As the expertly crafted pumpkins are discarded and Dads finish off the last of the Trick or Treat sweets their beloved little Draculas/witches/dead cheerleaders/axe murders (really?) collected on Halloween, waiting in the wings is Bonfire Night……….or maybe not. Guy Fawkes maybe one of the first would-be terrorists we know of and his foiled plot was pretty impressive (CIA, I’m kidding) – but our fascination with fireworks seems to be diminishing, especially when you hear them going off all year round – New Year’s Eve celebrations are nothing to many of us without those anticipated ear-busting bangs at midnight, dogs everywhere scurrying off to a safe corner to tremble into January 1st once again.
Christmas is the ‘main event’ after Halloween; we have scarcely sighed with relief as the endless parade of ghouls, ghosts and serial killer outfits are removed from shop windows, than the yuletide consumer-fest is, it seems, unveiled overnight. We are currently enjoying unseasonably warm weather (climate change is real, I assure you….but that’s a whole other story/blog) so to be met in a store by festively decorated pine trees and Bing Crosby crooning about his hopes for an Arctic deluge is nothing short of bizarre when I’m still wearing t-shirts. Has it always been like this? I think maybe it has, for a long time anyway; I distinctly remember gasping in disbelief at some very beautiful (and expensive) Christmas decorations sitting alongside garden chairs and parasols in an upmarket department store…….in August. That was more than thirty years ago, those halcyon days of the 80’s when hairspray and shoulder pads were more important than life itself (and not just for the men).
I think it’s important to live ‘in the moment’ even for just a few minutes every day. Mindfulness (a mental state achieved by concentrating on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings) is becoming more popular with classes running nationwide and a recognition of the exercise and it’s health benefits being proven. Sounds good to me, but for the cynical perhaps it’s a bit too ‘New Age’. If that is you, please bear with me………
Whatever your views on mindfulness, living in the moment makes perfect sense. Of course, we have to plan for the future and organize our lives in order to obtain some sort of structure but it is also important not to allow our lives to forge ahead at breakneck speed as we hurtle from one ‘festival’ to another. This isn’t the easiest thing to do considering the constant bombardment of our senses imploring us to buy ‘stuff’. Any ‘stuff’, just as long as we buy it; from Easter eggs on New Year’s Day to Christmas cards on balmy September Saturdays. The advertisers cleverly have us thinking about the next big event far too prematurely, so mindfulness in my opinion is becoming more and more a necessary part of our lives. It works for me anyway!