I'll be honest, ever since I was old enough to receive my own money, Christmas has been a tough time for me.
Every year I think, "this is gonna be the year I can afford to buy everyone gifts and give as much as I feel called to give in this season of giving."
And then Christmas time rolls around and I'm wondering how I'm even going to be able to pay for food and bills, let alone use money to buy gifts for others.
Don't get me wrong, I've come a long ways over the years from not even being able to buy food to eat to now at least being able to ponder the thought of making a Christmas dinner for myself and others. But it's still been hard to shake this feeling of guilt associated with not being able to give in the way I want to.
Now, I could take us on a long discourse of how our money system is broken and how this holiday has been hijacked to support a pathologically consumptive, consumerism, capitalistic society, but I feel that that would just be an attempt to rationalize and explain away the very real feelings many of us feel during this time.
The reality is that it sucks feeling like you don't have enough to give when you're barely ale to give to yourself.
But I want to take this a different direction and, in my typical fashion, shed some light on the darkness. And I can only share this because this is exactly what I've had to do for myself to process these feelings and emotions.
Firstly, I've had to realize that this guilt, frustration, and embarrassment is primarily just a product of how my own ego's desire to be regarded as a certain way by other people. In my experience the things that people really want from me are things that could never have a price tag attached to them -- things like time, presence, and connection.
Secondly, I have to constantly remind myself that this is the life that I chose. I chose to create my own path in life instead of following the path that was laid out before me. I accepted the Hero's Journey and all the challenges that come with it. I choose to spend extra money on food and resources that are aligned with my values instead of supporting a system that's rigged against me.
In short, life is challenging any way you go. The question is: Are you going to choose your challenges and own them or are you going to let your challenges choose you and become of victim. I chose the challenge of creating a life that is on my terms. I get to create my own schedule and no one is in charge of my actions except me. If that means that it takes me longer to create an abundance of material wealth then I'll continue to stay patient because I'm in love with the process of it all anyways. I'm fortunate enough to have created a level of freedom in my life that I know most people dream about.
My heart, mind, and soul are already rich, even if my bank account hasn't caught up in the external world. For that I am extremely grateful.
Ultimately, this is the gift I wish to give to the world. Not just on Christmas, but in every second of every day. Because to me, each day I'm here is a holy day.
Blessings to you all.
Nathan "The Present Is The Gift" Barna