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A mindset of scarcity vs generosity of spirit

Not to get ahead of ourselves here, but I’m going to talk about Christmas for a moment.

On Thanksgiving night, after we’ve hugged all the aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents goodbye and it’s just me, Rob and the kids, we always, always, always watch “Home Alone.” Once the dishwasher’s running, we all gather around and somebody hits play. Watching that movie is the official start of the Christmas season for us. Not sure when it started, but it’s now a much-anticipated event.

The second movie we watch, and probably the Christmas movie we enjoy most of all, is “The Muppet Christmas Carol.” There’s something so endearing about this version of the story you’ve heard a thousand times. It’s a musical, with Michael Caine playing Ebenezer Scrooge, Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit, and naturally Miss Piggy as his wife. It’s funny and sweet, in a way that no other version I’ve ever seen of it is.

As we all know, the central theme to the story is that Scrooge learns to open his heart to others, finding love through kindness, empathy and generosity. Before his ghostly visitations, he’d spent his whole life shrewdly guarding his money and possessions at the expense of relationships and even happiness.

It is a mindset of scarcity.

When we’re afraid that someone will take what we have, or that what we have will run out and there will be no more, we operate just as Scrooge did. We become guarded, territorial, defensive, shut off. It’s a feeling of powerlessness and fear, and as Scrooge learned, it’s no way to live.

When I was fat (sorry if that word offends you; I was) I often felt this way.

It seemed like there wasn’t enough time, there wasn’t enough support, and there wasn’t enough money. I felt desperate to hang on to what little I had of each. I often felt overwhelmed by my responsibilities and obligations. That anxiety I stuffed down with food. Eventually that pattern lead to my becoming morbidly obese and then guess what??? That too made me feel guarded and defensive.

Sometimes I think we turn to food as a way to get a little something for ourselves when we feel frustration in other areas of our lives. We’re trapped in a job we hate, or we’re plagued by medical concerns, or we’re overwhelmed by the stresses of our everyday lives.

When we’re running on empty, when pleasure and kindness and peace are scarcities in our lives, some of us turn to food to fill that void.

But food is just a quick fix, and a really bad one at that. That was the endless loop I was in for more than 20 years.

Instead, what I’ve found is that practicing self-care, learning forgiveness and cultivating a spirit of generosityin addition to all of the good eating and exercise habits that I do day in and day out – makes all the difference in find a life of joy, gratitude and balance.

Of course, Bob Cratchit is the real hero of “The Christmas Carol” because he has demonstrated this all along. He knows that by sharing what you have with others it is given back to you tenfold.

Huh, who knew you could learn all of that from a frog?

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