The Practice of Christmas
Without practice, I would have no ground except my latest desire, no obvious way to serve, and nothing in my life that could evoke my genuine, compassionate self. Without practice, my interactions....would only be about greed and attention -- endless desperate need.
-Darlene Cohen (Shambhala Sun, July 2009)
Tomorrow our family will wake up very early to celebrate a joyous holiday by sharing gifts and bits of chocolate donuts. We will travel to express our gratitude and swap stories with family members. We will probably overindulge in casseroles and desserts that are miraculously calorie-free because - hey, it's Christmas!
Today we frantically prepare for tomorrow. Last minute gifts wrapped behind a locked door, final drops of paint applied to crafted items (in hopes that they will dry in time to wrap). Most likely, there will be a few frustrated yells as the kids anxiety runs high and leaves them running up the walls.
The day after tomorrow we will return to a semi-normal schedule, yet surrounded by the reminders of the past 48 hours.
This will pass in the blink of an eye. These joyous moments tend to. Yet who I am in 3 days, 4 days, and each day after that depends on how I practice in each moment.
They could pass without practice - full of indulgence and greed. Or they could pass with mindful practice - full of loving-kindness.
I will savor every bite of the (calorie-laden) pies. I will allow myself to get caught up in the anxious jumping and wondering about the presents under the tree.
But each moment, I will try to roll my shoulders ever-so-slightly back to open my chest. I will take a full breath, and then another.
I will remember that I want to love and share...not just because a holiday dictates it, but because that is how I want to live.
With my practice, Christmas continues indefinitely.
Whatever you might be celebrating this weekend,
may you have many joyous and blessed moments.