This is the season of giving–and of anxiety about giving. Every night on the TV news, there are cameras trained on the malls and at least one shot of a cash register opening and change being made. In addition to the darkness of December in the Northeast (I wrapped the deck railings with Christmas lights and decorated a tree with pagan zeal–let there be light!) there is this atmosphere of anxious anticipation. It is a little bit like waiting to hear if a sick relative is going to pull through. Will the body politic rally and go on consuming? Or are we all about to witness/undergo an extraordinary transition? There is a sense of…fear, yes…but also possibility. People are questioning, how can we live more simply and economically? Why don’t we skip the gifts and just be together this year?
This season tends to remind people of the passage of time, of holiday’s past, of loved ones who have passed away. (My zeal for Christmas lights kicked in after the death of my mother a few years ago. She loved Christmas. Me, not so much). After my mother died, I suddenly realized that my love for her was a source of light and warmth in itself–it informed me, mothered me, even now that she had slipped out of my world. Giving love gave me love. I realized that we really are connected to others energetically–that separation is a fiction (supported by our (my) limitless capacity for being distracted by thought). All I really want for Christmas this year is the ability to stay awake more often, to perceive the giving and receiving that is always happening in the present. This greed and grasping and the fear that is riding high in the news…it occurs to me that it may be the illusion of isolation (and not money) that is the root of all this suffering.