Mindful Lessons from Scrooge

By Christina Rodrigues

When this season of sparkling lights, music and laughter arrives with the sweet fragrances of cinnamon and nutmeg filling the air, it is my signal to relax a little and take in a sappy Christmas movie marathon, curled up on my couch with my partner and, sometimes, my children.

One of the movies I have enjoyed over and over again is the Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. There have been so many versions of this story adapted for the big screen and I have enjoyed all of them. As I watched it for what is possibly the 100th time (I exaggerate, but not by much), I ponder the growth of Scrooge’s character from a mean-spirited curmudgeon into a kind, compassionate and empathetic human being. “Bah..Humbug,” you say?

Scrooge, in the early stages of the story, is this miserly, mean man whose only goal in life is to have money, make more of it and part with the least amount possible. After he is visited by the ghosts of the past, present and future, he reflects on his life and makes changes.

Now, while this is a fictional piece, the qualities of Scrooge are quite real and so are some or all of the choices he makes – haven’t we all been there?

Scrooge learned a few lessons through his experience and perhaps sharing them will allow us to bring more meaning to our holiday season. I thought I might share some of them.

The almighty dollar that makes the whole world spin isn’t the be-all-and-end-all in life. Money is a tool that facilitates little comforts in life. We make more money now than we did before, but have less abundant lives, have less time to enjoy what money can buy and mostly miss out on the simple pleasures of life. There is something to be said about the benefits of living simply and clearing out what we do not need. Scrooge decides to change after he realizes that money is not everything and love and relationships are the most important things in life. Take time this season to enjoy a walk with loved one, play together, cook together and get to know each other.

When I was younger,  one of my goals was to learn something new each year. It didn’t matter what it was. When visiting my family in New Zealand, my niece Rachel reminded me of that tradition – she had on her list to perfect the art of making brownies. Learning is growing.  Learning doesn’t necessarily come from a formal surrounding. Take stock of your experiences and learn from mistakes. Use what you have learned to make better choices, as Scrooge did.

When you are grateful for what you have, your perspective changes from what we don’t have to the abundance of what we do have. Scrooge observes Bob Cratchit’s family being truly grateful for the little they have and it is reflected in the warmth of their home.

Being in service to others in many ways makes for a very fulfilling life. It took a long time for Scrooge to learn that lesson. When he did, he shares his wealth to affect change in others.
Take your children to the local food bank to volunteer or give yourself the permission to be kind and generous to a young, able-bodied homeless person without judgment/ Do something, anything, and feel your heart soften. More importantly, watch how it changes people and lives around you.

Regardless of your choices, think about the number of people you affect on a daily basis; the transit driver, the old man sitting next to you on the transit ride, the person on the elevator, your co-workers. How does your interaction with them impact them?

So while you take in this holiday season let’s take some time to breathe deeply and think about what this holiday really means to you.

I wish you a happy and peaceful holiday season.

See you on the other side of 2017.

Christina Rodrigues is the Coordinator, Business Development at MEDEC, the national association representing Canada’s innovative medical technology industry.