattern day to day. It requires no thought and causes no ripples. If I have to make alterative arrangements or plans it mucks up the works and then it takes a while to get things flowing smoothly again. Of course that also means there are days when I feel as though I’m suffocating under these responsibilities. I wonder what happened to me? What happened to that person who used to spend so much energy focusing on “dressing for success” and completing tasks in a manner that would find favor with supervisors? What happened to the me who would spend hours roaming through libraries and bookstores (of course the fact that bookstores are going the way of the dinosaur and 8-track tape does not help this situation)? I don’t know anymore. On some level I know that me is never coming back. I’ve become so liberated by not having a standard 9-5 job that I truly feel no desire to ever return to that state. However I would like to find time to spend just exploring things I enjoy – museums, bookstores, libraries, etc.
Even if I cannot leave the house, I need to find ways to give myself a break; to take a time out. Otherwise I’ll end up fried and resentful. I don’t want to become that way. So I need to look into meditation, reconnecting to my spiritual practices and just carving out some alone time. Right now I’m finding solace in sweets and junk food – that’s a bad choice on many levels.
Something about these cards also reminded me of A Christmas Carol, perhaps because of the time of year and because I go on Scrooge overload. I love watching the various versions of this classic tale ranging from the Seymour Hicks 1935 version to Scrooged with Bill Murray. They bring to life the concept that it is better to give than to receive and that if we hoard what we have instead of sharing it with others, we deny ourselves one of life’s joys. I spoke with a friend today who was able to play “Secret Santa” and pay off someone’s outstanding lay-a-way balance at a local K-Mart and she was so full of joy about it that I was caught up in it with her. It’s a wonderful gift, to know that you have done something that will help others enjoy the holidays. As so many holiday movies, books and songs remind us – the important thing at this time of year is to remember that it doesn’t matter what you buy or get as gifts, it matters how you share your heart and love.