OK, I admit it, I love seeing my kids wake up Christmas morning to a pile of gifts under the Christmas tree. This is especially true for my youngest this year, as it’s probably the last year that santa comes down the chimney. Luckily for me, my girls are pretty simple and practical when it comes to their Christmas gift list. Sure, there remain a few toys listed for the younger one but, in general, the list is filled with a few clothes items, pajamas, and maybe a couple of books. Many times they have written things like “hugs and kisses”. One of the cutest things on the letter to santa this year was, ‘please put something in mommy’s stocking this year’. With all of this said, many times what I hear from them is, “You don’t need to get me anything mom. I don’t need/want anything.” What many people don’t realize from that statement, is that is a greater gift, for them, than any present under the tree could ever be. The gift of not wanting and the freedom it brings with it.
Have you ever had the experience of being perfectly content in the moment; completely at peace with everything just as it is? No desire to change anything, not wanting anything to be different from the way it is? What is missing during those moments of perfect contentment? Part of the euphoria in getting something new, be it a television, a piece of jewelry, a new pair of pants, a new job etc., is that, for a short time afterwards, the wanting is gone. The “want” is fulfilled. This brings contentment. Then, after a while, that fades and another want or desire takes its place. Have you noticed? Have you ever lost yourself in a movie and when the movie is over you feel great? What happened during that time? You lost yourself enough to stop putting demands on the moment. For that time you were lost in the lives of the people on the screen, you didn’t want anything different for yourself. Once those moments are over it’s usually not long before you are back to wanting to change things again. I want an ice cream cone. I must have that new shirt. I want that lady over there to stop talking so loudly. I want there to be no traffic on my drive home. I want my husband to pay more attention to me. I want my kids to be quiet. I want a bigger house. I want a new IPhone. I want. I want. I want. Heavy. That’s how I feel when I even think about putting a demand on the moment. It feels heavy, because it’s not freedom. It’s a trap, and one most people find themselves in, many without even knowing it.
So, when my girls tell me that I don’t need to get them anything because there is nothing they need/want is a greater gift for them than any present ever could be. To be free from constantly wanting something is just that, it’s free. You are no longer bogged down or pulled along in life based on wants. Day-to-day activities are not weighed down by wanting anything to be different than it is. Wants may be fulfilled and bring you peace for a short time, but will ALWAYS be replaced by new wants….unless you stop. It is possible to stop. Be perfectly happy with everything just as it is. When you do that, you will eventually see, that you will get more than you ever wanted because everything you need is simply provided, right here and now.
This morning (prompting today’s post), when a coworker asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I answered, “the gift to continue to not want anything”, I got one heck of a strange look. She turned and began telling another girl how her husband had better get her the vacuum she saw over the weekend and new sheets for the bed or he was going to be in trouble. Needless to say, I was smiling, she wore a frown.
This one’s for you Kate. It’s not too late to ask for the gift of not wanting for Christmas.