This time of year so many people around the world are shopping for gifts to celebrate Christmas and prepare for New Year’s eve festivities. For many, Christmas is a time to gather with family and friends to share happy memories and create new ones. At least this is the image that is portrayed by the media and shopping malls worldwide that display stereos, the latest iPhones, drones and other nifty gadgets to buy for our kids or ourselves. Flashing Christmas lights and fake Christmas trees, synthetic decorations, wrapping paper and sparkling bows entice us to buy more and more and more. Yet for many, this is not a time of celebration. Perhaps some people are far away from their families like I am. We feel the guilt of not being together during this special time of year when everyone else is celebrating Christmas and New Year’s with their loved ones.
I spoke to a friend on the phone today who told me that her cousin’s wife died of cancer on Christmas Eve. She opened gifts that night with her children and afterwards said she was tired and wanted to go to bed early but passed away. She left behind a loving husband and two children ages 8 and 11. For this family, the holidays will never be the same.
Other families around the world don’t have enough food to eat or they live in a house with a dirt floor and broken walls made from bamboo leaves. A friend of mine sent around a what’s app message asking if anyone would like to donate to a family in Java that were living in these conditions. They needed help to build a proper home for their family. This is the reality of life in many developing countries. While others are celebrating Christmas and exchanging gifts that cost more than an average person’s monthly salary in Indonesia, there are so many people in the world that are barely surviving, who are suffering from serious illnesses, grief or starvation. It is an important reminder to us all that one day out of the year in which there is a gross amount of money spent on material goods could actually be transformed to a day of ‘genuine giving’ to all those who are truly in need of food, shelter and love.
I know that there will be some people who read this column who may be angered by what I have said. I also know that there will be others who will understand and are already contributing to the world through acts of kindness and generosity. I honestly don’t miss the festivities of Christmas any more as living on Bali for nearly 16 years has been a great teacher. Every day I see the Balinese put out offerings and pray to the Gods, giving thanks, asking for forgiveness and protection for their families and villages. Every day is sacred here which is why Bali is such a beautiful place to live. The Balinese do have their special days throughout the year such as Galungan, Kuningan, and Nyepi, but they still honor each day and always help one another in their communities. We saw the amazing collective efforts during the time of the impending eruption of Mt. Agung. Banjars throughout Bali organized shelter for thousands of Balinese who were in the danger zones. This Spirit lives in all of the Balinese and is not exclusive to just one or two days of the year.
So as we all begin 2018 what can we do individually or as part of our communities to help one another? Here is a list of some possibilities of how we can create a better world:
- Put together bags filled with essentials such as toothpaste, soap, toothbrushes, pens, etc. for the children in poor villages and give them directly to the kids.
- Volunteer your time with a Yayasan or NGO that resonates with you.
- Donate money to an organization or non profit that you feel is really helping the community you live in or in another country.
- Offer your services at a big discount or free to those who would really benefit from your help but not be able to afford it.
- Donate clothes, toys, furniture, technology or other equipment to a NGO or family.
- Sponsor a child in Indonesia or another developing country for their education costs.
- Volunteer to be a big brother or sister to a child in need and give them new experiences, help them with school work, etc.
- Teach English to the local kids in your neighborhood.
- If you own a business on Bali or employ someone to care for your home, please pay your staff a fair wage and offer them opportunities for personal/professional development.
- Share your knowledge with the world! How did you become successful? What are the secrets to living an abundant life and still be a contribution to the world?
To all of you who have been following my column for a long time and for those who are new, thank you for your readership and for your willingness to open up to new and old ideas that have been presented in my past articles. I look forward to sharing more wonderful tools, interviews and insights with all of you in 2018 and beyond!
For questions or comments about this column, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michele Cempaka is a natural intuitive & channel with a diverse professional background including, hypnotherapy, Shamanism, Reiki, Transformational Coaching and Access Consciousness. She lives a nomadic life traveling to many countries where she offers her trainings, private sessions and retreats. For more information about her upcoming programs, please visit: www.spiritweaverjourneys.com. Copyright 2018 © Michele Cempaka