Written by Carroll a member of Women Move It Forward
In keeping with the spirit of Christmas, I was inspired by the Ghosts of Advice from the past, present and future:
On Christmas Eve, as I finished my morning coffee, the Ghost of Advice Past visited me. To my surprise, it was AE Whitehead. He took me to my window and showed me my pasture. In it, I saw a young Carroll frolicking in the grass, riding her dragon and slaying her enemies. Her cheeks were red and her eyes were glittering with excitement. Then the Ghost of Advice Past said to me, “Without adventure, civilization is in a state of constant decay.” And I wondered, where did my adventurous spirit go? Do I still have it?
Later in the day as I completed my manure meditation, the Ghost of Advice Present appeared. This time it was a Native American spirit guiding the beings on my sanctuary. He pointed at my house and showed me sitting in my office, agonizing over past stresses and worrying about future problems. He then stated, quite matter-of-factly, “Just live.” Just live? Was I doing that? Was I taking time to stop and look at what is happening in front of me right now? Was I living each and every one of my experiences?
As I laid down to sleep, settling in and pulling the covers up, the Ghost of Advice Future appeared. It was Death, in black robes with a hood, his bony hand clutching a cup of coffee. He pointed to the mirror in which I saw a window of a house. Inside there was a gathering of somber people dressed in black, clustered around the dining room table heaped with comforting food. A woman with a very kind face and a young girl of five sat near the window. Earnestly the little girl asked her mother, “Does this mean I don’t have to sit quietly while great grandma talks forever, telling me again and again how to grow up?”
Her mother turned red and whispered, “She meant well but her talks did get longer as her arthritis limited her, making her feel useless.” The little girl grew quite serious and then asked, “Is that why you and daddy stay away?” Her mother turned even redder and said honestly, “Yes, we love her very much, but it was very hard to be around someone constantly giving advice on how to live a better life.” The philosophic little girl announced, “I loved it when she held me and we just watched the horses.” Her mother said, “I know. If she just realized she was worth so much more than nagging advice, we would’ve been here every week. I loved sitting quietly with her. She had so much love and comfort to give. I am sorry she is gone.” Then she turned and looked out her window, into my mirror, and muttered, “But staying away was the only way to stay sane.” Was that me? Did I drive my family away trying to prove my worth with my sage advice? I looked up and asked, “How can I avoid this future?” Death placed a bony finger to where lips should be and then faded away.
I lay awake for some time contemplating my Christmas Carroll events. I resolved that this Christmas, I will follow my Ghosts of Advice. I will have adventures that let my imagination run free to prevent my stagnation and decay. I will just live in the moments of now, trying valiantly to not stress about the past or the future. I will live my life with love and joy, striving to let go of “doing” and focus on just “being”. I will come to terms with the fact that my worth is not strictly based on accomplishments and actions. I do not have to constantly do or say things to prove my worth. Mostly importantly, I will keep my advice to myself until I am asked for it.
This Christmas, how will you live your life?