December 31st, 2010

It’s the end of the year, the holiday season. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, New Year’s Eve etc. are upon us. It’s the time when wishes get made, and whether that means casting out desires for the new year, asking Santa Claus for the latest video game, or something in between, we’ve gotten used to asking for stuff in the final weeks of every year. And, no, this isn’t an attack on materialism or the commercialization of the holidays or anything like that. In years past, as some of you may remember, this hotel’s holiday newsletter has been a compilation of the wishes of our staff and, really, the wishes for world peace and enough work for all typically far outnumber the longings for PS3s and flat screen TVs. As much as anything else, this is a moment to think about renewal, and checking in with our desires is a great way to do that.

Still, these are some crazy times we’re living in. We’re scratching our way out of a major recession, if you listen to some. Or else we’re sitting in the eye of the storm, if you believe the others. One in ten are jobless, and they say that’s a deflated number because it doesn’t acknowledge all those who aren’t looking anymore. We’re still at war. Driving through a town in California’s Central Valley last week I saw a village of tents set up on the grounds of a church, and less than a mile away was a huge development of vacant homes. But the bankers will get their multimillion dollar bonuses right on schedule. And, whatever your political sway, it’s hard to think that Washington is doing anything but preparing for the 2012 elections. It’s a hard year to believe, even in Santa Claus.

So, this year, rather than thinking about what we want the world to give us, we here at this little hotel are trying to think of what it is that we can give to the world. How can we, individually and as a little team, nurture our community? All of us want things, as, I’m sure, you also want things. Fine, that’s easy to acknowledge. But it seems like it’s a better time to think about what we have in excess, what we can give away. We’re not quite sure yet how this is going to manifest, maybe just a few extra smiles. To start with, we’ve decided not to make a year-end wish list. And to talk to all of you about it.

It’s heavy, this holiday missive. There’s plenty of artificial cheer around, though, if that’s what you want and we kind of think that maybe this can lead to some genuine lightness.

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