Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Shallow thoughts

In a conversation with a coworker about Christmas, I was shocked to learn about the elaborate gifts that the coworker planned to give his small kids for Christmas. Of course I was shocked for the typical reasons - money is not the real reason for the season, his kids are so small they won't know the difference, etc. However, the discussion made me reflect on an inner tension that I feel in my own life that is much deeper.

A part of me wants to shield my kids from pain. I also want to provide experiences, material items, and opportunities that I did not have as a child. However, in my attempts to do this, I also want to be sure that I do not create selfish children that believe the moon and stars revolve around them. Basically, I want my kids to understand that although they ARE the center of MY universe, they are NOT the center of THE universe.

I have also taken up Yoga. I LOVE it. I love the quiet stillness of Yoga. I love the deep breathing. I love the focus on ME. Yes, I said it - I love the fact that for one hour, I focus on my breathing, on stretching, on pushing my body a little further than I did the class before. I love the fact that in Yoga, I am not competing with others because I will never be "perfect". I will always be able to push myself to do more. Yoga, like life, is about the experience and the journey, not the destination. I will not attain perfection, and that is ok.

I read a quote, "Convictions are greater enemies of the truth than lies." The writer went on to state that "wisdom is what allows us to become more open minded, less in need of the security of dogmatic truth (a belief that this is only what the law is) and at the same time more centered in our own personal truth." So often, when we feel challenged, instead of questioning why we believe what we believe, we fall back to the defense that this is "just the way it is". We will never grow if we are slaves to dogmatic truths with no basis. If we do not know why we believe what we believe, and if we do not take the time to discover what we really believe, we will be like the man that built his house on the sand. If you do not understand your beliefs, you have no foundation for your morals, ethics, etc. Sooner or later, our beliefs will crumble when someone can show us that what we thought was true was not.

I hope that this year I can really ENJOY Christmas. Every year, I stress myself out. I feel like I have to buy the PERFECT gift for each person, I have to say the PERFECT things at our family Christmas gatherings, and I have to take the PERFECT pictures to document the PERFECT Christmas. I am finally realizing that I cannot ensure that anyone has a PERFECT Christmas. I cannot buy the perfect gift, I can't say the perfect things, I can't plan the perfect gathering. This year, I hope that I can simply enjoy the day. That is my Christmas wish - I don't want a perfect Christmas, I simply want to be present and enjoy a merry Christmas.