Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Spirit of the Holidays!

I wrote a blog post in 2008 about the stress of the holidays.  My sentiments remain that same over the years and therefore I am reposting it here again.

If you are having a difficult time or you're feeling stressed, call up a friend or family member and visit over coffee.  Take the attention off your situation by doing something for others, it can actually create happiness. Donate your time to help others, or visit a person in the hospital or retirement home. At the very least acknowledge people you see by greeting them with a with a smile.  :)
From our home to yours, Happy Holidays!


5 comments:

Paul merritt said...

A couple of years ago a friend of mine invited me to come volunteer to help feed Christmas dinner to the Homeless on Christmas day.

We showed up Christmas morning at then Church on Jarvis Street near Gerrard and singed up for our turn to serve free dinner to whom ever walked in. There was a man was asking if we had take out for his family. I was skeptical so I asked one of the supervisors what to do. He went to the kitchen and brought out several Styrofoam containers and we filled up 6 of them full of food and put them in plastic bags. The man asked for help to bring them outside where we met his wife and children. She was too proud to bring them in to the Church. They loaded up their stroller and quickly left looking back at me with such a look of gratitude without even saying a word.

I knew how much it meant to these people that there were others out there that were willing to lend a hand without judgement or looking for anything in return. At that moment I had a spiritual awakening that filled me with such peace that time seemed to slow down and I could not stop grinning. I felt drunk and could not believe the emotions I was having.

I have been praying and meditating for years that I may become more selfless and that I would be the type of person who gets joy from doing for others. This is so easy to lose sight of in a society where the strong survive and thrive and it's every man for himself. I all of a sudden felt as though my will had become the same as what my life was intended to be and not just how "I" wanted it to be.

I was standing outside with my face beaming grinning ear to ear and had never felt such peace in my life when I saw an old friend. It was one of my best friends in high school whom i had always looked up to. He came from a very well to do home and he had great work ethics and was smart as a whip. This guys had the world by the tail and the last time I hear from him he was starting a great career after college.

This friend often took pity in me when I was struggling and would bring me to his house or buy me lunch at school and always encouraged me to come to class.

I was in such a state and so happy to see him and thought how proud he would be to see that I was helping the homeless I failed to notice that he was wearing several layers of clothing and looking very tired. I asked him if he was here to volunteer. He told me that he had fallen on hard times. He was struggling with mental illness and addiction and living on the street.

I got him something to eat and gave him my number and told him to call me because I know people who could help. I shared with him my experience strength and hope and assured him that no matter how far away a good life seemed that it was much closer that it might seem and that all hope is never lost.

I never did hear from him however I will never forget how to feel grateful for what I have but most of all gratitude for the people in my life. My kids keep asking when we are going to feed the homeless again. We would do this every Christmas if we didn't have to work that day most years.

I never really thought that I had much to offer because I always measured well being with money or success or how well I saved my pennies and what I has acquired over the years. I never would have thought that a small kind gesture could hold so much power. I made a decision to try to have a positive affect on everyone I come in contact with. When someone is having a bad day or bad year the smallest things like a smile or holding a door open can be a big deal.

I have had the guy in the Macs milk comment to me that something is very different about me and that he thinks I lost weight or cut my hair. I just smile because I know the only thing that has changed is my attitude towards people and outlook on life. I have the choice when I meet a stranger or a co worker to try to do something to brighten their day or just co exist.





Paul merritt said...

A couple of years ago a friend of mine invited me to come volunteer to help feed Christmas dinner to the Homeless on Christmas day.

We showed up Christmas morning at then Church on Jarvis Street near Gerrard and singed up for our turn to serve free dinner to whom ever walked in. There was a man was asking if we had take out for his family. I was skeptical so I asked one of the supervisors what to do. He went to the kitchen and brought out several Styrofoam containers and we filled up 6 of them full of food and put them in plastic bags. The man asked for help to bring them outside where we met his wife and children. She was too proud to bring them in to the Church. They loaded up their stroller and quickly left looking back at me with such a look of gratitude without even saying a word.

I knew how much it meant to these people that there were others out there that were willing to lend a hand without judgement or looking for anything in return. At that moment I had a spiritual awakening that filled me with such peace that time seemed to slow down and I could not stop grinning. I felt drunk and could not believe the emotions I was having.

I have been praying and meditating for years that I may become more selfless and that I would be the type of person who gets joy from doing for others. This is so easy to lose sight of in a society where the strong survive and thrive and it's every man for himself. I all of a sudden felt as though my will had become the same as what my life was intended to be and not just how "I" wanted it to be.

I was standing outside with my face beaming grinning ear to ear and had never felt such peace in my life when I saw an old friend. It was one of my best friends in high school whom i had always looked up to. He came from a very well to do home and he had great work ethics and was smart as a whip. This guys had the world by the tail and the last time I hear from him he was starting a great career after college.

This friend often took pity in me when I was struggling and would bring me to his house or buy me lunch at school and always encouraged me to come to class.

I was in such a state and so happy to see him and thought how proud he would be to see that I was helping the homeless I failed to notice that he was wearing several layers of clothing and looking very tired. I asked him if he was here to volunteer. He told me that he had fallen on hard times. He was struggling with mental illness and addiction and living on the street.

I got him something to eat and gave him my number and told him to call me because I know people who could help. I shared with him my experience strength and hope and assured him that no matter how far away a good life seemed that it was much closer that it might seem and that all hope is never lost.

I never did hear from him however I will never forget how to feel grateful for what I have but most of all gratitude for the people in my life. My kids keep asking when we are going to feed the homeless again. We would do this every Christmas if we didn't have to work that day most years.

I never really thought that I had much to offer because I always measured well being with money or success or how well I saved my pennies and what I has acquired over the years. I never would have thought that a small kind gesture could hold so much power. I made a decision to try to have a positive affect on everyone I come in contact with. When someone is having a bad day or bad year the smallest things like a smile or holding a door open can be a big deal.

I have had the guy in the Macs milk comment to me that something is very different about me and that he thinks I lost weight or cut my hair. I just smile because I know the only thing that has changed is my attitude towards people and outlook on life. I have the choice when I meet a stranger or a co worker to try to do something to brighten their day or just co exist.

Angelina Pratt said...

Paul, I truly enjoyed reading your story. Compassion is a true gift and opens the heart to seeing the humanness within every person we meet.

Wishing you and your lovely family the very best for the holidays. With love, Angelina

P.S. I've been a mediator for many years. If you're interested there is an amazing app I use called 'insight timer'. It connects you with other meditators around the world. <3

Alan Pratt said...

Paul, your story is really special. I know something about the struggles you had especially when you were younger and basically had to be the head of the household at a very young age. I am really proud of the man you have become.

All the best, and all our love, Alan

Angelina Pratt said...

That is "meditating" lol auto correct!

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