For all of my blustering about how christmas should be changed, I have to admit that there are a few traditions that I like. Even (gasp) some religious ones. A school friend and I went to the Abby a few times for Christmas Eve Mass. The glow of the candles, the colors from the stained glass windows, the Mass in Latin. Then there is that moment where everyone stops, turns to the complete strangers around them and shakes their hand. In the quiet of the church you can here the low, gentle voices saying, “Peace be with you….and also with you.” It feels like a soul spa to me.
Maybe I don’t believe in Santa or God or Christ or any of those other posers, but there is still a part of me that feels that sometimes the universe listens when you speak. Perhaps its just the simple act of articulation that is a catalyst for your own creative generation of a desire, I don’t know. I am always pleasantly surprised when I get what I want.
In fact, it’s is one thing that I would like for Christmas, a surprise. Tough order I know because if you ask for it then you’re expecting it, right? There are always those things that you would love to have, but the possibility is so remote that it would be surprising if it did actually happen. That’s the kind of surprise I want. I want an old friend to show up on my door step. I want someone to come to me and say, “wow, I just realized_________(fill in the blank surprise). I want something completely unexpected to happen. It doesn’t really matter who it is or what day it is, the beauty of someone who wants to share the joys and challenges of their life with you is the best gift anyone could ask for.
I also think I’d like to give myself a gift. This year I’ve learn a little something about surprises, I’ve learned more ways to surprise myself. And the best way I know how is to sit down and practice writing. I would encourage all of you to give yourself a little gift and go get creative, whether it’s at your desk, in your relationship, at your instrument, with your friends or in your kitchen. Go surprise yourself.
Here is one more little gift I got myself. This lovely cook book is illustrated throughout by my neighbor, Nikki McClure.
Written by nutritionist Cythia Lair from Seattle, not only does it have marvelous recipes, it also contains a lengthy discussion on what are whole foods and how to maintain a healthy diet. Recipes that include grains like Millet, Kasha and Quinoa, soups, greens, desserts and drinks are simple and unpretentious. It also includes definitions and descriptions of uncommon foods and meal suggestions at the back. But my favorite part – it has recipes and ideas for foods to go in a lunchbox. Apple Miso Almond Butter Sandwiches, Greens in Cashew Curry Sauce, Pumpkin Seed Parsley Garnish and Yummy Yam Frosting (imagine it on carrot cake) are just a few of the wonderfully surprising things you will find in here. It’s $21.95 from Sasquatch books. (Sasquatchbooks.com)