O’ Christmas Tree, You’re Fractal-y

The holidays always put me in a mindful mood. When I’m not stressed out about them. There are lots of Christmas mindsets, I think. I fall squarely in the “Santa and church are great, but what I really want is to bask in the love of family near and far” camp. I am also mindful that I work too much and have to be intentional about the love and family part. I generally have to resort to tricks to keep myself from letting tension and worry override the happy relationship-y glow I’m trying to achieve. 

To do this, naturally, I turn to weird science. Meditation sounds great, but I haven’t done that yet that I didn’t fall asleep. And concentrating on my breathing just makes me breathe faster because I’m paying attention. But, there are other random things that work just as well. 

Just for today, use your non-dominant hand for non-critical tasks. Smart people who studied this say brushing teeth, stirring coffee, using a fork, or even opening a door with your other hand can boost your creativity because you’re using both sides of your brain; forcing them to integrate in new ways. It’s also possible it will make you more open minded. Perhaps I could use my non-dominant hand to punch out the person in the express lane with 168 grocery items… but that’s not very Christmas-y of me. 

Apparently, chewing gum is also helpful for stress and concentration. Take that!… every teacher I ever had. Seems the act of continuously chewing stimulates a brain enough to avoid distraction by immediate surroundings. Then again, I’m old, and chewing makes my stomach think there’s food on the way and then I need to distract my brain from reflux. Oh well… next!

Looking at fractals is supposed to calm us. Anything with a pattern; waves, snowflakes, trees, spirals, etc. I agree with that. I think it’s also why adult coloring books are making a comeback. I like watching videos of massive flocks of birds flying in patterns. The how in the world are they doing that pondering is offset by the soothing fluidity of the movement and wishing I could fly too. Maybe next time I try to meditate, I’ll transcend myself into a grackle and hang out on a power line by the HEB, with a few thousand friends, to ponder that. 

One thing I did come up with helps me to be more mindful of what I’m saying. When saying things we say all the time, the meaning kind of gets lost in the recitation. So, I ditch the rhythm and say the words like I would in conversation. 

Say the pledge of allegiance in your head…I’ll wait. 

Did it have a da-DA-da-DA-da-DA-da-DA pattern? Instead of I PLEDGE aLLEGiance, TO the flag, of the uNITed STATEs of aMERica… what I really want to feel is “I pledge  ALLEGIANCE…  to the  FLAGoftheUnitedStatesofAmerica.” Allegiance and the symbol of my great country are top of mind now and I feel good about it. Works with those prayers we learned in Sunday school too; “Thy  WILL  beDoneOnEarth. AS (much as)  ItIsInHeaven”; i.e., you’re still the boss!

Okay, that does make me feel Christmas-y. I’m going to go find some gum and stare at a snowflake. 

Have a wonderful, peaceful, thoughtful holiday…

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