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there is beauty in believing




"At one time most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed it fell silent for all of them.
Though I've grown old the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe."

Chris Van Allsburg
The Polar Express




I can remember vividly a Christmas Eve when I was about five years old. Just like the line from the film The Polar Express, "On Christmas Eve many years ago I laid quietly in my bed. I did not rustle the sheets, I breathed slowly and silently. I was listening for a sound I was afraid I'd never hear: the sound of Santa's sleigh bells." I remember just how it felt, to lie so quiet and still, hoping and hoping I would hear those bells ringing. And... I did! Lying there in bed, in the very first house I can remember living in, I swore I heard sleigh bells. Today all I can say is that I swear I heard what it was that I wanted to hear. 

Though it wasn't long after that that I stopped believing in Santa (which occurred after I cleverly decided to compare my Mom's handwriting on a check to the handwriting in a card from "Santa"...), I'll never forget that night when I believed so much that I heard those sleigh bells. It's one of the few times in my life that I've believed that much, that honestly, and that faithfully. Though I don't believe in that type of Christmas magic anymore, I do believe there is magic in Christmas. However, it's something I don't think, over the years, I've always believed in. 

Like most people, I've had my good holidays and my bad. I've had the years I was super into and the years I thought to myself, "Why in the world do we still do this every single year?" Christmas is one of those things that, though it can bring a lot of happiness, it almost always brings a lot of stress. There are events to attend, packages to wrap. There are gifts to make and errands to run. It can be really overwhelming to suddenly be faced with this time of the year when you have a million extra things to do. And don't even get me started on what it's like to be alone at Christmas. Total bummer. Let's face it -- Christmas can be rough. But, year after year, so many of us keep doing it. We keep wrapping the gifts and singing the songs and telling the same silly stories over and over again. We love it. Why? Because we believe

We believe there's something completely and utterly magical about Christmas. We believe in Christmas miracles, in Christmas stories. We believe that even the same ratty old decorations are beautiful. We believe that the same verses sung over and over again can still sound magical. We believe in glitter and tinsel and the idea that maybe -- just maybe -- this will be the very best Christmas of all. Sometimes it seems like a miracle in and of itself that we believe all of this, especially as adults. It's one thing for children, in their sweet innocence, to see the magic in Christmas, but, for us adults it can be a little bit harder. Yet we still do it. We still, after all of these years -- the good Christmases and the bad, the disastrous holidays and the magical ones -- believe. 

When I think about that night, so many years ago, when I was lying in bed and listening so hard for Santa's sleigh, I'm amazed. I'm amazed that my mind could play such tricks on me. And I'm even more amazed that, looking back on it, I'm actually happy that my mind did that. Normally I'd be against thinking logically, especially when thinking about myself in a critical stage of development as I was at the age of five, but, in this case, magic trumps logic. When it comes to Christmas, especially to a childhood Christmas, believing wins out over rationalizing every single time. 

There have been moments in my life when I've reflected on that Christmas and thought to myself, "What an idiot I was! How could I really have thought I heard sleigh bells!?" I realize now that that reaction was not anger at myself, but fear -- fear that I really could believe in something so much that I could create it in my mind. This fear of believing in something so fiercely that I can transform it into a reality has held me back for many years. I've spent a long, long time being afraid of believing. I've spent years afraid to believe in myself, afraid to believe in others, afraid to believe in ideas that I knew could be made real. 

This year I've finally begun to get a little bit of that five-year-old self back. This year I've once again begun believing. While I may not be lying in bed imagining sleigh bells, I'm still that same little girl, flat on her back, believing in something so much that she makes it a reality. I may not believe in Santa, but this year I've discovered that I still believe in myself. It's been a crazy, whirlwind of a year, but I've come to find what I always knew to be true... There is still, and always will be, great beauty in believing.

Comments

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Awesome, Dani! I actually do not wrap presents, I do not sing songs and I do not tell or listen to the same stories. I pretty much treat Christmas as any other day of the year. Sure, I hang out with loved ones and have fun, but other than that it's pretty normal. Although there still is something magical going on, maybe it's just the fact that everyone's a bit happier and nicer?

Merry C, Dani! :)

Henri - Even if you don't do some of the things that are "typical" on Christmas, it's still pretty magical having everyone around having fun. Have a happy Christmas! :)

I think its great you have awesome content soooooo abundantly Dani ! you give and give and its great =)

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Dani!!

Wonderful post.You've described the magic of believing with such elegance!! Thanks :)

I love this post! I love the idea of magic and hope that it can be spread out through the year. There is great wisdom in the inner child, and I believe :)

This, my dear Dani, is truly beautiful. By far, this is my favorite post you've ever written. I believe in magic, Dani, because I know you, and your soul is magical. Your way with words, your sheer determination to be positively present, your kindness...all of it is true magic. I know this because it is all borne out of love, and what is love, if not magic?

Beautiful story Dani, thank you for sharing!

We never had the typical believing in Santa Christmas. But when I have a family, I'd make my kids believe in Santa for as long as I can. :)

-meream

The problem with growing up is that we forget to believe anymore. You know what? For the rest of my life I will never forget when I was young, about seven years old, when Christmas was a very magical time. It's like a fairy tale, every moment was full of anticipation.

I'm just confused where has that feeling of faith and believing has gone. I guess that when we add years to our life, we start to deteriorate, if not foolish. :-)

Rocky - Thank you! I'm so glad you appreciate that. I lovvvve to write and it feels so great to now be sharing my words with the world. Thanks for commenting and supporting PP!

Soul Hiker - Merry Christmas to you too! :) I'm so happy you thought the post was wonderful. That means a lot to me. Hope your holiday was magical!

Donica - Thanks! I agree that our inner children are very wise and it would benefit us greatly to listen to them more often and to spread magic and hope all year!

Jay - What a wonderful comment, Jay! You brightened my day with your words and I'm so happy to know that you believe in magic too. There really is magic all around us if we just look for it. It makes me so happy to know that you see magic in me! :)

Lana - You're welcome! Thank you so much for your kind comment!

Meream - Haha, I'm not sure how I really feel about the whole "believing in Santa" thing. To me, it seems a little cruel to build up this idea and then take it away. I don't remember it really ever bothering me as a kid because I really just cared about the presents, but I know for some kids it's really heartbreaking.

Walter - Yes, that's so true. So many grown-ups no longer believe (even in themselves!) and this can making having magic in their lives very difficult. A childhood Christmas is a magical thing and it would be great if we could hang on to that idea of believing as adults.

You don't ever have to grow out of believing in joy!

Merry Christmas, Dani.

Hayden - That's so true! Believing in good things is something we should ALWAYS do. Merry Christmas to you too, Hayden! :)

Hey Dani!

First time commenter, but since I see you comment everywhere and you show up on my twitterstream all the time I figured I'd march on down here and see what you're all about :)

So I read this wonderful Christmas post - finally, a holiday post with soul and ACTUAL content, not some half-baked holiday-themed idea - and realized this: Christmas is a fountain of youth. It brings back glorious childhood memories and brings people together in what is really a celebration of youth - why else would we persist with the reindeer and the carols and Santa Claus and gift wrapping if that were not the case? It's an ode to childhood wonder and joy.

And THAT, my friends, is something worth celebrating. When we grow up (I'm not truly grown up yet, but whatever) we start to become *afraid* of believing in anything. We become jaded. We lose that zest and passion for life, because we have nothing to believe in (and, comment readers, that "something" to believe in does not have to be religion). But maybe, just maybe, we should look at the world through a child's eyes again and reclaim that sense of wonder that is often missing from our lives.

Obviously, your post inspired me. And for that, you get a hearty "Merry Christmas!"

Keep up the good work, Dani.

I think I still believe in good things (or at least I hope I do). Its kind of amazing how far a little bit of belief can get you in life.

Brett - Hi! Thanks so much for commenting! :) I'm so glad you liked this post. Christmas is an awesome time of year and so many people love to write about it. When I first started thinking about what I wanted to write, I was a little bit overwhelmed since there are so many elements of the holiday season I could discuss. I ended up deciding to just sit down and write and see what came out. I'm so happy to hear that it inspired you because after writing it I felt pretty inspired too. Revisiting my childhood memories of believing really helped me to recall how important the act of believing is and it's something I need to keep in mind as I go through life as an adult. Thanks again for sharing your insights here! Great to have you as a commenter!

Anthony - It really IS amazing what a little bit of belief can get you, especially when it comes to the good things. I find that the more I believe in the good things, the more I see them all around (and within!) me. It's pretty awesome! Thanks for your comment!

I too believe there is magic in Christmas, and I like the ambiance it brings this time of year.

J.D. - Christmas really IS magical! I hope you had a great one -- and a very Happy New Year!

Roll with the energy as it flows. To give up resisting changes how you experience physical existence. May you continue to make choices that enable you to feel good and appreciate your true self. It all comes back to discernment, unconditional love and recognizing the temporary roles you play for the purpose of learning. Nemaste!

Liara - Very good point. When you don't accept what is and resist what is happening, it's very hard to find peace or happiness. I really love what you wrote about unconditional love and recognizing our temporary roles in this life. Great comment. Thanks!

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