I know it has been a long time since I’ve written something, but it has been a busy second half of the year and I’ve been doing well. However, like a lot of people, I tend to get a little down sometimes approaching Christmas, especially those years when I’m single. It is a time of year that is meant to spent with others, and it can be more special when there is a special someone in your life. I think it is also somewhat due to being atheist/agnostic; there is just something about the Christmas season that somewhat makes me sad I don’t feel a god the way that others do.
I’ve learned that inspiration, like a lot of positive feelings/emotions, is something that can be generated and cultivated as much as it is felt. One can draw on the Source of light that lies within rather than looking toward external sources. I’ve learned to take action against my melancholy rather than letting myself immerse in it, and I have taken a handful of steps toward creating inspiration:
–I’ve been on a strict diet for the past couple of weeks hoping to shed some pounds and get healthier before the beginning of the year. So far it is working! Down 15 pounds.
–I finally got around to putting up my Christmas trees last night, and that gave me a little boost and holiday spirit.
–I am taking my grandma to see the Nutcracker at the incredible Fox theater in Atlanta next Saturday, and we’re stopping to have dinner with my Dad and his Significant Other on the way. The Fox is an awesome venue and I love the Nutcracker. I saw it here in Athens last year, and while it was good, I wish they had live music (they had pre-recorded music). I’m really looking forward to a live orchestra performance, as the Nutcracker Suite is one of favorite pieces of classical music.
–I found a some new Buddhist organizations that I want to check out this year and the beginning of next. One meets regularly on Sunday evenings. One has a meditation series starting up next year that I’m planning on signing up for. And I even found a Buddhist retreat that involves camping at a nearby state park — how awesome is that!?
–Lastly and most importantly, I found a volunteer opportunity at a winter homeless shelter here in Athens. Their mission is to provide a warm place to stay during the cold months, provide hot meals and showers, and to spend time with folks. The job I will be doing is to hang out with folks after dinner and play card and board games with them, talk with them, and basically to interact with them like the fellow human beings that they are, helping them to get the confidence to get back on their feet. I’m excited but also a little nervous due to my introvert nature. But I have enough confidence (or dare I say faith?) that if I can just have the courage to open up, it will be as good for me as I hope it is for them. Another volunteer opportunity that I’m interested in is spending time with people in hospice care, allowing their family members to be able to leave and run errands and so forth. I know from personal experience how hard caretaking can be on family members. For whatever reason, I don’t get too emotionally drained being around the sick and dying, so I think I could be a good fit. They say that some people like to hear music, so I thought I could learn some hymns or songs to play. But that seems too scary for me at the moment. I’m hoping that this opportunity with at the homeless shelter will help me to get confidence to take on that challenge after the shelter closes once it warms up again.
The opening picture is one I took earlier this year, and it reflects the inspiration that I feel at the moment.
A Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! Please take some time to do something for others this season.