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December's Hungry Ghosts

This time of year, there’s a swell of scurrying and shopping, spending and socializing. The flurry of activity feels like an itch that just quite can’t be scratched. And that’s because it really can’t.

We think that when we can check off our list of goals we had in 2022 by December 31, we’ll feel good about ourselves and that we’re enough. We think that if we find that “perfect” gift for others, they’ll love and appreciate us. Or if we receive that “perfect” gift from someone, or they say the words we long to hear, we’ll (finally) feel loved and seen. If we can somehow fit in all the holiday parties and fancy dinners, we’ll feel joy. And if we “do” enough for everyone, we’re worthy.

The interesting thing about all of this is that the very thing we think will give us what we want isn’t what we actually want. What we want is the feeling state we believe it will bring. What we want is to feel:

- Enough

- Loved

- Appreciated

- Seen

- Joyful

- Worthy

If we expect things, circumstances or other people’s words and actions to provide that, we’ll be perpetually chasing it and never feel satiated. It’s like empty calories. We feel full for a short snippet of time, and then we’re hungry again.

Buddhist, Taoist, Hindu, Sikh and Jain texts call this the Hungry Ghost, which are beings that are tormented by desire that can never be sated. They are driven by intense emotional needs in an animalistic way. I believe this concept aptly describes our American culture and is most represented by the Christmas season more than any other time of year.

The more we chase all the things and desires of others, the further away the feeling state gets.

So, let’s stop running. Let’s stop scurrying, spending and seeking it outside ourselves.

Let’s use this time to go within and do our internal work and processing. Let’s reconnect with our inner child, who before words and rules, was a firecracker of joy and play. Let’s spend time in stillness and contemplation to remember the parts of ourselves that are (of course!) loveable, worthy and enough. Let’s see ourselves for the light that we are and appreciate the gift that we already are to the world (and have been all along!).

If you do this out in Nature, she'll support you and this process. She'll remind you of who you are. Let her be your partner and your hibernation den to curl up in.

May you always feel enough, loved, appreciated, seen, joyful and worthy.

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