Archive for January, 2018

January 9, 2018

Gifts

by lisa st john

“Who is that pretty mask for?”IMG_0018
“For me.”
“You can give yourself presents?”
“Yes. We have to give ourselves presents.”
“Why?”
“To tell the universe how grateful we are.”

“I’m telling Santa.”

If giving feels so good, why don’t we give ourselves gifts more often? And why do we give people gifts on their birthdays? We should give the gifts to their moms, no?

ɡift/
noun
1. a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present. “a Christmas gift”
synonyms: present, handout, donation, offering, bestowal, bonus, award, endowment; More
2. a natural ability or talent. “he has a gift for comedy”
synonyms:talent, flair, aptitude, facility, knack, bent, ability, expertise, capacity, capability, faculty; More

IMG_0020

I am Cleo, and I will be around 21 years old this August.

My old cat wakes up sometimes and yowls like a B horror movie beast. I think she wakes up and wonders where she is, who she is, and why she is still here. But what do I know? Cats can get senile I am told. I give her the gift of gabapentin; she’s lucky I don’t put it in my coffee instead.

The “gift-giving season” is a diabolical (irony intended) stressor. So this year I gave my family flowers. Bouqs was a hit for out of town people, but I like my local florist best. They are artists (gifted, if you will). The Green Cottage is like no other florist/store/magic place. For them it’s not just about making money–it’s about sharing beauty; and that is a gift we can give ourselves every single day. Like Blake said, it’s all about seeing … “a World in a Grain of Sand / And a Heaven in a Wild Flower.” The following two images are both extraordinarily beautiful to me. Why? In “The Neuroscience of Beauty,” authors Steven Brown and Xiaoqing Gao say that:
As much as philosophers like to believe that our brains contain a specialized system for the appreciation of artworks, research suggests that our brain’s responses to a piece of cake and a piece of music are in fact quite similar.

Louie Schwartzberg says that “We protect what we fall in love with.” Watch this video and see what he means.

 

 

The gifts we give ourselves are right here, right now.

I am on the hunt for the perfect, secular word for “grateful” and/or “blessed.” Please let me know if you find it. “Lucky” implies I have nothing to do with it, and I don’t buy that. I choose to see a bend of turquoise because if I don’t notice the magic of the world then I have nothing to give others. I send money to students in Mexico not because I feel guilty for some American white (ish) privilege reason. I give because I can. A new pair of shoes for me is a semester of college for them. I have all the Crocs I need.

My late husband, Kent E. St. John, used to get his college buddies to go out with him even if they had no cash. He’d say, “If I have enough for one beer, I have enough for two.”

With everything going on in the world, we need more gifts for ourselves and each other. We need humor

and music and art and gratefulness and dessert before dinner and swimming and snuggling and reading and cookies and things. Let’s share them. Let’s Tweet our gifts as well as our arsenals.  Right now, we need both.

 

You can buy my chapbook of poetry HERE at Finishing Line Press. This is Genevieve. She is asymmetrical but still wants treats.

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