Halloween Lessons

Here’s a post I’ve updated from my 2012 archive. If you’re looking for last-minute snack ideas for Halloween, check out these Tasty Howl-o-ween Recipes.


pumpkin-swirl250According to a survey conducted by HalloweenSurvey.com in 2012, a lot of Americans love Halloween: 72% celebrate it, 50% of adults wear a costume for the holiday, and over 8 billion dollars is spent every year to prepare for it. That’s a whole lot of scary love. The reverse statistics could mean that 28% of the population either doesn’t care about Halloween or doesn’t like it. But whether we (1) love dressing up and giving ourselves over to the role of our favorite other self, (2) think the whole thing is silly, or (3) believe Halloween celebrations are rooted in evil, we can probably all agree on a few things:

1. Everyone wears a mask sometimes. How many people do we show our real selves to? Probably only a few we truly trust. And even if we are the upfront, this-is-who-I-am kind of people, we still have a tendency to hide our feelings. Anger and cheerfulness can both mask deeply felt pain. Remembering that everyone is wounded and scarred to some degree can make us more compassionate to those around us.

2. Each day is what we make of it. Whether you believe Halloween is loads of fun or just plain evil, the day is ours to take from it or give to it what we will. Just like every other day. Our days are good or bad because of the choices we make and how we decide to perceive life. No matter our circumstances, we are each responsible for our part in the making of every day we’re given.

3. Life is sometimes tricky and sometimes a treat, but more often it’s something in between. We have great days and we have awful days. But life is lived mostly in the ones that fall between those extremes. These are the normal “okay” days that often seem to just creep along, filled with unremarkable hours, unless we take the time to really look for the remarkable in the mundane. Finding contentment right where we are – fun-size chocolate bars, anyone? – is something worth striving for.

How do you measure up to the Halloween statistics?

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Interest vs. Commitment

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There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results. ~ Unknown

Push Through the Impossible

It always seems impossible until it’s done. ~ Nelson Mandela

You Always Have Choices

If you don’t know you have choices or don’t believe you have choices, you don’t. ~ Lundin, Paul, Christensen

Remember the Why in the What

Never forget why you’re really doing what you’re doing. ~ Derek Sivers

Your Mission on Earth

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Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished:
If you’re alive, it isn’t. ~ Richard Bach

Be You

Be yourself. Everyone else is taken. ~ Oscar Wilde

Memories and Dreams

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Never let your memories be greater than your dreams.
~ Doug Ivester

Keep Your Eyes on the Goal

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Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal. ~ Hannah More

The Road to the Sun

Today I’ve pulled a post from my archives (December 2012), inspired by an awesome trip to Glacier National Park. If you have time, please check out a new article at my Wanderer website titled “Dare. Dream. Write. More.” about why I decided to break my pledge not to make New Year’s resolutions.

GlacierNP_2The Going-to-the-Sun Road wound upwards around the ice-carved mountainsides of Glacier National Park in northern Montana. Forests of evergreens, patches of fading wild flowers, and the yellow-orange of still-changing foliage spread out before me along the road on three sides. Even the cliff face on my left, climbing toward an autumn sky, held beauty in its grey hues, and jagged lines and shadows. Mountain buttes hid the foothills of ridges. Ridges bowed before peaks. Each layer a darker shade of blue to purple-grey. All filled the horizon above v-shaped valleys.

I went around a curve, the traffic slowed to a standstill, and there, blocking the panorama, was a rocky outcrop with a rough-hewn tunnel leading through it. In comparison, the harshness of the lifeless stone and the spiny, leafless trees here didn’t hold the same beauty as what I’d just passed. Behind me, the view was still so awesome I could have stared at it for hours, if not days (so different from the grassy mesas and the looming shoulders of barren mountains I often hike near my home 1250 miles away).

Glacier_4On through the tunnel, and the vista was again wondrous ahead, this time less so behind. And so, The Going-to-the-Sun Road shifted before and behind, in varying degrees of glorious – because, really, even the views that held too much brown and grey or not enough mountain or sky, still held perfection in their own way.

During one of those moments in my ascent when I just had to stop and try to take it all in, I thought of how much looking back can ruin my present and my future. The landscape of my past is filled with both beauty and ugliness. But living in the past – whether glorious or gritty – has often been a trap that keeps me from living in the present. At the same time, working busily for tomorrow (even if tomorrow means the end of the day) without enjoying this very day, seems as much of a waste.

I don’t make true New Year’s resolutions, but one thing I’m going to try very hard to do this coming year is to enjoy my every today and hope more in the future.

What changes do you want to make in the new year?