Season’s Greetings and Holiday Wishes

My Grown Up Christmas List: No more lives torn apart. The wars would never start. And time would heal all hearts. And everyone would have a friend. And good would always win. And love would never end. ... This is my grown up Christmas list.The rush through to the end of the year is on, and the gatherings with colleagues, friends, and families are compounded. Luckily, for the most part, I’m blessed to know people who look past the commercial end of how the season is advertised, but I do find it fascinating that regardless of creed, as the year comes to a close, people find reasons to get in touch. It also means there are that many fewer hours for me to add words to my stories, though–even as I try (with decreasing success) to keep my commitment of nightly writing sessions.

With as many violences as have been done to the world this year, though, when I saw the Sun Gazing image above on Facebook, I knew I had to share the wish with everyone I know. Hubs unwittingly supported the underlying optimism of the post by sending me a post with quotes from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, too. My favorite from this list:

Whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because the desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth.

Which is also interestingly tied to this week’s Sports Illustrated announcement of Serena Williams as 2015’s Sportsperson of the Year. That particular story puts a context for greatness around the adversity overcome to get there–on physical, societal/social, mental, and emotional levels. There’s a lot to admire in how far she’s come, and how she continues to strive for excellence.

On the flip side of that was an article Rebecca Clare Smith shared this week about gaslighting. I’ve always felt particular horror at the idea that a person can be so tortured as to lose confidence in their own perceptions. My first memory of this kind of attempt (in a fictional context) was in the Star Trek Next Generation episode where Captain Picard was being tortured by the Cardasian. I know the history of gaslighting as a word goes back further than that through the 1938 stage play, and the movies released in 1940 and 1944–or even Orwell’s 1984 when the Party insists 2+2=5. In today’s world, where mental health is already fragile, it seems an ongoing challenge to not be drawn into groupthink on the one hand, and to be able to retain perceptual autonomy on the other. As a corollary, I wonder what it would take to reach a point where humans as a species learn to grow up enough to detach from their egos and respect not only one another, but the planet that sustains us. Hubs sent a different link this week showing how far we’ve strayed from that understanding in the past 75 years: The Service of Pharmacy poster from the 1930s lists common herbal cures that have fallen out of favor in the push for Big Pharma profits. Given the ubiquity of ads sprinkled throughout our media urging us to “ask our doctors if BLAHBLAH is right for you,” it’s no wonder–we’ve all been gaslighted into the belief that some chemical concoction is going to cure all our ills.

Getting off my soapbox and looking at my goals… I rebelled against a month of having to carry my phone everywhere to count steps, and have to laugh at how big of a difference it makes in my weekly step count totals. But it was also a cold and wet week with long hours at the office, so what walks we took were mostly quick efforts to make sure our doggies were able to relieve themselves outside. Yesterday was the first nice weather, so we managed almost 2 miles, then, but that was the most we managed. Writing was also a lot lower than I hoped, only adding 730 words to The Builders over the course of the week.

It didn’t help that I ran across historical pictures of Russia and the Soviet Republics, and started thinking about Red Slaves again, too.

So I have one more week of this round of ROW80 left. It doesn’t look like I’ll complete any of my goals, but I’m putting a lot of hope into enjoying a staycation with hubs next week for putting some juice behind next year’s goals. In the meantime, check out how my compadres are doing with theirs.

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