Monday, July 16, 2007

Christmas in July

When I was a little girl, Christmas was my favorite day of the year. It was the day I looked forward to all year. Perhaps in that respect, I'm not so very different from most little children. I thought about it...dreamed about it...imagined it...waited for it...and waited for it...and waited for it... And after three hundred, sixty-five child-days (which every adult with a good memory knows, really equals 365 years in adult-time) Christmas finally came. And then, in the blink of an eye, it was over! Just like that! After all that waiting, bang it was over! Sure it was great. It was everything it was supposed to be--grand, glorious, glittering--just not long enough.

So, the thing to do was to figure out a way to make the Joy of the day last. Hmmm.... Sounds like a plan. Yes! That's it! The waiting period is already extended, no question about that. Now, how to draw out the all-too-short 24 hour time-frame known as Christmas Day? Can it be done? Well this child (I think I was about 8 or 9 when I gave myself over to solving this all-important problem) was determined to find the way!

For the next year, in addition to eagerly anticipating the holiday, I also contemplated ways to extend its pleasure. Ultimately, I settled on the Zen of the Present Moment, although I had no idea that my little idea actually had any type of philosophical basis. All I planned to do was stop every time I possibly could, as often I could remember to, all day Christmas Day and remind myself that it was Christmas Day. Simple, huh? Yes. Very simple. What any good Buddhist monk will tell you in your mindfulness training is called, "Be Here Now." Oh so simple in theory...oh so difficult in practice!

Be Here Now. BE in the Present Moment. Don't be in the past, or the future, or another state or with anyone else. It sounds really good. And on Christmas, or another enjoyable occasion, anyone can see why it is a good thing to do. But the trouble is, we spend so much of our lives wishing we were elsewhere, that when "Christmases" come along, we find ourselves unaccustomed to staying in the present moment, if we've ever managed to do it at all.

Today I was glad I'd had all those years of Christmas' Moments, practicing being present. Being in the moment can come in handy when unexpected Christmas experience happens.

Ever heard of Christmas in July?

Well for me, Christmas comes whenever we're given an unexpected and undeserved Gift, especially one of redemption. Today, I was given a second chance with a friend, a very, very dear friend, a friend I thought I'd lost through my own stupidity and negligence. She forgave me and we've started on Chapter Two (or is it Chapter Three, dear Joy?) of our friendship.

All day today, I kept telling myself, "It's Christmas!" Christmas in July! And I was in the Present Moment for every bit of it! Thank you Joy!

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