Journey 332: Christmas Possibilities

I moved my Artist Date to today, since I have a birthday to celebrate tomorrow in Oklahoma. And this is also Small Business Saturday, when consumers are encouraged to Shop Small, Shop Local. I decided to combine my date with myself with a little Christmas shopping, and conclude the afternoon with one of my favorite activities. 


I was proud of myself that I got out today. It was cold and rainy and otherwise known as a perfect day to stay home and sip hot tea. I did that yesterday! I refuse to have a “date” at home. It would be too easy for me to rent a DVD and watch it in the comfort of my bedroom and call it good. So I layered on warm clothes and off we went, my inner artist and me, to support a couple of small local businesses and experience Christmas joy. 
My first stop was Blue Moon Boutique, located at 613 S Main Street in Joplin. I love this unique little shop that is marketed as a “modern boutique with a vintage soul”. The store  carries trendy clothes, accessories, gifts and home decor. And it is always so beautifully merchandised. Christmas items were all 50% off today. I carried out some lovely purchases that will look delightful in my home. 


My next stop was Gourmets, a kitchen and more store, located at 2800 S Main. This is another shop that I love to wander through. There is a plethora of kitchen accessories and gadgets, plus home decor and specialty items such as coffees, teas and soup and dip mixes. I happily crossed some items off my Christmas list here and enjoyed chatting with one of the owners. 

My inner artist graciously allowed me another stop to pick up a couple of gifts and then, thoroughly chilled, I opted to drive through Starbucks for a venti hot chocolate and a slice of gingerbread loaf. How festive is that? I didn’t mind the long line of cars, any more than I mind lines in the stores this time of year. There’s a camaraderie among us as we shop and  then wait in line to pay. People were in high spirits and chatty, which I loved. I heard about a pumpkin pie failure for Thanksgiving dinner and sugar intolerance, forgetful parents and decisions about a grandchild’s gifts, all from strangers. 


I carried my hot chocolate and slice of gingerbread loaf into the mall and settled into a comfy leather chair near the Santa Village. This was what I had been looking forward to all afternoon. Sitting among the bustle of shoppers laughing and moving in and out of stores and visiting Santa, while I engaged in a lifelong pleasure: people watching. I have been since childhood, a keen observer of people. I knew my creative child would enjoy this. 

The energy was high here as well. I loved watching parents with their kids as they approached a very authentic looking Santa, garbed in his red suit, with beautiful gray hair and a real, luxurious beard. Most of the kids were excited to see the jolly old elf. Even older kids called out to him and waved as they walked by, too old, they thought, to sit with him, but still young enough to notice him. I most enjoyed a young couple with a 9 month old baby girl. She was not going to cooperate with sitting on a stranger’s lap. She tightly clutched her daddy’s arm and leaned away from Santa, while her mom spoke to her in a high voice with exaggerated facial expressions, “Ooohhh look…it’s Santa!! Want to see him? Santa! Let’s see Santa!” Momma didn’t convince Baby, or Dad. They walked away. 

After a leisurely time of people watching while I sipped my hot chocolate, I stood to join the crowds and make another purchase. It was as I was preparing to leave the mall that I got a strong nudge to make one more stop. New pajamas came to mind. For me. Ah. On the way to Starbucks I had driven through the parking lot of a store, with the intention of looking for an item for myself. Not for the house. Not a Christmas present for a family member. For me. I never parked the car. I decided this was not the time to get something for myself and drove away. Now my creative child, my inner artist was getting my attention. 


When I get home in the evenings, the first thing I do is change into comfy pjs and soft fuzzy socks. That’s my home attire. I have to admit it’s been three or more years since I bought new pjs. While very comfy, the two sets that I have are decidedly worn. What a lovely thought, to purchase a new pair. I walked into JC Penney with the idea that I’d only buy a new pair of pajamas if I could find something decadent for under $20. I was being agreeable, going with the idea, but adding a condition. In hindsight, I didn’t need to do that. I’m learning. 

I found a beautiful, incredibly soft, warm pair of pajamas, in light gray and pink. Normally $54, today they were $14.99. I laughed. And I added two pairs of soft gray socks for $2.50 each. All for under $20, and barely over with tax. I’m enjoying the snuggly pj’s at home now. Thank you Little Cindy. 

I read Week Five in the Artist’s Way this evening, curious if my date today connected at all with the upcoming chapter. Called Recovering a Sense of Possibilty, this chapter is full of amazing truths, and explores how we might curtail our own possibilities by placing a limit on the good we can receive. There’s much to digest in Week Five and things I’ll share about later. These words caught my eyes: “We are stingy with ourselves.” Yes, I used to be very stingy with myself, and even today I held back. But my creativity is awakening, my awareness raising, and I’m listening to God and my inner child. I’m learning not to hold back. 

Journey 331: Messages from My Future and Past Selves

Today, with its steady rainfall and cool temps, was the perfect day for remaining snugly indoors. I love days like this, when I can write and color and work on projects. One of the most interesting things that I did today was an assignment from week four in The Artist’s Way. The instructions were labeled Time Travel. That caught my interest immediately. I was told to imagine myself as an 80 year old and have her write a message to my current self. And then to remember myself as an 8 year old and have her send me a message as well. 


I got out of my own way, envisioned myself at 80, still vibrant and in love with life and wrote her words to me, without overthinking. 

“Be yourself. Those things you long to do? Do them. What are you waiting for? You are already learning that as you think about what you want, and take that first step toward it, the Divine sets the whole universe in motion, in response to your heart felt desire. Keep opening to what is possible. Love, without conditions and without holding back. And never stop being curious. Curiosity is your ticket to your greatest adventures. I know! I’ve experienced them. You will too. You create an amazing life for yourself, by following your heart, by allowing life to unfold for you. For that I thank you. ” 


And then I remembered myself at eight. I connected with that young girl, whose future still loomed before her, and let her speak to me. As has happened lately, whenever I think of my childhood, tears fill my eyes. 

“Hello! It’s weird to think that I will ever be as old as you are now. Did I grow up to be a good person, a nice woman? Am I still afraid? Or did I outgrow my fears? I wish you could tell me. I hope I have figured out how to make it through a long dark night without being afraid. It’s funny to think about giving you advice. But here goes. 

Play. You hopefully still have a big imagination. Use it. Have fun every day. Write. You make sense of your world by writing about it. Use good words. Love. Relationships change. People come and go. Don’t be afraid to love because you fear loss. Love anyway, with all your heart. Be brave. You don’t have to understand everything. Accept who you are. Remember when you were very, very young? There was no fear then. There was wonder. There was fascination. Feel those things. It’s okay to share your feelings. 

Enjoy your times of being by yourself. But don’t forget to be with family and friends too. You get lost in yourself when you spend too much time alone. I hope you are cool! I don’t want to grow up to be an embarrassment. And write me sometime. I could use the encouragement that the path I’m on gets me somewhere that I want to be.”

I found these exercises to be amazing. I could imagine a twinkle in the eyes of my older self. My eight year old self especially had a lot to say. I paged through a photo album, looking for a picture of myself at that age. I studied my baby pictures and saw joy there. I looked into my own eyes as a young child, and saw sadness there, in some of those pics. I saw a guardedness that I’ve never noticed before. 

We have unfinished business, my inner child and me. I think I’ll take her suggestion, and write to her.