The time has come again to rejoice and be merry. Carolers are doing their rounds of nursing homes and other not so jolly places. Amazon is reporting a record year. The UPS man is working over time. And the mailman's bags are overflowing with Christmas cards. 'Tis the season . . .
And just now, sitting and taking time off from readying the house for tonight Christmas Eve's dinner, I found grief right in my core. That's the truth.
Holidays are funny that way. Collective expectations of Hallmark like happiness take one straight to the heart for a reality check. Mind has being doing its number on me for the past few weeks. Taking me back to times years ago, when the children were little, and our family was still whole. Wishing the present cracks were not so. Hoping for this holiday to be over, quick, so the heart does not have to ache so much.
Loving kindness practice can bring the same emotions. Nothing like being faced with the possibility of love, to become aware of its absence in one self.
Sitting, I could feel much aversion to the overall unpleasantness. An experience ripe for more insight and wisdom . . . First dealing with foolish thoughts, words popping in the head and that are mired in the hindrances of desire, ill will, and restlessness (my top three . . . ). Much to do with 'others'. If only they could be kinder, more patient, less angry . . . If only they got along . . . If only they did not live so far away, and could be here to celebrate with us, me . . . If only they were not sick and falling prey to old age . . . A bunch of garbage thoughts to be discarded, over and over again. I should know better than to dirty my house that way.
Very few people in this world have perfect situations. Everybody has something wrong in his or her life. Either the house is too small, or the salary is too low, or the relatives don't agree, or the street is too noisy, or the food is not good enough, or the education wasn't sufficient for the job one wants. There is always something wrong. Nobody has a perfect situation. Everybody tries to make it as nice for him - or herself as possible, which is all right. But if we do not take a stand now, and keep waiting for perfect situations, we will never change. We can't wait for perfect situations because they'll never happen. The perfect situation can only be created inside one's own heart and mind. There it is possible. ~ Ayya Khema, Being Nobody, Going Nowhere ~
'Tis the time to rejoice, indeed. 'Tis the time to rejoice, always. That's the truth.
My brother sent me this picture of him visiting my mother with his son:
How do you experience these holidays?