Why is it the very thing we wish for others we find difficult to grasp for ourselves? One of the phrases of comfort I find myself using when the loved one of a friend passes is “Peace be with you”. I mean that in the most sincere way, but that is not my wish just for the moment, that is my wish for always. Lately, I am recognizing that Peaceful is not how I would describe how I have been feeling. I know it is my own fault for only I have control over how I think, feel, and behave. When I find myself in a place I don’t want to be, out of alignment with my true self, it is up to me to do something about it. Today I search for my peace while communing with nature.
Finding peace is a journey and what is the first step in any journey? Many would answer the first step is knowing where you want to go. I contend the first step is knowing where you are. Only then can you successfully navigate in the direction you want to go. So, in my quest for my personal peace, what is keeping me from it? Where am I right now? I find myself too often in reactionary mode. I experience something not to my liking and I am lashing out. When I’m behind the wheel, I’m yelling at other drivers. Why? They can’t hear me. The smallest things at home are setting me off. Why? I know they will work themselves out. The whole political debate has me on edge. Why? Regardless of who wins this election, we will move on and the majority of what has been bashed around will ultimately be forgotten. And then there’s my work as Santa. What do I want from that?
How do I get out of reactionary mode? That starts with preparation. Like any journey, we must make certain preparations to assure we are ready to begin and to anticipate problems that may arise along our path. My preparation for eliminating reactionary responses is to be in alignment with self. Be cognizant of how I feel mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually so I can process events as they happen and change directions gradually to remain on course. My tools for getting to that place include writing, meditating, and hiking, none of which I have been doing lately. Today, I renew my preparation.
The political debate is most pervasive in my world while I am on Facebook. I could shut it down between now and election day but I use it for much more. Punishing myself in one regard to shield me something else undesirable is not a viable solution for me. I realize these names, these profile pictures I see every day on Facebook, represent real, living people. Some are friends and family I have known for decades. Some are acquaintances I’ve known for just a few months or years. Many, I’ve never met in person. They all have feelings just like I do.When I say something derogatory about a group, it is as if I had launched my own personal nuclear weapon at every one of them who align themselves with that group. When reading posts defamatory to the groups that share some of my beliefs, I feel attacked, as if the comments were directed at me personally. I’m sure others feel the same. I can use Facebook for the social aspects that serve me while choosing to no longer post political comments and skip over those that others choose to post.
And what about my work as Santa? I find myself torn between the desire to share my Christmas Spirit and the magic of Santa Claus to as many families and children that I can with the innate sense of family, my own family, during our favorite time of the year. Last year I saw more children than the typical Santa, even the average Mall Santa. I reveled in that environment. At the same time, however, I was the loneliest I have felt in many, many years. I decided to stay home this year and enjoy the entire Christmas Season with family, making myself available for the occasional corporate party and private home visit. Then I was offered my dream Santa gig, Santa at Atlanta’s Perimeter Mall. This was the job I had aspired for from the first day I bleached my hair and beard and donned my first red suit. But is that what I want right now? Sitting in a chair 10 hours a day 20 miles from home is really no different than being in the chair 720 miles from home, as it relates to my desire to this Christmas Season with my family. To those of you that I had already notified that you could probably see me at Perimeter this year, I’ve changed my mind. Those of you that want a personal visit, let me know and we’ll work it out.
Those that know me personally know who I am. I am getting back in touch with what is inside and remembering it, too. My name is Glenn Johnson and I am a gentle, relaxed, successful, and worthy person.
Note – You may be wondering why I chose these pictures for this story. Earlier I wrote about my desire to do more writing, meditating, and hiking and this post was written as I walked up the path at Georgia’s Amicalola Falls State Park. Each section written from roughly the vantage point of each picture.