I've been battling negative thoughts ever since the Christmas Season started.
Christmas has lost its magic for me ever since our kids grew up. Fred and I won't be able to see Jake and Nick again this year. That sucks. We really like them and miss them a lot.
I try to counter these feelings with all kinds of positive messages: "at least you got to see them in September"; "at least you have kids who want to see you"; "you still get to spend the holidays with Fred and Sasha and our super sweet pups"; "so many people have it worse", "you can always SKYPE".
I'm a terrible listener.
Feelings are feelings. They want out. There's no zooming past them and pretending they don't exist. The best I can do is to acknowledge that they're real and try to feel them without wallowing. Then I do my best to encourage myself (this can mean dragging myself kicking and screaming) to take steps to discover new joys and appreciate and enjoy the ones that remain.
doing things for others – the old "it's better to give than to receive" adage
attending festive events
decorating and making stuff
and listening to music
Right now, Christmas Carols are pissing me off. Those other activities were just mechanical. I did them. But they didn't effect my mood.
This morning, something made me happy. Really, really happy.
I called Fred to share. He choked and told me that he had tears in his eyes when I read it to him.
Here it is... our most recent customer review:
"I recently discovered this great company at a fair in Toronto. I had been looking literally everywhere (including on-line) for a month for a rug for a bedroom and couldn't find one I liked. This company had several I loved. They carry a wide variety of quality rugs, wall hangings, wool blankets etc... all unique. Some of the products are designed and beautifully made by one of the owners. They even carry a line of gorgeous soft rugs, totally washable and made from recycled plastic. The owners are super friendly, knowledgable and accommodating. I ended up buying an awesome rug, wool blanket and some compact, reusable grocery bags. I love them all! Well done, Mad Matters!"
This client SAW us. She understood who we are and what we are trying to accomplish. She didn't just buy a mat. She invested in some quality products that we curated with care. She appreciated our commitment to providing great service even when one of us is in a piss head mood. She too embraced Ann Michaels' imperative... "Make necessity beautiful. Make beauty necessary." And she cared enough about the environment and social responsibility to pay the extra few dollars that these priorities cost.
Fred and I took on a little too much this year. Our KICKSTARTER campaign was exhausting. And expensive. We're very proud of what we accomplished, but it's been frustrating and sad that we have not received any media attention for our sponsorship of "Homes for Heroes". Our most popular post occurred the day that I got Bryan Bauemler to take a photo in front of our Calgary display. Person after person misunderstood that post. Commenters thanked and credited Bryan for our work. We succeeded in getting great publicity for a celebrity and failed to get it for our own business's charitable venture! Them's the breaks.
On the heals of three other substantial charitable donations for which we barely even got a "thank you" (NSDs came right out and told us that our $350+ worth of mats was "too small a donation" for them to give us a formal thank you and that they weren't in the business of promoting businesses with a shout out on social media), it's understandable that our emotional and financial wells were tapped.
It didn't take much to change that.
Some kind words from a stranger.
Thank you "Julie".