“‘Tis the Season”
Though there’s thankfully less holiday bunting this year than usual, it will certainly not slow down our mad belief that we are somehow to be happy because, well, it’s happy season. As a child who endured one Christmas more miserable than the next, I always felt like Exhibit A that this was, in fact, the least wonderful time of year. And what I found particularly horrifying was the idea that I had to buy gifts for people who couldn’t stand me.
I bear the scars of these experiences. It is still difficult for me to give gifts, and celebrations feel like the stuff of science fiction. My meditative practice has helped turn this around. (Truth be told, my meditative practice has helped turn everything negative in my life around. I have no idea how or why it works, but it does, and I highly recommend finding a guru or a center as soon as possible. Consider it a gift to yourself.)
My feelings about the season have not changed all that much. I still believe it produces great unhappiness and feelings of deep inadequacy in too many people. And I still fail to understand how turning a page on the calendar should align with activities of the mind, but I’m only certain of my general ignorance so I won’t press the point too hard.
There is an alternative, however, and here is my proposal: Give gifts when you want to, to people you want to, because you want to. Decide that late May is the most wonderful time of the year and spread joy then. Donate your time or goods to charity in August. In other words, practice compassion and generosity when you decide, not when a commercial screams at you that your happiness is available to you if only you’ll purchase something NOW.
I don’t meant to disparage those who enjoy the holidays. I recognize the magic and power of tradition, and the art of the collective. That we all shutter our doors at the same time has a distinct value, it’s true. But perhaps these virtues can be extended throughout the year, when we choose, not when we’re told?
Just a thought…
For the Mineralava Musings, this is Edoardo Ballerini.