I am so pleased to hear you are over the moon about the kasbah renovations. I hope you didn’t mind too much that I took certain liberties with the design, like the subtle placement of the pillow down below or neatly tucking all of our weekly letters in that handy envelope on the right. I know how you like to be organised, so Laird found a particularly ingenious place for them.
Now that the renovations are complete, you might be thinking that the redesigned kasbah is my one and only gift to you during this holiday season. But, my friend, you would be wrong. There are two more gifts to give. I know, you’re probably going to say, “But Benedict, you have already been so generous. Why, just look at this splendid kasbah and it’s many thoughtful features. Then there’s your weekly contributions to the blog which are most appreciated. As if that all weren’t enough, you’ve also volunteered to continue keeping a watchful eye on the place while I’m sequestered away in my ridiculously well-hidden writing cave. I couldn’t possibly accept another gift.”
To which I would respond by saying, “Scooch over on the sofa and make some room for me, would you? (in this scenario I’ve found the writing cave and just handed you a drink) Yes, friend, that is all true. But in light of everyone surviving the Not-Apocalypse (not that I had any doubts, mind you), I think we should celebrate the blessed reprieve from apocalyptic propaganda by giving gifts. Don’t worry about the cost. The only thing I spent was the time it took to write them, which is good because that satellite system I’m having installed to help locate the writing cave cost me a pretty penny. Also, these gifts are non-returnable. Just sayin’. Cheers!” (then we would drink a toast to post-not-apocalypse gifts)
The first gift will be the Gift of Giving Up. I know, it sounds a bit odd. Let me explain. We all have things we need to let go of and for one reason or another we don’t, even though it would make our lives so much better to do so. The paradoxical nature of the gift is in giving up the rubbish that clutters your mental house and holds you back. If it helps, go ahead and picture me in a snappy butler’s suit like they wear on Downton Abbey. Then, together we’ll clear away all of those hindrances, such as:
*expectations that serve no purpose other than stealing the joy of the moment with comparisons that don’t really matter
*the idea that because good things aren’t happening when you’d like them to means they might not ever happen
*believing it’s o.k. for others to do well when they can and being understanding when they can’t, but not giving yourself that same latitude
*the notion that your mistakes of yesterday have dibs on defining who you are today
Don’t worry about the void left from giving up those things. I’ve got that covered, too. In order to keep those beliefs and ideas from sneaking back in, I give you the Gift of Grace:
*with yourself as you head towards the finish line in your novel and with the goals you’ve created for your writing career
*as you keep up with all of the demands placed on you by family, friends, and colleagues
*to see failures as necessary steps to leave behind what didn’t work and to move towards what you want to achieve
*with others who have different viewpoints, timelines, values, and ways of moving through the world (one can never have too much of this, don’t you agree?)
May these gifts be helpful to you now and throughout the year. I encourage re-gifting to others in need as long as you keep some for yourself.
No need to reciprocate the gesture. Unless, of course, you’d like to pass along those directions. I daresay it would be the ultimate gift that keeps on giving.
Happy holidays to all and may the new year bring everyone much peace, kindness, and love.
*Editor’s note: The views, ideas, and opinions expressed in the Letters from Benedict series are works of fiction and obviously did not come from the actor himself. This series is just my way of expressing adoration for Mr. Cumberbatch and his work and is not intended to be seen or read as a true collaborative writing endeavor with him.