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Savvy Smarts: Avoiding ‘Spiritual Quicksand’  While Building Good Karma This Holiday Season

Savvy Smarts: Avoiding ‘Spiritual Quicksand’ While Building Good Karma This Holiday Season

By Paul H. Magid ~

If we were somehow able to watch a video of our caveman ancestors sitting around the first ever human Holiday Fire, hoping to avoid the saber tooth tiger outside the cave hoping to make them its dinner, I am quite certain that the video would contain one guilty looking loincloth-draped family member saying to his (or her) family members in grunt-speak:

“… Why, I have no idea how that boulder flew across the cave and smashed (fill in the blank of your least favorite family member) in the head. I know it looked like it came from my hands, but it didn’t. It was magic!”

And along with the first ever known family “accident”… magic was born amongst our grunting, but no less human, forebearers.

If there is anything my 43 plus years on this planet have taught me, as the youngest of eight siblings in an “immediate family” that numbers nearly 50 members, it is that the holiday season, while a blessed time of year where spirits turn merry and a general jocular sentimentality (hopefully) overtakes us all … the holiday season can also be a time of stress, short tempers, angry flair ups, and otherwise all manner of Spiritual Quicksand, as many a holiday movie has so adroitly conveyed, much to our voyeuristic amusement.

But seriously, whether your holiday strife should originate from a sibling, parent, monster-in-law, co-worker, boss, pushy shopper, or inconsiderate parking lot competitor, here are a few tips for making sure this holiday season counts in your “spiritual win column,” not “spiritual loss column”:

Don’t worry, be happy:

Just because someone else is a miserable old Scrooge, doesn’t mean you have to be one in response. The human urge to react or respond is pretty well engrained in us all (it probably has something to do with those caveman ancestors of ours grunting, “Run!” as the saber-toothed tiger came hustling around that boulder). The point is, just because someone else is in a bad mood, doesn’t mean you have any obligation to be affected by their sourpuss vibe.

Save the drama for TV:

There is no law that says you have to react to someone trying to provoke you. Okay, I admit this is a tough one. I’m not only a Libra, but a Double Libra with a Libra Rising Sun. The good news about that is we Libras are champions of justice and balance and fairness. The bad news is that we are also fairly easy to provoke. You don’t necessarily have to scream, “Serenity Now”, but the next time someone, be it a family member or a general life grouch, attempts to provoke you, instead of giving that person the reaction he/she wants … try doing nothing. I guarantee within a few blessed moments, a wry smile will come across your face, matched only the look of utter confusion on the face of the one wishing to provoke you.

Practice random acts of kindness:

I know I didn’t make this one up, but it bears repeating. You will be amazed how good helping someone else makes you feel. You don’t have to be Gandhi or Mother Teresa to be a force of goodness in the world. Even small gestures of kindness can have enormous impacts of Karmic Goodness.
Keep it real:  There is basically no such thing as a ‘Perfect Holiday’ – the key is having family around you and celebrating the season together.  If Uncle Bob gets a bit tipsy and spills red wine on grandma’s pristine white tablecloth….oh, well.  Put it down as a great story to tell in the New Year and move on.


When you feel yourself looking around for the nearest “caveman boulder” to hurl at someone you are quite sure deserves it, just remember…that you are a spiritual being here to learn, and grow, and share, and experience all that life has to offer, but failing that, take a deep cleansing breathe… and whisper “Serenity Now!”

Paul H. Magid is an award winning screenwriter, author, and independent filmmaker. His autobiographical film, A LIFE UNFINISHED, screened in The Hamptons International Film Festival. He has recently published his debut novel, Lifting The Wheel Of Karma. He can be contacted at: