Advertisement

Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

farewells, and a goodbye belief

goodbye2I’m not good at goodbye. Nor farewell, nor see ya later. Nor any kind of leave-taking. HATE them. Too many moves as a kid. Too many folks I’ll never see again.

Buddhism is the ultimate goodbye belief. You know: the whole everything is transient thing? How everything passes? And you do realise: ‘pass’ is just a euphemism for IT DIES.

Sheesh. Talk about ending up in your discomfort zone.

Yesterday it was my elder son, DIL, & grandson. Today it’s my younger son. Every day it seems like there are farewells to be said. Sometimes just goodnight. Sometimes far more permanent.

Advertisement

We didn’t think so at the time, but when my mother died, it took an entire day. She’d had Alzheimer’s, so we knew she was dying for a while. But the actual process took a bit. Which during the hours, seemed like hell. But now? How lucky we were to be able to say goodbye. To sing to her, to hold her, to let her go. goodbye3

Putting my sons, DIL, and grandson on planes is nothing like even the little death that is sleep and nightmare. But these days, life seems far shorter than it did even a decade ago. Anything can happen in uncertain times, it feels like.

Advertisement

That’s the upside of a goodbye faith: everything is very precious. Because you KNOW it will pass — die a natural death, and change into something else. The seasons — those signposts of life for so many religious festivals — remind us of this: spring’s growth is burgeoning summer is autumn flame is the bare twisted branches of winter.

And saying goodbye remains my hardest task.

Advertisement

Aftermas: the importance of taking/ making time

christmas hourglassThere’s an inevitable fall-off after Christmas. All the fierce anticipation — even for grown-ups! — of presents (given or received), the worry about dinner (especially for the cooks!), and just the fatigue resulting from late nights baking, wrapping, and picking up family from the airport.

And that’s for a relatively perfect Christmas holiday. Just imagine if you have no real home, no money for the have-to-have toy, or maybe have lost someone you love. What do you do after Christmas? I can’t imagine — our first-world, happy Christmas blues are all I want to ever deal with.

Advertisement

In our family, we solved the post-Christmas doldrums accidentally. Trying to accommodate new family members, their families, and various work schedules, we have our huge family celebration late — this year on December 28th. We call it Aftermas. :)

Everyone brings things — we host at our house (it’s the biggest, and closer than my niece’s, the next largest). Vegetarians introduce us to great non-meat dishes that are more than simple sides. Meat eaters scarf the spiral ham and brisket that have become tradition. And I work hard at devouring ALL the many salads & sides; we haven’t even gotten to dessert! christmas hourglass2

Advertisement

It takes forever to feed us all — there will be about 20 or so this year, including holiday orphans and partners and rug rats. And in my family, when you unwrap gifts, you do it one by one. Every year the next generation rebels and stages a mutiny. So far, the four sisters (my three sisters & I) have won the field, and we still unwrap for HOURS. It’s glorious!

There’s so much paper that we all feel a bit guilty. Even though as I’ve said, I save the ribbon and ALL the bags the kids haven’t squashed. There’s a LOT of loud laughter, teasing, bad puns, and talking with mouths very full.

But more important, there’s time. Santa has come & gone, and there’s been at least one or two days to calm down. So that the food is welcome again, and the grownups aren’t worn to a frazzle from wrapping. The kids aren’t up to their necks in sugar, and the whole celebration is…well, more celebratory.Even when my beloved & I each commit — w/out consulting the other — to keeping my wonderful grandson the WHOLE DAY I should be shopping & cooking & fixing.

Advertisement

maslow's hiearchyThe more I think about it, the more I wonder if time shouldn’t be on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Right up there with love & belonging. Because time — the time to enjoy love, the time to appreciate your family, your tribe — is critical. Without it? I don’t know if you really CAN have the others.

When my husband & I were raising young children the big buzz phrase was ‘quality time.’ What we decided, as we talked about work choices and moves and our priorities, was that without quantities of time, quality time didn’t really happen in the same way.

Advertisement

And this holiday, as I cooked a big dinner for only the five of us (and a baby :) ), I was so grateful to have time to rest & relax. To be able to sleep in Christmas morning, and make coffee for the later risers. To go present by present, oohing & aahing at each one. Knowing we didn’t have to rush to make room for another ‘party.’ holiday tea 2

Advertisement

As you wind down from your holiday — hectic or not — make time. You can, you know. You can create it out of almost nothing. After work, on the way home, listen to a holiday song you didn’t get to before Christmas or Solstice. Make a list of what all you received — if you start it this year and keep it up, it makes a lovely record of past holiday times. If you were lucky enough to receive a bottle of wine, or a tin of tea, maybe some hot cocoa mix, fix a glass or mug and just sit. Preferably by a fire… :)

Time will drift like perfect snowflakes into your lap. I promise.

 

Advertisement

remembering the Christmas Truce

YouTube Preview Image

Tonight, I wish you magic. I wish you peace, love, & joy. I wish you the kind of unexpected miracles that happened a century ago, in the middle of a war. When men reached out across the line of fire, and exchanged gifts and blessings. A Christmas truce that remains, for me, one of the most hopeful of miracles.

May your holy days be full of love.

Advertisement

Warning: Grinch alert

image So — you’ve been notified: I just hit my Grinch wall. I am heartily SICK of cooking, cleaning, wrapping presents, and the whole shebang. I want to be on a beach SOMEWHERE WARM, w/out ice bending my beloved trees to the point of pain. I want MORE SUNLIGHT. I want TO NOT BE CRANKY the day before it all starts up! (at least at our house)

Grandmother would say I have wantin’ ways… She’d even say wantin’ instead of wanting, even though she taught school for years. Probably an echo of her own grandmother…

Advertisement

I don’t really. I’m just tired. And kind of used up. It’s an easy place to get, if you’re not careful. Or if the weather conspires against us, and you get ACUTE cabin fever, aggravaged by your usual “I need more LIGHT!” winter doldrums.

Waking up, I didn’t even want to get out of bed. The driveway is a solid sheet of ice, so going somewhere is like driving with a beginner’s permit. And all the stuff to eat is either leftovers I’m heartily sick of, or more cooking. Glurg.

Now that I’ve TOTALLY depressed you with my first-world problems ( :) ), I’ll tell you what I’m doing to fix things. Actually, what my beloved is doing to fix things .image

Advertisement

He’s currently defrosting our car. And then he’s taking me to LUNCH! EVEN with the ice, the traffic, and my crankiness. How great is that?

So here’s today thought: sometimes even beginner’s hearts need a rest. NOT a break. :) But just a moment when someone else does the whole love & caring thing. When you can just relax and be what you are, that moment. It’s part of what meditation & Buddhism teach you now: be here, now. This crankiness is who I am right now — exhausted, and worried I won’t be back to my (relatively cheerful) normal self when my kids & grandson arrive this weekend. So far, I’ve managed to only put love into what I’ve done for the holiday prep. I don’t WANT those preparations to become irritating, or to infuse crankiness into what I’m doing.

Hence, as my younger son would say, I’m on holiday strike today. I’m being who I am right now. And luckily? I have the best beloved in the universe to indulge & comfort me. I wish the same for each of you.

Previous Posts

spring, and the promise of a fresh start
Today when I filled bird feeders, I looked out over the yard. Everywhere there's the flush of rose & pink, and the backdrop of pale green that only comes in spring. Once I had the sunflower tr

posted 12:33:52pm Mar. 29, 2015 | read full post »

the Beatitudes, Buddhism, and living a good life
A discussion on my FB page began w/ my heartfelt anger at recent attempts (many successful) to discriminate against gay & trangender men & women. An old friend & former colleague pointed out that mo

posted 2:02:19pm Mar. 27, 2015 | read full post »

pets vs kids, and what we spend our money on...
My dogs are pretty indulged. Even (dare I confess?) spoiled. They have soft little beds in their kennels, fleecy things I wash regularly, and replace when the dogs chew holes in them. There is an American-made br

posted 3:56:31pm Mar. 26, 2015 | read full post »

the family you have, the family you choose
I am very lucky: I have a relatively large network of family. Three sisters, a brother-in-law who's great, lots of nieces & nephews, even two aunts still living. I also have a large family-of-the-heart: BF

posted 5:27:10pm Mar. 24, 2015 | read full post »

quilts, teapots, and living day by day
As I often do when I'm worried or beset by whatever, I cleaned out a closet the other day. And rediscovered things I'd forgotten: a quilt my mother made me when I married; a quilt my sister quilted f

posted 8:17:55pm Mar. 22, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.