Christmas Quotes

Christmas is just three days away. It’s my favorite holiday of the year! Naturally, I wanted to compile a list of some of my favorite quotes on Christmas to help us all get in the Christmas spirit!

“Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.”
― Steve Maraboli

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”
― Bob Hope

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ”
― Norman Vincent Peale

“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.”
― Charles M. Schulz

Walnuts and Rice

Here’s a fun exercise to try if you haven’t heard of it before:

walnuts-and-rice

Take a jar, a handful of rice (enough to fill the jar) and a handful of walnuts. If you put the rice in first and then the walnuts, you’ll find that there is not enough room in the jar for both. But if you put the walnuts in the jar first and then the rice, they both fit fine.

What’s the lesson?

The walnuts are our priorities. The things that matter most in life.

The rice is everything else. The small stuff. All of life’s little details.

walnuts-and-rice

When we do what matters most to us first, the rest of life kind of just falls into place. Life always works itself out when we have our priorities in line and we put our walnuts first.

Desire

Desire is a funny thing. It can range from a slight want to an all consuming obsession.

But it’s always in our head. And our minds can play tricks on us.

Think about a time when you’ve wanted something so bad and finally got it. It wasn’t exactly what you thought it’d be was it?

For example, I really wanted another dog. I mean really wanted one. The desire almost took on a life of its own- keeping me awake at night, scrolling through photos of shelter dogs in need. Eventually, I got another dog. But I forgot about the totality of what this means. Housebreaking, chewing, barking. Sure, it’s great having another dog, but there are drawbacks to it, as well.

There always are. For everything you gain, you lose something else. And we tend to forget this when consumed by desire. We forget to look at the totality of the picture and how our want fits into that.

I think it’s important to remind ourselves of this whenever we begin to feeling the aching of desire. We can never see the whole picture but we can do our best to look at our wants through a larger lens.

Most importantly, we should be grateful for what we already have and remember that what we have right now, is all we really need.

How Much Do You Love Me?

I recently rescued a puppy and as dogs always do, she’s teaching me a lot about life. Dogs have countless lessons to teach us and I’ve written on this subject before, but puppies, I’m finding out, have even more!

As a rescue, I’m unaware of what life was like for my puppy before coming to me. She has a lot of trust and anxiety issues, as many rescue dogs do. I have another dog, who has been with me since he was born, and the three of us have been in constant negotiation since the new puppy’s arrival. It seems with every new experience, the dogs are working amongst themselves to figure out who’s the boss. Whether it’s a bed, chew toy, food, or my attention. They’ve spent the greater part of our first few weeks together determining which one of them gets what, and when. The puppy will even try to play this game with me. She wants to know who’s boss.

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Elizabeth Gilbert.

“There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. ‘How much do you love me?’ And, ‘Who’s in charge?'” (Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love)

Raising a rescue puppy, or any animal for that matter, is confirmation of this truth. At our most basic and animalistic level, it really all boils down to this. 

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! What are you thankful for?

thankful

I’m thankful for waking up today. For the ability to breath and walk and laugh. I’m thankful for fresh air. That when I walk outside I feel safe. I’m thankful for other people. Old friends with whom I share a history and strangers whom I have yet to meet. I’m thankful that I can trust people, because I trust myself. I’m thankful for clean drinking water and that I never have to worry about when my next meal will be. I’m thankful that I have a warm place to sleep at night and a roof over my head.

It’s mind boggling, really, when I think of everything I have. It’s a wonder every day isn’t Thanksgiving. Indeed, it should be.

Thanksgiving Parody of Chainsmokers- Closer

Maybe you could bare your shoulders,
lend that jacket that you’re over
to the man who’s standing there
waving cars down at the corner.
You know he’s only getting older
and Christmas is getting closer.
Give before Thanksgiving’s over
’cause it’s only getting colder.

Imagination and Prayer

As we age, imagination either overtakes logic/memory or logic and memories overtake our imagination. Imagination is the road less traveled but it is the pathway to prayer. Prayer and imagination are directly proportionate. The more you pray, the bigger your imagination becomes.

A good test of your spiritual maturity is whether your imagination is getting larger or smaller. The older you get, the more faith you should have because you have experienced more of God’s faithfulness. It’s God’s faithfulness that increases our faith and ultimately, our imagination and dreams.

God wants us to keep on dreaming until the day we die. If we keep praying, we’ll keep dreaming. And vice versa. In fact, praying is a form of dreaming and using our imagination is also a form of prayer.

Halloween Irony

There is great irony in our celebration of Halloween.

mask-halloween-irony

Think about it…

Halloween is a day when many people enjoy dressing up, wearing masks, and pretending to be dead. Ironically, most people spend the other 364 days of the year dressing up, wearing masks, and pretending to live.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Exceptionally Creative People

I recently completed Dr. Keith Sawyer’s book, Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in the subject or curious about how to enhance their own creativity. (Visit his blog at keithsawyer.wordpress.com) In Zig Zag, Dr. Sawyer outlines a variety of exercises and tactics to help you along the creative process. He also provides valuable insight into the nature of the creative process itself. In his book, I learned some surprising things that exceptionally creative people all have in common. Below I have listed 10 things that you (probably) didn’t know about exceptionally creative people.

exceptional creators

  1. Exceptional creators sleep more hours than the average person. (Harvard researcher Jeffrey Ellenbogen found that after sleep, people are 33% more creative!)
  2. Researchers have found that people who have lived in more than one country (multinationals, biculturals, immigrants ect.) are more creative.
  3. Exceptional creators aren’t born that way. Creativity is close to 80% learned and acquired (according to Hal Gregerson, a professor at INSEAD Business School).
  4. Successful creators are curious by nature. They ask questions and listen closely to the answers, even when the information has no obvious relationship to what they’re working on at the moment. In other words, exceptional creators are experts at “connecting the dots”.
  5. Exceptional creators are masters of the discipline of play, the ability to imagine and envision possible worlds and alternate realities.
  6. Most exceptional creators are working on multiple projects at a time. (They’re using these various areas of focus to make even more connections and thus advance their work!)
  7. Creative people are exceptionally self-aware. They are constantly reflecting on what they’re doing at any given moment and they’re constantly listening to themselves.
  8. Creative people work harder than most other people, usually at researching and acquiring new information. Paradoxically, they also take more time off.
  9. About 25% of the world’s most exceptional creators engaged in the creation of elaborate imaginary worlds as children. (So think twice next time you want to make fun of someone’s “imaginary friend”! 😉
  10. Exceptional creators make a conscious effort to introduce change into their lives, or to put themselves in situations in which they’re more likely to experience the unexpected.

The Intersection of Death and Creativity

As the saying goes, “Genius is sorrow’s child.”

mourning

Psychologists Christopher Long and Dara Greenwood recently investigated the connection between death and creativity. They asked a group of undergraduates to write humorous captions for New Yorker cartoons. Some of the students were first primed with subliminal messages of death. These students produced cartoons judged to be more creative and more humorous. The conclusion is that the inability to acknowledge and mourn loss leads to a shutdown of vital creative impulses. On the flip side, the resolution of loss allows for a fresh start and renewed access to sources of creativity.

Mourning, it seems, is not only vital for our mental health but for our creative lives as well.

This might explain why a disproportionately large number of creative geniuses lost a parent, usually a father, at a young age. A study of some 700 historical figures found that 35% lost a parent by age 15, and nearly half by age 20. The list includes Dante, Bach, Darwin, Michelangelo, Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf and more. These creative geniuses possessed not only an ability to rebound from suffering but also to transform that suffering into creativity.