|Season of Beauty|
No matter what you celebrate come this time of year, I thought this recipe might come in handy. You don't need to be a master chef and the ingredients can be found in most people's homes. And what's best is that everyone can enjoy it, regardless of dietary constraints. So what is it?
Consider it a gift from me to you. :)
(GF, DF, V, rSF, SF)
1. Start with genuine smiles. These may be hard to find at first, but trust that they're there. When in doubt, look where you least expect them.
2. Smiles and hugs are often found in combo packs. For best results, hug heart-to-heart for at least 7 seconds. The longer the better (although there is a point of diminishing returns...).
3. Eye contact may also seem elusive and difficult at first. But with enough courage, you will find it. Use it wisely once you do - it's quite powerful.
4. Laughter of any sort works here: chortles, belly laughs, guffaws, snorts, giggles, brays, or my favorite, the silent laugh. Use this ingredient liberally. Not only is it known for it's stress-relieving properties, but it's also said to slow, and even reverse, aging.
5. The warmth that I'm referring to does not come from a fireplace, a space heater, or a stove (although they are helpful to have around this time of year). You can find this warmth in the way people talk, the way they swiftly move towards each other for a hug, a handshake, or a kiss, or in the flourish of a signature at the bottom of a holiday card. This is a key ingredient, so do your best not to leave it out or substitute.
6. Relaxation. [sigh]. This is an especially challenging one and may require some effort at first. Render this from deep, soul-searching breathes, a mindful intention of enjoying each moment for what it is, and a goal of finding balance and compassion in your life. If you render too much, simply save the rest for a rainy day.
7. Singing by yourself is great, but it's even better with those you hold dear. And pitch is totally optional, believe it or not. Seeking perfection actually diminishes the beauty of this ingredient.
8. When all previous ingredients have been combined, infuse with nostalgia. This is what will make this recipe uniquely yours. Fond memories, looking through old photos, eating favorite foods from your childhood, or reuniting with people you haven't seen in much too long are great places to find this. Take your time with this step. The less you rush, the better.
9. Before serving, garnish with Love. And I'm not talking about a pretty little swirl or splash of color. Go to town. Love for family and friends, Love for yourself, and Love for the people you've never met. We often look for love in others, but Love is actually always within us, waiting to be shared and discovered. Without Love, this recipe simply doesn't work.
10. Makes as many servings as you want. What you put into it is what you get out of it. There will definitely be leftovers, so be sure to have people take some home with them. It's best kept in the heart and soul, where it will it last for as long as you want it to.
|Festive Fu Dogs, guarding a holiday card from my family.|
Enjoy this recipe and be sure to share it, not only with the people you know, but even the people that you don't. And feel free to make it your own - this is a basic recipe and is definitely open to interpretation. Find the Happiness that works for you. And though I'm referring to it as 'Holiday' Happiness, this can be enjoyed any time of year, regardless of season, occasion, or the people you surround yourself with.
Happiness is a priceless gift, that can't be bought or disguised with a pretty bow. Offer it to others with no conditions or expectations, especially when you see it lacking in someone else's life. Because once the light of true Happiness begins to shine in your heart, no matter how much you give away, it will always find its way back.