CHRISTMAS…I LOVE YOU THIS MANY DOLLARS!
What an honor it is to write to you on one of my favorite days of the year, December 24th! I like it even better than the 25th because there is sooooo much hope and anticipation, much like the climbing part of the roller coaster as you hit the top and even JUST start going over the other side. For most people, ESPECIALLY in America, December 24th is about gifts, gifts, gifts. Sure there is the food and getting together with family and all the traditions but the one thing it all hinges upon is the GIFTS!
Christmas for many of us is the time when the HOPE of creating the Christmas we never got crashes head on into the GUILT of not being there for our children as much as we’d like. The result is a BIG EMPTY feeling that many of us have tried to fill during the last few decades through more and bigger gifts. How’s that workin’ for ya? Hmmmmm?
What is the truth? The TRUTH is that all kids want to be SEEN, HEARD and UNDERSTOOD(SHU). (funny that the acronym is SHU like when you are waiving off a cat or something, “Shu cat, shu 😉 SHU is essentially the meaning of LOVE to both kids, and adults if you took the time to really notice. Most of us were not SHU by our parents so we do this crazy SUPER-SIZING OUR LIVES to make up for our lack of FEELING whole. Meanwhile our minds are somewhere else. We ignore our kids. We don’t see them. We don’t really listen to them. We oftentimes don’t even SHU ourselves because we are focused on our TO DO LIST and BILLS and WORK and FAMILY STUFF. Our kids feel this to their core. The problem is that instead of thinking that, “Oh Mama is just “busy”, they form the INTERNALIZED CORE BELIEF “I’m not lovable!” and thus the EMPTY feelings get passed on, yet again, to the next generation.
Take that in for a moment…..(“Really, really.” Shrek quote) take a couple of deep breaths….How does that feel for you?….Keep taking some deep breaths and go there….Release what’s not working….Sometimes we hold “habit beliefs” that no longer serve us until we realize they are doing more harm than protecting us.
I got up at 4:30am today to write with no alarm clock. I LOVE that time! Yesterday I broke my old habits of going to bed late so today I was able to give myself the luxury of having MY morning time to be with the planet and myself, knowing my children and husband are snug in the their beds. I LOVE that feeling! It costs absolutely nothing for me to bring this into my life, no money, no sacrifice, no ordering, no studying, no effort. All it takes is me:
- Step one….Bringing awareness to it.
- Step two….Changing my actions.
- Step three…Feeling how very wonderful it feels to be in this moment! Ahhhhhhhhhh!
When the change happens new things, that really fill our souls, enter. For the last year something has been knocking on my door but I was not ready to open it. I opened the door today and this is what I found….The work my beautiful friend Arden has been doing for 10 years!!!
Her life’s mission “snuck up” on her ten years ago when she was a grad student. What was only supposed to be a semester in Zimbabwe, turned into a year, which turned into forming a spectacular non-profit, that has survived ten years of unbelievable odds!
Coalition for Courage http://www.coalitionforcourage.org/contact.htm is a true grassroots organization located in Norton, Zimbabwe and run out of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts! (My neck of the woods!!) Arden works with orphans and vulnerable kids who are affected by and infected with HIV. This small organization is a ray of light in a very dark sky. The agency provides much needed support to some of the poorest children in one of the poorest countries in the world. Arden does the kind of work that every mother prays someone will do if her child is ever left alone in the world. Unfortunately in Africa, it is heart-breaking that many children are indeed completely alone because of the ravages of war disease and famine. I spent two hours this morning gloriously soaking up the newsletter and website, feeding my soul and connecting to the souls involved in this work. Two boys stood out.
One is nine year old little boy, named Tendai, who Arden first met when he was in the first grade. She was friends with his mother. One day Tendai appears on her doorstep with ripped shorts, no shoes, emaciated, filthy shirt and sores all over his legs. He shares that his mother has died. Soon after he and his older brother were evicted from their home. His brother, not much older than Tendai tried desperately to get work JUST to buy food but could not. All beautifully recounted in Arden’s newsletter http://coalitionforcourage.org/hard_decisions.htm
The other boy who stands out is a 14 year old kid, Salvatore Sprofera from Medfield who found out about Arden’s heart organization, Coalition for Courage. Sal also discovered the kids and Zimbabwe and he shared a common passion, SOCCER (or “futebol” as most of the world calls it). He started collecting cans at his school and word spread. It took Sal a year and a half but he collected over 500 and over 40 jerseys, 80 pairs of socks, 50 pairs of cleats, and half a dozen soccer balls.This young teenager also got locals stores and organizations to donate uniforms, balls, shin guards and socks. Sal was fortunate enough to go to Zimbabwe with his mother this year to deliver the items. The children at Arden’s orphan care center were so excited that they even hoisted him up on their shoulders! Sal was written up in the following newspapers if you’d like to inspire your own kids that they CAN make a difference!…
I read about Tendai and Salvatore’s lives to my six year old Mialotta today who on January 3 will be the big 7!!!!!! Mia immediately suggested that her birthday party be the kick-off to helping Arden’s kids. Instead of presents they will bring donations and we will brainstorm later what else we can do to help.
I am honored to have around me, Salvatore, Tendai, Arden and Mialotta, beautiful souls I’ve encountered on my life’s journey who so elegantly remind me to, as Gandhi perfectly shared, “Be the change I want to see in the world.”
Great big honkin’ hugs,
PS In this season of giving sometimes the best gifts are those that don’t cost anything. Give someone the gift of ButterflyMoms but just sending them the link….www.butterflymoms.com and telling them to check out the blog section. Abundantly feed your friends’ and family’s hearts and souls for free! :)! Guilt-free giving with meaning! YAY!
PPS Coming at the end of January…..MY FIRST BOOK!!!!! Here’s the cover! WHEW WHO!!!!!