What I learned from the Grinch....a holiday wish!
This time of year, I always think about the wisdom of Dr. Seuss in his story of the Grinch. The holidays aren't about wrestling the deal of the century away from an angry mob on Black Friday, or having the best decorations on the block, or even getting the perfect gifts for everyone on the list. The Grinch said it best.“Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store...maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”
As children, we connected to something extraordinary that was there beneath the hustle and bustle. It was the true spirit of the holidays. We understand this magic when we take the time to listen to the beckoning of our hearts and remember the connection we all share, then we see what is possible, despite all our human imperfections. The great news is that we're given opportunities to connect and create magic almost every day. We just have to be ready to answer the call when it comes.
These moments of synchronicity can and often do happen when we least expect them! Have you ever thought about those instances when you've been in the just the right place at the right time to make a connection? I often find myself called to action in moments like these. I usually don't understand or appreciate the scope of these events until after I've had time to reflect. The complexity and series of happenings that must come together to put myself and someone else in the same place at the same time is nothing short of miraculous! We talk about 'random acts of kindness.' But the more I've lived and learned, the less convinced I am about the random part.
A few years ago, I was working for a clothing company. As I was on my way back from a trade show, I happened to lose my cell phone in the airport. As luck would have it, I didn't realize this until after I was on the plane. I trudged into work the next day, tired and frankly a little ticked off that I had so carelessly lost my phone. As lunchtime rolled around, I decided I'd better head down to the store to buy a replacement. I walked in and starting browsing. I noticed the store clerk conversing with an elderly woman who seemed quite upset about something. I figured I should wait my turn patiently, but I felt this poke in my back and a voice in my head saying, “Pay attention to this conversation!” At first I resisted, thinking,“This is none of my business.” But the voice in my head persisted, so I decided to listen. It turned out that the woman did not understand how incoming calls also counted against her minutes. She had gone way over her allotment and could not afford the bill on her fixed income. As I listened to her plead with the clerk, I heard the voice say, “You need to fix this.” This time I understood the message clearly and decided to jump in. I interrupted the conversation by saying, “I have an idea. How about I just take care of this for you.” She immediately began to cry and grabbed my hand. The clerk was beside himself that one stranger would help another in this way.
It was sometime later that I realized how much I appreciated the chance to touch another's life and how many times others have given so generously to me. These days, I strive to be more mindful and open to moments of synchronicity. A few weeks ago at Target, my daughter was taking too long looking at all the new Christmas toys. She had seriously delayed my “quick trip,” and finally I decided to end her window shopping. We strolled up to a cashier just in time to see a very young, new mother who was having a problem at the checkout. She was on the phone, desperately trying to sort out an issue with her card, while the annoyed cashier looked at her impatiently. She hung up looking defeated, said something to the cashier, and began to walk away leaving her order of baby food, diapers and groceries. Before I knew what I was doing, I had grabbed my daughter and we were chasing the young lady down before she could leave the store. After I paid for her order, a woman behind me gave me a Target gift card from her purse. She said that mothers always seem to know when one of them needs help. It's amazing how one act of kindness can lead to another!
When I reflect on these times, I feel honored and humbled to be put in these situations. I'm even more grateful that there is something inside of me which is willing to connect with a power bigger than my conscious self. It doesn't mean that I need to give in a way that is unhealthy or enabling, but rather it's about trusting my intuition to guide me in doing my part.
What I've learned from the Grinch is that we all have a fundamental desire to connect. Thankfully, we are given opportunities to do that all throughout the year. Also, the Grinch reminds me that it's never too late to let go of our resentments and make amends. The holidays, which often force us to spend time with challenging people, are the perfect time to exercise our tolerance, forgiveness and apology muscles. These are the kinds of exercises that just might cause our hearts to grow a size or two bigger. I wish you a wonderful holiday season, filled with magic, peace and everlasting hope!
'Tis the season to...Grow Something Beautiful =)