We all recall a pivotal moment in life that shines so bright we can not look away.
Sure, perhaps like you, I had watched that half hour show before, throughout my childhood, but that just goes to show you that sometimes the most obvious doesn’t reveal itself until we are ready.
So it was for the Grinch, as it was for me in this episode of the Leading Chaos Podcast
I wrote the first draft of the Response Crisis Intervention Curriculum in 1986.
Undoubtedly my practice of Aikido had informed me on how to step off the line of attack and seek a win/win outcome in even the most extreme situations.
But describing a goal of nonviolence as taught in Response has always been a hard sell. I can only guess that it must be the human condition to make things more complex than needed, like using control over kindness.
Then one snowy winter night, as I sat watching the How the Grinch Stole Christmas, narrated by Boris Karloff, I had what I would consider an epiphany at the exact same time as the Grinch!
There in a whimsical story was everything I was trying to teach: possibilites a.k.a. the belief that a person can change…even a person as deep and dark as the Grinch.
Do you remember that moment? Well allow me to give you a brief overview of the story.
High up on a snowy Mount Crumpit within a cave, lived a green Grinch and his loyal dog Max. Poor Max would do anything for the Grinch, but was unloved by the Grinch. I always felt quite bad for that beagle looking dog with deep eyes that you would think would make even a Grinch smile. But no.
Below Mount Crumpit, was Whoville, where the Seusical Whos of Whoville lived. They were getting ready for Christmas and the grumpy Grinch could not bear the merrymaking and noise.
So he made plans to stop and ruin Whoville’s Christmas by stealing their presents, their Christmas trees, even their food for the Christmas day feast.
He did all this by donning a Santa suit and tying a single antler to his dog Max’s head. Because it is a cartoon of course he had a sleigh and he and Max rode it into Whoville on Christmas Eve
He immediately set to task to steal everything in town and was interrupted once during the bugurlary by Cindy Lou. Of course, she was the cutest Who you could imagine.
He made up a lie about taking her family’s tree to get repaired and set her off to bed.
As he and Max make their escape back to the top of Mount Crumpit, and prepares to dump all of the presents over the mountain, just as dawn is breaking and while he is expecting to hear wails and crys of anguish, instead he hears the Whos of Whoville singing the magical song
Fahoo Fores Dahoo Dores
Welcome Christmas Come this way
Fah who for-aze! Fah who for-aze!
Dah who dor-aze! Dah who dor-aze!
Welcome Christmas, Welcome Christmas,
Come this way! Come this way!
And that is the moment that changed it all for the Grinch AND it opened an opportunity for me too as I watched.
The Grinch realized that:
“maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more” than just presents and feasting.
Viola, that is exactly what I strive to do in my work as a Crisis Intervener: believe in the higher self in even the meanest of grinches.
Interestingly, no one knows why the Grinch was so angry at Christmas, as the story reads – perhaps, his shoes were too tight.
Ha! Who hasn’t felt the woes of tight shoes!
But wait, there is more to the wisdom of Seuss’ tale though I don’t expect that Dr. Seuss was attributing Grinch symptoms with those of the mentally ill, but the line:
“it could be that his head wasn’t screwed on just right” speaks volumes to me as a crisis intervener.
Yes, we all have a bit of Grinch within our hearts every now and then, but indeed there is more to each and everyone of us than madness and hate.
Listen along and please do share this podcast, to help all the Grinches in the world find a way to make their heart opened up to the magic of kindness and community.