Too late to send packages, to late to get the just-in-time-for-Xmas deals. You can relax now and stop beating yourself up about not getting it done, because, well….. why didn’t you? Why didn’t you get those cards put together, bought, printed and bundled in November? Why didn’t you make that list of who’s naughty and who’s nice in September when the deals started coming out? You could have bought all those gifts and had them wrapped in the closet in October! Oh and get this one, this year you start thinking about making your gifts in - well, first week of December? No, next year I’m starting on those oven mitts in January, honestly.
What is that saying again? The road to hell is paved with good intentions? Well mine is paved with felted oven mitts, eco-shopping bags, published memoirs. And I’m a retiree for heaven’s sake, time can’t be the issue.
Living gets in the way of good intentions. Wasting time gets in the way of good intentions. Getting sucked into the ever present screen gets in the way. I don’t mean that the screen gets in the way of my writing. The screen is my doorway to my writing. But bling!-s and “ding!-s pull me in the direction of texting, reading email, surfing the web, away from the blank screen I’m trying to fill up with something worthwhile.
Ah, that’s just it, the ‘worthwhile” word. Worthwhile to who? Worthwhile to what?
I turned off all screens a few days before the solstice to let myself feel the darkness and deep quiet of winter. I closed the door to the incessant “bling!-s and ding!-s. I let the quiet tell me what was important to me. And I learned what David Whyte, poet and philosopher, says in his poem Sweet Darkness, I learned, “sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn - anything or anyone that does not bring you alive, is too small for you.”
Good intentions don’t manifest because the activity does not bring you “alive”. It’s rare that I say to myself, “I feel like knitting and felting an oven mitt.” Or I feel like making eco-bags, writing my memoir etc. I KNOW writing makes me “alive”. Not so sure about knitting and sewing….. I do feel alive when I turn left over material into something useable, it’s because doing so, I contribute something to the world that wasn’t there before. And this leads me to the point of this writing. Any activity that gives a feeling of creating, contributing, discovery of something new, is worth engaging in, because it brings you ALIVE.
Forget the good intentions, 2017 is a week away. In the new year do what makes you feel ALIVE whenever you have some time. Check with yourself when you pick up that cookie, when you sit down to watch that show, turn on the news, go to the gym (Yes), and ask, “do I want this? Does this make me feel alive when I’m done with it? You may just end up at the end of 2017 with a batch of flower infused salve made from flowers picked on a summer day in the country side, or seeds from a garden lovingly tended to, picture cards from sites you just had to see and explore and a book about walking ready for publishing. The gifts will follow your activities and you won’t miss the deadline next year.