Monday, December 26, 2011
Christmas has come, and although her birthday has passed, her perfume still lingers. The tree and trimmings seem a bit rumpled, like a lover waking after a stirring night of romance. Her slightly tousled branches inspire rumors of pleasure; tinsel litters the floors, scattered like clothing tossed during a playful striptease… candy canes on the lampshade. Oh my!
She tells me that she’ll be leaving soon. I cry a little and then I try convincing her to stay, but in my heart I know that it wouldn’t work; after all, how could I concentrate on my job with her traipsing around the place sidetracking me with her surprises and singing. I’d get nothing done. No, she must go.
She likes to withdraw slowly, toning down her voice, until, without noticing, I go through an entire day of jingle-stopping silence; that’s when I realize that she has really gone.
I predict it will be the same this year; Christmas will fade like a full moon eclipsed by New Year’s towering shadows. I’ll run to and fro, as energized as a Double Choka-lotta Espresso, plotting and planning my entire year; creating my own light, showing off a bit, and maybe bragging some too.
But as the cycle continues, and 2012 comes to a close, once again I’ll begin to tire of my routine. Perhaps I’ll lose some confidence on those cold winter nights when time nips at my carefully mapped calendar, threatening the demise of my fragile hopes and dreams.
It is then that I will listen for the faint sound of bells ringing in the chilly distance; that mirthful voice of Christmas calling for me to make all things ready, for her faithful visit is nearing and she carries with her the comforting gifts of love and light.
Thank you Christmas, for inspiring me to be my best. Although I try to hold you closely throughout the year; I already miss you and I can’t help but count the days till your return.
Posted by Leah Griffith at 9:41 AM
Thursday, December 22, 2011
I posted this piece a year ago when I had few readers, so I thought it would be nice to sort of repeat myself by reposting some thoughts on the holiday. Enjoy;)
People all over the world are preparing for Christmas 2011. Holiday specials tug at the heartstrings, while citizens race to the post office, eager to mail their last minute tidings. The rich, wrapped in cashmere and Gucci, sip from crystal goblets, thankful for another successful year. The poor, cocooned in worn parkers, and hand-knit scarves, toast with tumblers of spiked eggnog; inspiring hope for an even better year.
Lighted trees sit center stage in penthouse, and row house alike, circled with a wreath of festively wrapped gifts. Stockings stretched with candy and loot send a shot of excitement to little eyes; proof positive that Santa really exists. But these are only a slice of what the season represents. Love Joy, and Peace… these are the true golden rings of the holiday.
Christmas stimulates our senses, fanning the flames of hope after a long year of indifference and struggle. Some say that Christmas brings out the hypocrites. Folks go to church that wouldn’t normally attend, and give to the poor instead of visiting the pub. But I don’t think it’s hypocritical any more than it was hypocritical for Scrooge to give Bob Cratchit a fatted goose. People are simply responding from the heart; from a place of nobility that lies buried beneath the have to’s and pressures of every day life.
Wedding songs and funeral hymns harmonize with the jingles bells in a messy world that slows for no one, reminding us that Christmas is not the absence of troubles but the presence of hope. I guess you could say that Christmas is life dressed in her Sunday best.
I'm wishing all of my readers a holiday season wrapped in love and magic. Remember that you are the gift that the world is waiting for; God's own hands come down to earth.
Love & Hugs,
Posted by Leah Griffith at 4:26 AM
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
I’m writing this blog surrounded by twinkling tree lights, Rudolph-red bows, and jingly songs. These are the treasures that I’ve taken out of storage for the holidays, and like a good set of china, I’ve added a few new pieces this year for future generations to enjoy. I love decorating for the season!
For me Christmas evokes a certain glow, which is impossible to purchase with a credit card, and is as priceless as an infant’s first smile. It’s an inner glow, born amidst life’s golden moments and untimely tragedies, burning white hot through the dross of wasted time and producing a hope so pure that it carries me away to a place inside of myself; a large place, where I sense my alliance with eternity.
It awakens me to the magic of who I am, a sister god placed on earth for a season to spark love, inspire faith, and use my heart and hands to lovingly nudge other pilgrims along. It may sound lofty but in reality it’s quite ordinary and practical.
I remember when I was about four, my mother decided to read the story of The Nativity to me. Ma was an enthusiastic storyteller and made a point of stressing that Baby Jesus had no crib or blanket. I guess she was trying to help me realize how blessed that I was. It worked because my little girl imagination was right there in the huddle with the sheep, camels, and angels, peering over at the shivering infant. This vision disturbed me so much that later that evening I pulled the blanket from my bed and knelt before my bedroom window, focusing on the brightest star, and tearfully offered my blanket to Mary. Hours later my mother discovered me fast asleep on the floor cuddled into my blanket.
I recall the desperate feeling of wanting to keep Baby Jesus warm, and rewrite his story so that it had a happier ending. I didn’t realize then that my feelings of goodwill where inspired by my kinship with divinity, and that the true gifts of Christmas were those of love and kindness.
Perhaps Christmas is a reminder to us of why we’re here, representing life on a higher level, and teaching us that it is never too late to rewrite our own stories or inspire the stories of those around us.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, or ignore the season all together, the one thing that we all have in common is that we are here on earth together and the best gift that we have to offer each other is that of ourselves.
Happy holidays enlightened earth mates; may the gift of your presence inspire joy to all who meet you, and may your cup overflow with the blessing of knowing exactly who you are.
Posted by Leah Griffith at 4:46 PM
Sunday, December 11, 2011
I was browsing through some old posts and decided to resurrect this one because of its timely message.
The above song shook me up....in a good way. It inspired me to contemplate, and pursue, happiness in a very conscious way. What better time of year to seek happiness than at Christmas time when everything is decked and festive?
Sometimes life can become predictable and boring, and you have to take life off the shelf and give it a shake or two, like a snow globe, and stir up some excitement.
I have a bad habit of waiting for life to hand me happiness. Like a hungry beggar I stand with my little heart wide open, hoping that life will give me a handout. But it rarely does. Some people stay this way for years, lamenting their misery and blaming bad luck, or the world, for their lack of happiness.
My mother used to say, “You have to make your own happiness Leah.” Then she would patiently steer me into a direction of amusement by providing me with a piece of fabric and a needle and thread, or a box of Crayola’s and a sheet of clean white paper. Within minutes I’d be happily engrossed in my project as time swept swiftly by.
I guess I’m equating happiness with happenings, unlike joy, which I consider a more spiritual attribute. Happiness pacifies the flesh and mind, while joy comforts the spirit. The Christian mystic, Madame Guyon, said, “It’s better to engage in a mindless hobby than to entertain a spirit of melancholy.” Basically it’s the same message my mother gave me so many years ago. So now that I’m grown….well mostly, I know that I am responsible for creating my own amusements and happiness’s. If I’m miserable and bored it’s my own damn fault.
Today, make a plan for happiness. Go out of your way to find it. Think outside of your stuffy little life box; call an old friend, watch your favorite movie, or try something new like skydiving, or acting. Do the thing you have always wanted to do, but never had the courage to try.
Don’t wait for somebody else to make you happy. They’re all too busy trying to figure out their own plan. The path to happiness is yours to find and follow. So, make yourself up a batch of happiness. With all the ingredients available to you, there’s no end to the possibilities.
Posted by Leah Griffith at 8:30 AM
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
When I close my eyes I feel the same, certainly not 55, or even 45, or 35…I feel like me. Like I’ve always felt. The passage of time is a slippery illusion, for we know that the all-present “now” is what really exists. It’s all that has ever existed. Yet, life has housed me in a body that has somehow been snared by gravity, time’s very real shadow.
Simply put, our bodies were born to die, hence the crow’s feet perched at the corners of my smiling eyes, the stiffness in my knees, and my aversion to amusement park rides that spin…I still love rollercoasters!
Of course why we die is a great mystery to be revealed once we arrive on the other side of the invisible curtain, so while we’re here we philosophize, taking studied guesses at where we’ve come from and where we’re going.
I started where life birthed me, with all the blessings and nightmares of a classic novel, and I moved forward, one blood-churning step at a time. It all seemed so difficult back then, yet there was undeniable beauty there too; breath hitching, all encompassing, nail biting, rapturous beauty. And here I am now, with my life etched on my heart, the hieroglyphics of Leah, the story of a girl, now a woman, but with that same girl’s heart, still walking that bridge through the fog, not knowing what lies on the other side, yet migrating forward under life’s curious spell.
But today is my birthday; a personal holiday of sorts, invented by someone with a cake addiction and an obsession with age. My birthday supposedly marks the passage of time that I’ve spent walking this planet. I feel as though I’m about two thirds of the way over the bridge. Where I’ve been seems so irrelevant to me now, like last Tuesday’s lunch…who can even remember? It’s where I’m going that seems to matter the most to me.
I’m grateful for feet that love to dance, and bifocaled eyes, eager to witness the unfolding of another year. In spite of what our youth-worshipping culture may believe, I still hunger for more of everything: love, adventure, laughter, and knowledge. Age doesn’t dim the light within; it makes life’s rewards so much richer.
I didn’t invent birthdays. Actually, I’d rather forget about marking my years like an old dog peeing on a tree, and if it weren’t culturally expected of me I’d hide in my room until the day was over. Okay, enough of the curmudgeon routine, who am I kidding…I’m a sucker for cake and presents! With that said, Happy Birthday to me! (Donning pointy party hat and blowing feathered noisemaker) It’s my birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The sky is changing moods, blowing calm white rivers into currents over blue, swirling into deep pools, rising against thunderous cliffs and sending the sun into exile.
But I have a mind to; for the wind is stirring the leaves, who thought their days had ended, yet now they believe themselves to be birds with pointed wings and focused beaks, slicing through the air like eager messengers bound to tell the tales of love.
I long to keep up with them.
But no, I reserve my energy, and watch, as my irrepressible soul twirls down the middle of the road, met by a partner who knows my steps and takes me there.
The world is watching, but no one sees, as I follow barefoot and alive.
Heaven graces us with a tango, bequeathed by wasted poets, teased by love’s eternal flame.
Dip me now my darling; kiss the white line of my neck.
Your face is masked; your soul stirs me.
Leave me when the morning sings and evening takes his final bow.
Posted by Leah Griffith at 4:03 PM
Sunday, December 4, 2011
I just enjoyed some time away, launched like a rocket traveling at 80mph up the east coast in my daughter’s Civic, aimed at North Carolina, plugged in to iTunes while the humming vibration of hot asphalt beneath our speeding wheels lulled me into a state of blessed detachment. It was twelve hours of straight driving, which we shared, quickly stopping at random restaurants and rest areas for fast food and bathroom breaks. It’s funny how I view people when I’m on the road. Every face is that of a stranger’s, familiar in a “we live on this planet together” kind of way, yet somehow foreign, weird, or potentially dangerous.
When the world is a stranger I tend to relax more, dragging my rumpled ass into McDonalds with wind blown hair, wrinkled pants, dirty sunglasses, and a coffee stained T-shirt. Who cares what everyone thinks…I’ll never see them again.
It’s a good time to practice my assertiveness training skills, “These fries are cold!” or wear that blonde wig that I’ve been too shy to wear around the people that know me. My dominant Mediterranean genes have gifted me with a bushy unibrow, spiky black leg hairs (capable of scraping the paint off a wrought iron fence) and a healthy crop of arm fuzz long enough for braiding. Who can blame me for wanting to join the likes of Goldilocks, and Goldie Hawn, after all it’s been widely reported that blondes have more fun. I like fun. But no, I’m dark and moody; I could never sport a blonde wig and get away with it. I’d look like a buffalo in drag.
So, I’m writing about random nonsense today when I should be writing about the true meaning of Christmas or how to save Spotted Owls. It’s sort of like being at a three-alarm house fire and reporting on the parking problems caused by the fire-trucks lining the road. This type of writing has it’s place, and I can do it as well as the next guy, yet after a while there’s a certain droning sound that takes over, much like a chatty neighbor reporting on her recent gallbladder surgery…I stare and drool, pretending to listen, but my mind has traveled to a distant galaxy where I’m bungee jumping from the tail of a fiery comet, or dancing a tango across the Big Dipper with God.
I’ve never really fit in with the main stream of things, although I’ve certainly tried. I’ve edited my mouth, attire, and interests, in hopes of fitting in, but I’ve never been able to tame my thoughts. They’re as wild as the Serengeti and always seem to be getting me into trouble. Yet the older I get the less I care about fitting in and I actually enjoy being a bit different.
Where am I going with this post? I don’t know. My muse stayed behind in Savannah for a dancing convention and you’re stuck with me. Consider this my stretching exercise before my inspired performance of The Nutcracker.
Gee, it’s good to be back. I’ve missed you guys.
Posted by Leah Griffith at 7:58 AM