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Freedom Friday: Elf Your Self!

You’re probably all familiar with the holiday ecard service that lets you turn yourself (and your family and friends) into Elves that dance around crazily, spreading giggles and chortles wherever they’re put on blast, right?  But what if we actually did that for the holiday season? No, I don’t mean get dressed up as an Elf and gyrate maniacally (although if that floats your boat and you can do it without getting arrested, go for it!). I mean, what would happen if we all developed an Elf Attitude for the holiday season?

Let’s start by figuring out what Elf Attitude actually is. In the dictionary, Elf  is defined as a small, mischievous creature that is lively, and usually has pointed ears and magical powers.  Okay, then: so what’s mischief, and what’s magicMischief is behavior or activity that is annoying, but is not meant to cause any harm or damage, or a playful desire to cause trouble (upset the status quo).  Magic is the exchange of energy:  you put your energy out there, and the Universe reciprocates! So, an Elf Attitude would be one of playful desire to upset the status quo by putting happy energy out there, even when people might find that profoundly annoying!  Sound like fun?

Ring in the holidays!  Have you ever noticed how many holiday songs talk about the jingle of bells?  There’s a reason for that: in many Pagan traditions, the ringing of a bell signals the arrival of The All (Deity) into the sacred circle. That’s also why churches ring bells as a call to worship.  There is something profoundly and undeniably happy about the sound of a ringing bell, no matter how big or small that bell might be.  So grab yourself a bell (or bells) this holiday season, and let no one jangle your jingle!  Dollar stores (like Dollar Tree) have entire bags of bells for a buck a pop! Get out there, and grab some; string them up, and wear them on your wrist or around your neck.  Every time you’re confronted with someone bent on pooping all over your holiday, jingle at them and jangle their vibe!

Commit random acts of gifting.  Make a second (or third, or fourth) “jingly-bob” (be that a bracelet or a necklace) from your Dollar Tree stash of bells, and randomly give it to somebody who could really use their jangle jingled! Or look for other small trinkets that you can randomly hand out to people you maybe don’t even know (Dollar Tree has a host of packs of party favors and things of that sort, like holiday-themed erasers, pencils, and piñata-fillings).  Make little paper crafts (maybe now would be a good time to take up origami, unless you’re afraid of coming across like that one creepy dude from Blade Runner), or get involved in the adult coloring craze, and shower the world (and total strangers) with your art!  Or you can go the simple route, and go back to Elf Yourself and create something to share on Facebook and brighten the day of your whole friends list all at once.

Take advice from Will Farrel in Elf, and sing loudly for all to hear!  Who cares if you don’t have the best singing voice in the world? In the immortal words of my beloved’s mother: “Raise your squeak to the Lord!” (Or in this case, The All!)  Buddy the Elf is right: one of the best ways to spread Christmas cheer really is singing loudly for all to hear! Sure, some folks may find that annoying, but generally, they’re the ones who need their jangle jingled anyhow!

Take further advice from Buddy the Elf, and enjoy the four holiday food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup. Don’t let guilt get to you or anybody else this holiday season, especially when it comes to watching your waistline!  Food isn’t the only area where you need to give guilt the boot, though.  Don’t let yourself (or anyone else you love) get caught up in all the mundane crap of debt, grief, or oh-my-god/dess-I-gotta-get-shit-done, either!  Put all of that stuff in the chuck-it-bucket, and walk on with your holiday!

Be the artist you never knew you were.  You practically can’t spit in a store right now without hitting a holiday coloring book.  There’s a reason why that’s one of the cheapest gifts you can possibly get for a kid, and still make them happy: coloring relaxes us, because it sets free the artist within, without needing to make excuses for our supposed inability to make things pretty.  We all have an innate ability to beautify the world, just most of us have had that crushed by criticism over the years, promoting a healthy heaping of really yucky self-doubt.  Start with the coloring page below (just right click, save, and print this puppy out); it even has a nifty blank space for you to doodle something that would make your holiday particularly merry and bright!

Be thankful for everything and everyone all the time.  Gush gratitude constantly!  When somebody does the teeniest tiniest thing for you, say thank you with the same level of excitement as if they’d just given you a million dollars or signed you up as an extra for the next Star Wars movie.  (We live in a world where we often talk about “shock and awe” as the world’s greatest secret weapon; it isn’t a secret anymore! Shock them and awe them with your exuberant gratitude, and see if that doesn’t put smiles on the faces of even the most jangled people you know!)

Put your Elf Attitude out there and see what happens to your holiday spirit, as well as to the spirits of everyone you meet.  Spread some light through laughter this holiday season!

Seventh Day Yule Coloring Page

 

 

 

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Freedom Friday: Be A Dragonfly!

We’ve talked a lot lately about finding our True Self, and realizing we are all luminous beings.  But once you’ve realized it, how do you actually do it?

Don’t just regard this concept as little more than a sentimental, “nice” idea.  Apply it in your life; actually live it.  Naturally, that’s going to require a certain level of commitment; a certain amount of “stick-to-it-iveness”.  It isn’t always easy to shine when we’re faced with the negativity of the mundane, but you’re a spiritual being, remember: you can and should rise above!

Be the better person.  Some people make it incredibly hard for us to behave from the realization that we are actually luminous beings, meant to shine Light out into the world.  Sometimes we’re also faced with situations that make it incredibly hard to stay focused on the positive.  At times like these, you should always ask: What would the best person do?  And then work very hard to be that best person.  If someone is constantly showering your personal parade with their negativity, for example, the better person would try to enlighten Negative Nelly with the 4-1-1 that they are better and brighter than whatever it is they’re up against, and then couple that with a promise to pray for them, and then actually pray for them.  When faced with a profoundly negative situation–like your son just keeps dragging his ass on fixing his truck–you should be the better person by trying to find the “silver lining” in the situation: maybe he’s a lazy bones, but he’s still a really good kid, for example.  If you just can’t seem to find that “silver lining”, be the better person by turning the situation over to the Universe (The All; Deity) in prayer.  After all, there are some things we just can’t seem to get ourselves out of, but if you fall on Faith, that will always get you through!

Grow your spirituality daily.  This isn’t just a “one and done” affair:  you’ve got to continue to cultivate your new spiritual lifestyle on the daily.  It’s just like tending a garden–you don’t just smush some seeds into the earth, water them, and then walk away, do you?  If you do that, before long, weeds will set in, and choke the new life that’s trying to push through the damp earth, and then where will that little plant be?  If you have a favorite sacred text, read it daily.  If art is your channel to The All/Deity, get artsy every day (even if that just means doodling on a spare napkin on your lunch hour).  If music takes you to a higher place, make sure to squeeze in a few moments every day to imbibe those moments!  And try to learn something new every chance you get–about yourself, Creation, and The All.

Imbibe Moments Meme, by Michelle Iacona, for Dragonfly Theology.

Remain steadfast.  Remember that old Billy Joel song that says “don’t go changin’, to try and please me”?  Well, don’t go changing to try and please other people!  You’re not here to please other people; you’re here to please the connection between all things and people and The All.  Don’t let anybody sway you from serving that Purpose!  Chances are great that as you’re out there, “fighting the good fight”, and trying to promote Right in the world through Compassion and Loving-Kindness, you’re going to rub someone who isn’t as clued-in and keyed-up as you are about Justice-Bringing the wrong way, and when that happens, they’re going to let you know it, likely in no uncertain terms.  When that happens, they’re probably going to tell you that your “personal opinions” aren’t welcome in their little world, because they don’t recognize what you’re saying as Truth (we talked about that previously, too).  They might even threaten to unfriend you at Facebook, or to block you, or otherwise break contact with you if you “don’t change your opinion”.  Stay strong, and walk on!

Being patient sucks, but do it anyway.  To be patient literally means to suffer and endure.  It is the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, and even pain without complaint, the loss of one’s temper, or apparent irritation.  All of that patently sucks, but what is gained through being patient does not:  when we refuse to be provoked, annoyed, or miserable, and likewise refuse to complain, dwell, dread, get pissed off, or show irritation, we also refuse to spread negativity, and instead choose to spread light!  We actively increase the positive vibes in the world, actually making it a better place in the long run for having done so.  Keep your focus on that bigger picture, so that no matter how much it sucks to be patient in the moment, you can endure.

Constantly notice and give gratitude for the wonder of the world that surrounds you.  Don’t go through life griping about the weather; instead, take a moment to notice how beautiful that snow, mist, or rain makes the world!  And then be grateful for that sense of awe you just felt!  Take the time to notice things: listen to the birds; watch your cat stalk his imaginary playmate.  Give yourself at least a few moments every day to see the world through a child’s eyes again.  That will keep you refreshed so that the more difficult aspects of this new life you’re living don’t bring you down.

Be warm and friendly with everyone you meet, not just your friends.  Nothing dims the light of others more than being bitchy to a complete stranger for absolutely no reason at all!  Smile; say something nice, and actually mean it.  It takes less energy to do that anyway, while at the same time actively increasing the amount of Light being spread in the world.

Live generously, and with constant love.  That doesn’t mean you have to be some tie-dye-wearing hippy, but it does mean that you should spread Compassion and Loving-Kindness generously in the world.  There are tons of little tiny ways to show people you love them, without having to turn into some sunflower-waving would-be poet:  offer prayer where needed; be empathetic, rather than sympathetic; be patient.  You may not want to start plastering your Facebook account with heart emojis, but that’s okay, that’s not necessary (although if that makes you feel brighter and brightens the lives of those around you, by all means, go for it!).  Above all, share your newfound exuberance about life with others.  There really is no greater gift you can give them than to let them see what shining your way through life can do for them, too!

Let each of these things fit into and develop the others:  your wonder at the world around you can help keep you strong when you’re dealing with how much patience sucks, for example.  Being warm and friendly with everyone you meet will help you live generously and with constant love.  With these qualities active and growing in your life, all you’ll ever do is keep moving gaily and brightly forward, spreading more and more Light, and more and more blessings to everyone with whom you come in contact!  Before you know it, you’ll be positively flitting through life–a regular dragonfly!  And you’ll find that as you’re flying you’re transforming people, situations, and the world, one tiny little interaction at the time!