Probably 11/2010, I was leading a group, and trying to help us all relax better during mid-holiday frenzies. So I asked, “What do elves do on their day off?” to provide a role model. I told the groups’ members to each pick one thing an elf would do on their day off, and to do it.
Holidays may be over, but some of us (moi!) need to keep learning about self-care. The above exercise is useful any time of year.
However, before I gave them the exercise, I read them the piece below:
A Fairy Party
June 18, 2005
Imagine you’re walking through the woods. And it becomes stranger and stranger, not in a bad way, though it is definitely so out of the ordinary that it might frighten you. The woods seem . . . well, magical. The color of tree leaves are brighter than you’d ever thought possible. Branches are more sharply defined, as if your eyesight suddenly improved vastly. The air is still, yet somehow also buzzing with a sense of expectancy. Shadows hold secret wonders. And though there is nothing evil about all this, you know in your gut that you should still be careful, in case you inadvertently trespass on a secret meeting of wood gnomes. So you’re a bit worried.
Then, as you come to a clearing, your fear vanishes. In the meadow ahead, there is a tiny cottage. It is everything a magical cottage should be. And, deep down, you know that, as tempting and wondrous as this dwelling is, it is absolutely not the work of Hansel and Gretel’s evil witch, or of any other malevolent being. You know it is the home of someone very special. Could it be where Glinda the good witch lives? Or where a young loving mother is raising a child in humble circumstances, a child who will grow up to be a great hero in a mythic tale? Who inhabits this hidden place, tucked away in an enchanted forest?
You go up to the door to find out, hoping it will not be an intrusion if you knock. And you see the following sign posted there:
Today’s Optional Reading for My Front Door
There once was a fairy who wanted to be like Santa’s elves—fairies whose happy work blesses many people. So she started working away, in her own way, by creating spells with which people could fulfill their dearest wishes. But though they were grateful to have health and wealth and happiness, the fairy herself became very ill. Too sick to even wash her own dishes.
You see, fairies need a lot of fun to stay healthy. They get unwell when they forget to play. Our fairy’s dreams about helping humans—the way ol’ Saint Nick’s elves do—made her work so hard she forgot to have fun.
She had not realized that Santa’s elves . . . well, bluntly . . . ignored their tasks a lot. A lot! Not in a mean-spirited way; they were just constantly distracted by the urge to sing, or the opportunity for a teasing jest. Not to mention the scent of hot cocoa that dictated one immediately drop whatever one was doing to consume chocolate. (With marshmallows in it!)
On and on, all day, the North Pole sprites spent more time playing than making toys—which made for better toys than all the hammering, nailing, and painting ever could, because that’s the way of elven magic.
This fairy had friends who came and did her dishes and other chores, so that she could rest and get better. But she still worked too hard. Then one day, fairy Timothy visited, then a good Christian minister named George, then a dish-washing bird called Blue. They all asked, unbeknownst to each other, “You don’t have any fun, do you?” So she’s throwing a party today and, hence, will start getting healthy.
So, now that you’ve read this sign here on my front door: Welcome! You’re just in time for the party. C’mon in! I’m throwing a bash to kick off a more balanced life. And maybe the festivities’ll help you become more self-caring yourself— if you need that. But we’ll have lots of fun anyway! And I have cocoa! With marshmallows. And cinnamon sticks. And games. And prizes. And everyone gets to take a balloon home!
The above piece is from my upcoming book. Am way busy b/c deadline=deliver manuscript to publisher Feb 2. That’s a few weeks from now! I better keep using elves for role models so that I don’t burn out while wrapping up final parts of the book!