Living in the Moment at the Holidays --By Rolf Kotar
When very ill, I saw a social worker who counseled me that Zen Buddhist masters say, "It has taken everything in my life to bring me to where I am now." If true, inside, we are a sum of all our past experience. Almost all of us fill our heads with constant chatter. Most people are unable to acknowledge what's really happening within and around us. All too soon, we realize we are at life's end. We all are going to die, yet we haven't lived. People with disabilities sometimes are more conscious than others. We seem to be more aware as a group we can die at any time. Yes, some of us are depressed and aren't enjoying life. Many authors have written about creating ""self-talk" inside each of us in which our "real selves converse" with an entity representing our death. These writers say, "Death is a very positive reality. In considering it daily, we realize how precious our lives are and even how we can each improve it, finding more joy. Death isn't always a dark reality. For some only on traditionally joyous occasions like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year's celebrations are we truly overflowing with positive feelings and living in the present. At this time, we glow inside and don't initiate conflict. Doctoral candidate in cultural anthropology Carlos Casteñada (author of the Tales of Don Juan book series) says upon considering our demise, we can each choose to be happier overall.
Some of us people with disabilities have a clearer picture of life. We accept the completely natural reality of death. Everything living dies. People in various cultures worldwide espouse that the old year is "dead" and the coming new year will actually give life! Death is the end of a cycle of all natural species on Earth. The most crucial idea is what one does with this awareness. Is a person who knows they're not going to wake up the next morning going to celebrate the day as if it was a New Year's celebration, relishing every moment? Especially we older citizens know there's no percentage in filling our lives with meaningless behavior. For this reason we are happier than others who are taking life for granted. This is a reason we people at CCDC fight for our rights with determination to ameliorate our own and other's lives. Happiness is truly a daily possibility for most people, even people with one or more significant disabilities. We don't have to wait for "our good" to come to us on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or New Year's Day! Giving to others seems a requirement for happiness. Does one give only for the big celebrations? At this year's holiday time, would you consider giving away time and work effort to enrich another's and your own life? I've heard the catch phrase, "give the Heaven within you." With feelings, giving positive energy will create more inside and in people around one. Why limit the flow of abundance in and through one's life to the holiday season?
CCDC has been the most important resource for me outside my family for many years. It would be a tremendous loss if I had not had the privilege of working there. Please remember CCDC now, if not at others times. As an agency, we've done our best to help as many people as possible. Whatever you give will be certain to make a difference. Please keep CCDC in mind.