Christmas is over. A sigh of relief or despair that it was so shortlived?
On Monday, I went to Sainbury’s to do the last minute shopping for stuff I’d forgotten, cream, sellotape, stuffing, batteries and was caught up in the crazy pre Christmas mania, buying drink I didn’t want and food I didn’t need.
On entering the store, a lovely man gave me a printed ticket from the local food bank with a list of things most required. The election over and here we are with this reality, something that a new government might have targeted to correct but not the one we got.
I had despaired on hearing the election results, honestly, I couldn’t understand how English people could vote for what Theresa May herself had once called ‘The Nasty Party.’ The only difference between then and now was the party had gotten a whole lot nastier and people were focused on one thing and one thing only and it wasn’t the damage caused by ten years of austerity policies.
However, walking round the shop, grabbing my few bits and putting tins of beans, lentils, peaches and jars of coffee in the trolley I noticed there were many other people clutching the same printed list and gathering their donations too.
The young guy at the check out helped me carry my stuff to the food bank collection point and I walked out. My brother phoned just as I was putting my things in the car and I started to tell him about all the wonderful people with their lists in hand, walking round the supermarket, doing their bit to help bring people some comfort this Christmas.
I could barely speak, I got so choked up about it. As I said to him, it gave me hope for humankind that people recognised the need of others and gave so readily.
I had been really down about the election result, I couldn’t believe that people were so willing to allow poverty on a scale not seen in the UK in decades to continue and increase but here, pre Christmas in a supermarket, I saw the decency, the generosity, the christian spirit so lacking in our government in the people asking staff where long life milk was shelved and scooping up jars of jam and marmalade to donate.
So what now? Christmas is over, food bank use is still on the rise and there are more children living in poverty here than at any time in modern history. Homelessness is a growing appalling crisis, and more people than ever are in insecure, poorly paid jobs with the huge imbalance between poor workers and rich investors in some of the most highly valued and profitable companies in the world.
So, now what? How can you keep going? Doesn’t it seem frivolous and self indulgent to think about self care, courses on Loving Yourself First , on spending money to help yourself feel better about your life when there are so many people so much worse off?
I’m struggling with that a bit right now. How can I ask people to pay for a course of hypnotherapy for clearing their blocks to living the happy, healthy life they’re entitled to when other people are barely holding on to a roof over their heads and some not even that?
Does it make me selfish to want to have a nice life, a beautiful home in a beautiful place, a successful career, friends and family celebrating together when others have so little?
Should I wish for less for myself? Would that even out the imbalance?
Well, no, it doesn’t does it. It’s not as if I’m running a global corporation worth billions and not paying taxes. I’m not. I’m one person doing her best to pay her bills and serve her clients and build a nice, well lived life.
I give, I donate, I’ve volunteered in the past and plan to do more in 2020. I am allowed my piece of the pie and I can share it if I want to, but first, I get to have the pie and then I decide what I keep and what I donate.
There are many of us, and I think it’s mostly women who freeze in the face of success, thinking, who are we to have the things we want when there are so many out there who need.
What I know, even when I’m doing this questioning, is that my success, my having the things I want and making the money I plan to make in 2020 will not stop the relentless march of the poor and unfortunate. What I can do is use my gifts and the money I make to help. Money not made is of no help at all.
Christmas is all over, now what? Now its time to do more. More work, more online courses, more clients, more sharing what I know to help people and more giving and donating. The more I make, the more I can give.
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and it was spent exactly how you wanted it to be, whether alone or surrounded by people. Remember, the important thing is that you love yourself first.
And soon we will be giving a warm welcome to a new year. Do more. More of what fills you up with joy, more of what makes you light up, make more connections with people. Be more you, because that’s what the world needs, all of us being our true selves and showing our hearts and minds to the world.
Love you all,