December 21st, 2017
By Fiona Reilly
Guest writer for Wake Up World
It’s become somewhat of a tradition that I write an article for the Festive Season. This year I have been feeling a sense of “Bah humbug!” I feel overwhelmed by the crowds, business and general mayhem in the city as people rush, cram and spend in order to achieve that perfect Christmas. Many people’s lives seem to resolve around Christmas for the entire month of December, as they funnel their energy and expectations into December 25th.
I wonder where has the real meaning of Christmas gone and what the current scenario is costing us as a society? Many families struggle to make ends meet and Christmas puts huge financial pressure on already overburdened parents living in poverty. Many live alone or have lost loved ones and the happy family portrayals can heighten their sense of loneliness at this time of year. An increasing number of people are homeless and on the streets in the depths of midwinter, imagine how they must feel?
Over the past couple of months, I’ve really been struck and saddened by the destruction we are causing to Mother Earth. David Attenborough is raising awareness of this on the current series of Blue Planet II, where he informs us that there is an island of plastic the size of France floating in the Ocean, he describes a heart-wrenching scene where a mother whale carries her dead baby, poisoned by plastic related toxicity, and shows us corals that have been growing for up to 4000 years that are being eradicated by deep sea fishing. The destruction and poisoning of the sea life (and indeed all natural life) as a direct result of human intervention is massive. The exorbitant consumption that happens at Christmas emphasizes for me the extent of the absurdity — and it’s having a huge impact on Mother Earth.
Green Peace have created this alternative Christmas advert to highlight the plastic issue…
There is Hope and Inspiration
Yet like David Attenborough, there is unquenchable hope within me. I am inspired to see so many people acting from a place of love and care. Huge numbers are working tirelessly and having a positive impact. A week ago I was out walking with my friend and her eleven year old son Zain. When he saw some rubbish on the ground, he began to pick it up and asked us to help. It was really heartening to realize what a difference picking up some trash could make. Since then I have been picking up rubbish more frequently and enjoying the resultant clear space, as opposed to grumpily judging whoever may have disposed of it in such a thoughtless manner. Thanks to young Zain I am reminded of how a little change within ourselves can make a big difference.
There is a short and well written article by George Monbiot entitled “The Gift of Death” that alludes to the harm that excessive gift purchasing causes at this time of year. While many of the gifts we buy have loving intentions, yet he highlights that 99% of purchases will be in landfill within 6 months. He recommends alternative ways of giving to others and showing our love that doesn’t harm the planet.
“Bake them a cake, write them a poem, give them a kiss, tell them a joke, but for god’s sake stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care. All it shows is that you don’t.”
Millions of inspirational things are being done to enhance the lives of others and the planet. One of millions of examples include that tonight the coldest night of the year with temperatures well below freezing thousands of people are sleeping in central Parks in Edinburgh and London in solidarity with the homeless. Hearing of such acts of kindness bring hope and joy to my heart.
Each little thing that we do makes a difference. One authentic smile or genuine act of giving can change the life of another and inspire others. We need to question what is happening within society and what best serves our needs and that of our whole system. We each need to acknowledge what is occurring and how we might challenge any apathy. “Pathological consumption has become so normalised that we scarcely notice it.” (George Mionbot). Let’s pay attention and notice what is happening.
As Chris Bohjalian said,
“A single, ordinary person still can make a difference and single, ordinary people are doing precisely that every day.”
So my wish for Christmas is that we can all find the love and rightness inside ourselves, may we express that into the world and be a little kinder to ourselves, one another and to the planet. May we all find the light of hope and joy within our hearts, wherever we are and whatever our circumstances. May we act from this place of love and hope, so that the world is a better place because we are in it.
Here is an advert that illustrates how a little act of kindness can enhance the life of another. (Disclaimer: I am not in anyway endorsing Glade as a product, I simply resonate with the sentiment in the advert.)
Remember that “No act of kindness, however small is ever wasted.” (Aesop) What can you do to feel and spread a little love, hope and joy at this or any other time of year? May you find and feel the answer within your own blessed heart.
With love and gratitude,
Recommended articles by Fiona Reilly:
- Attuning to the Flow of the Universe
- Maintaining Healthy Boundaries When Being of Service
- The Value of Breathing Consciously
- Trust Your Own Truth
- You Live, You Learn: Finding Freedom Through Life’s Struggles
- Do It Yourself Reflexology to Heal and Invigorate
- Wonder, Magic & Insight – Embracing Curiosity on the Spiritual Journey
About the author:
Fiona is an Openhand Facilitator, Active Listening Therapist, Reflexologist, and experienced Doula. She is passionate about living true to her heart and soul and empowering others to do the same. She runs various workshops related to women’s issues (including being childless/free) and loves joining women in circle.