What I Did On My Holiday.

What I Did On Holiday.

I did nothing – well not entirely true. I actually did many things that might only be considered mundane to downright boring. I think I prefer to interpret the day as serene.

About mid-day while I was reading and drinking a cup of tea, I reflected on the fact that this is the first time in 45 years I have spent Christmas Day alone. It disturbed me at first but when I acknowledged I was doing so by choice it became interesting.

I also realized at this point in the day that I hadn’t spoken to anyone. Had not sent an e-mail, or commented on a blog (OK yes I was reading them) but I decided the day would be spent silently and not in conversation or correspondence of any kind.

I did utter a few sentences…
1. “I’d like an order of shrimp egg foo young”.
2. “Thank you”. (he did not reply must have been on his own day of silence)
3. “I can’t come in…Merry Christmas”. (I was delivering holiday cookies to friends)

That was it. I have spent the day drinking tea, walking dogs – my own and those of clients – and reading. It’s been blissful. When I spend time alone like this and enjoy it so much – I worry I may spend all of my time this way. I.E. forever alone.

But I do believe enjoying one’s own company, is the only way to be an enjoyable companion to others. I don’t enjoy relationships with people who don’t know how to be alone with themselves, their thoughts, or their time.

I finished reading “How To See Yourself As You Really Are” by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, despite the fact that I wasn’t entirely sure I did want that information.

A small book, it looked very accessible in the store as I thumbed through it. However when I started reading it, I discovered it is full of difficult concepts that will require further study on my part.

It needs in other words, another read and I shall start that tonight. In the meantime I will share those concepts and pages that were turned back on the first reading.

All beings seek peace, comfort and security.

Everything is inter-related, nothing arises independently of anything else.
When there is long, there has to be short.
They do not exist through their own nature.

This relativity is why Buddhists say that all phenomena are dependent-arisings rather then independent-arisings.

True love and compassion rise on the basis of respecting others. This feeling of empathy is achieved by recognizing that you and all others – whether friends, enemies, or neutral parties – share a central aspiration by wanting happiness and not wanting suffering.

Since our attitudes of permanence and self-cherishing are what ruin all of us, the most fruitful meditations are on impermanence and the emptiness of inherent existence on the one hand and love and compassion on the other. This is why Buddha emphasized that the two wings of the bird flying to enlightenment are compassion and wisdom.

And now I am going to finish up that egg foo young and contemplate how I am going to release all of my “self-cherishing” after all I am a blogger. There is something inherently selfish and self indulgent about writing and blogging – to simply do so at all, seems to just ooze with self-cherishing. And then there is Wanda where does she fit into this whole notion of self –cherishing? Where do all forms of masturbation fit in, both intellectual and physical. Or maybe the two go hand in hand? (OK OK I’ll stop it that was fun though eh? My eyes almost started to cross).

It’s enough to make me crave a new pair of shoes, or a large fudge sundae.

But I just have to say…
isn’t is a wonderful day when the phone does not ring, no one knocks on the door, mail does not arrive – our country seems to stand still for a moment and one is left all alone if one so chooses.

We become aware of how essentially still and peaceful life is without all the strident efforts to get our attention (the phone, the doorbell, the e-mail, the paging) for nothing all that important.

Now that is a holiday.

Mid-Life Clarity (the mostly merry recluse)


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