The Lagniappe

Michaele AlexanderThoughts on Things

So many among us have allowed their festivities to deteriorate into the “Happy” Hollow Days. We may even recognize the temptation to do so in ourselves. But with a little perseverance it need not be the case. Realizing that each choice we make to open not only our gifts but our hearts, each bit of new perspective, each decision along the way to be a kinder version of our self leads us towards the freedom and artistry we may wish to express in the rest of our lives as well.

In preparing for the holidays I have always been afforded ample opportunity to recognize foibles in both myself and the others around me. The need for people to feel in control of the fairy tale of an outcome is bountiful at this time of year. When I head out to go shopping often an undercurrent of unfinished business and lack of fulfillment hums right along with the high rotation music piped into almost every store. Knowing how best to fill the time while waiting in line can be quite a weight for human beings to hold up under.

I remember back in the mid 1970s feeling a sense of incredulity, and then disconnect hearing that ladies had fought over sweaters at a legendary upscale department store in the San Fernando Valley during the after Christmas sale. Fisticuffs. Really. Or so I was told. The concept of crawling over another person to get to one’s goals has always seemed so mismatched to me. To survive we are in a constant exchange with other creatures. But surviving through the deprivation of others is one of the least rewarding paths one can pursue.

We choose to consume others to feed ourselves literally through food. We consume the ideas of others to build our worlds. The question begs, with the speed at which we are urged to travel nowadays, do or even can we digest any of it? As for myself, I like to think that while still edging forward to the greatest of my abilities I take the time to chew over what comes my way before swallowing it. Otherwise I could so easily be overcome by all those things that might swallow me.

We are at a societal juncture. A crossroad met countless times over the millennia. What is right and wrong, what feels good and bad. What has been handed down from on high as fair and just. What is being aggressively ignored as it is too painful to acknowledge. Much is accepted at face value and waved about as a standard but peek past the façade and one encounters a very naked Emperor indeed! (If unfamiliar with the reference, please see the tale: The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen.)

Can one tell the truth if one cannot tell the Truth? Without this well exercised ability one’s basic nature can never feel right nor come to fulfilling ends. Eventually life ceases even to appear to satisfy the appetite, disappearing like cotton candy on the tongue it leaves only a stain. Lack, fear and frustration follow in the wake of such empty promises. Yet we have a power more vast than any adverse situation can bring us if only we will wield it in the now. We have Choice and the measure of when, where and how to use it… And we can choose to be Kind.

When one is Kind there is a softness borne from strength of character, not of weakness. It always fits like a glove and yet feels roomy, but never in a lonely way. Our Life blossoms with interest, beauty and worthy tasks. As we accept the delicate responsibility to steer our worlds and by example steward those of others through our directions of thought, word and deed, we owe it to ourselves to resist blindly checking off a list of obligations and instead turn to well met and kindly works that leave us with a full heart when all is said and done.

Our time here need never be hollow. Every moment is given to us filled with the opportunity to be hallow, healing and bursting with joy. It is not what we get, but how we play with giving and receiving that matters. The thought really does count if only we would give thought to what we count worthy to spend our lives on rather than just the depth of discounts and the discounting of depth of caring.

For as a species, as individuals and as memories to teach and tell well into time we have only the moments we give to ourselves and share with others. To rationalize that we can have a future without using our gifts in the present is folly. To put off what we must face mirrored in the shiny decorations of the now will only cause us to cease being not just who we are and why we are, but at all.

It is my request that you see your way through the outer wrappings to the Kindness in the world that surrounds everyone, yourself included. Open the box you have made for your life to fit in. Look in all the corners for what is of great value and take it out for use in your time here. Bring these things along to share with everyone. Fill your heart with the goodness that has been there all throughout the year and years gone past and carry it as a present into the continual Present. For no matter who you are you are a gift to us all if you will only follow through with that notion.

So bedeck yourself in the most wonderful ideas you can imagine and bring them to the celebration that is the world. Dance and sing and hug and breathe deeply the freedom to be yourself, your very best self and only your very best self. Create a party of your life and invite all you care for to join you. If you have never cared before, let everything in. You will soon find what and whom you will care to care for. And as you go about your lives, may you all find that your gifts are reflected in everyone and everything you receive.

May each new year welcome you with open arms…
And a lagniappe,
~ Michaele Alexander

Lagniappe – a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase; broadly : something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure.