“I wear the chain I forged in life…I made it link by link…” – Charles Dickens
For some, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year filled with warmth, annual celebratory traditions, and delicious holiday foods.
For others, Christmas is filled with bittersweet memories of times gone by; remembrances of loved ones no longer here, heartbreaks and loneliness.
Flashback to Christmas Eve 2010
Nine years ago on Christmas Eve, I sat alone on the floor of my dark bedroom, the door was bolted shut and the blinds were pulled down; not allowing even a ray of sunshine to come in. I didn’t want anyone to see me crying or notice the deep despondency I felt. Since early morning I had been checking my bank account for an automatic deposit that never came.
It was now past noon on Christmas Eve. I had put my kid’s gifts on hold at various stores until that deposit hit. Unbeknownst to me, the automatic deposit, one that had been set up for over 30 years, had been changed to go into a different bank account; one that no longer had my name on it.
At two in the afternoon, I realized I had no money to get my kids their Christmas gifts that year. That realization was more than I could handle. It was a breaking point for me.
My son Rock and I had just moved into my mom’s house after having gone through a rough divorce, bankruptcy, and home foreclosure. Not exactly how I had envisioned my life to be.
“Sometimes when you are in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted.” – Christine Caine
Where Are You This Christmas Eve?
If you have lived on this planet for more than a few years, you’ve experienced some sort of discouragement, frustration, or loss. Perhaps you’ve had a disappointing career, faced a debilitating illness, experienced the heartbreaking loss of a relationship, or have seen your life savings dwindle.
Regardless of where you are, or the extent of what you’re feeling, there are certain things you can do to break the chains keeping you bound so you can feel fully alive again.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Later that night, as my mom and I were alone on Christmas Eve with no money to buy gifts for anyone, I discovered an invaluable lesson that changed the trajectory of my life. I journeyed all the way back to 1843 and watched the transformational life story of Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol.
In this blog post I am going to share 3 powerful gifts with you that I learned that night from that classic movie. These gifts were able to break the chains I had around my mind; gifts I didn’t have to spend a dime to purchase. I learned that we all have the ability to reverse our fortunes.
Gift #1: The Ghost of Christmas Past
All of us have a tendency to idealize the past and minimize its discomforts. When we do so, we make it seem like there were no problems or issues to ever deal with which is very far from the truth.
Don’t romanticize the past, instead learn from it. What are some of the gifts you now have because of your past?
In life you either get results or you learn valuable lessons; it’s always a matter of perspective. Look over the course of your life and ask yourself the following questions:
- What is a powerful underlying theme of your life?
- How have you grown because of the struggles you’ve faced?
- How can you now view those struggles as gifts?
If you are in a dark place, know that though it may be dark now, light is always stronger than the darkness; look for glimmers of light to pierce through the darkness.
Gift #2: The Ghost of Christmas Present
The present is a cherished gift; today is all you are promised. It is in the present where you have the power to make a difference in your life. The choices you make today will affect the future you want to create. Look around you, what gifts do you have?
My good friend Jody Senna, co-founder of Libby and Me Organic Creations, encourages others to look at what they have in their hands. If you have dirt, plant a garden, if you have fabric, make something beautiful, if you have a pen, write a compelling story. It’s all in opening your eyes to see that which is closest to you.
Once you become aware of your personal gifts; your strengths, talents, and skills, unimaginable possibilities open up to you.
Gift #3: The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
Casting a compelling vision for your future is a powerful gift you can give yourself. What is a vision for the future you have in your heart? Do you see yourself attaining it in your lifetime? According to John Maxwell,
“A dream is an inspiring picture of the future that energizes your mind, will, and emotions, empowering you to do everything you can to achieve it.”
Maybe you’ve lost your confidence, or fallen into the pit of disappointment because of the past. I’m here to tell you that it’s time to dare to dream again. You want to build the life that you want, the life that you envision.
Ask yourself some thought-provoking questions:
- What do you need to do now to attain the future you desire?
- Who do you need to become?
- What will happen if you don’t pay the price for your dream?
No matter where you are in life, you cannot nor should not remain the same person.
Don’t wait until tomorrow. When you determine what you want in life, set some very small action steps that you can take today to move you towards that desired future.
Fast Forward to Christmas Today 2019
As I write this blog, I look back at the years that have transpired before my eyes. I am so grateful for the powerful lesson I discovered that “dark” Christmas Eve. It turns out it wasn’t so dark after all. I realize now that the gifts I’ve received because of it far outweigh the pain I felt that night.
In addition to that, I also am grateful for the gifts I was able to give my kids along this journey of life; gifts that are absolutely free. I was able to share with them how important it is to embrace:
Ownership of your choices
Wisdom from people who have journeyed before you
Resiliency to grow stronger with each of life’s challenges
Vision to create a brilliant future
For my Jewish friends, I hope you had a wonderful Chanukah, filled with joyful memories. If you celebrate Christmas or even if you don’t, my wish for all of you is that:
You will hold on to HOPE for your future,
That your heart will be filled with LOVE
That your mind would be at PEACE
That your home would be filled with JOY
Ready to Dig Deeper?
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