From a young age, I poured over "spiritual" books and articles that said that the people closest to us in life are not randomly placed genes or lucky DNA. Instead, we are connected, threaded to those we know by unfinished business from past lives. Like the threads of conversations in the newest computer operating systems, there are no accidents in terms of our family relations, friends, business associates, and even the guy at the corner store. No strangers.
Because of these karmic connections, with mindfulness, there is an opportunity to complete our loose ends and make them right. We are karmic magnets and we long for this completion, we reach for it in each life we are born into. No strangers. Like puzzle pieces correctly matched, when we find the right pieces and connect them with love, the relationships are complete and we can move on.
There are no accidents. That's why the mindfulness of our actions, living a conscious life, is so imperative, so important; that's why, when we watch our thoughts and words, the relationships we are born into can close the loop. If we're careful, we can knot the thread and move on. Some of us hope to move to Nirvana, to the blissful state that carries no conflict. Others, like the Dalai Lama, would prefer to stay in the realm of humanity that carries challenges. What makes this Dalai Lama so great is his humanness and desire to stay in the world of conflicts.
No strangers, yet sometimes it seems that our families, the people we should know best, are the least understanding, the least sympathetic. Perhaps because they know us so well, and we know them, we don't see the reasons for those connections, don't see the lessons that are there for us. They are the hardest for us to understand. During the holidays, for many of us, our family ties are stirred into a froth of anxiousness and, even with deep breaths and mindfulness, I find myself sliding into the patterns that set me off every time. You'd think I would know better by now, but these family commitments feel more like commands, and the loving ties we long for are nowhere to be found in these gatherings.
The holidays, for many of us, is not a joyous time when families are expected to join for dinners and holy services. Some of us with no families are alone and isolated, in a culture that honors holidays and traditions. What do those of us who are single and childless do? Each year, I try to answer that question for myself. How do I live during this time, trying not to let this holiday loneliness creep in? Is it possible? Staying busy with activities I enjoy helps: yoga, hiking with Audrey, reaching out where I'm needed. But the business of the holidays is hard to ignore, and I find myself cringing at every holiday carol. My own carol, "Please, let it be over soon," rings loudly in my mind. If this is true for you, I hope you know that you are not alone, that many of us struggle through this time of year, and the new year, with its promise of new relationships and experiences, is just ahead.
Do We Choose Our Parents?
Happy New Year!
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Sun Salutations, a great way to begin the new year!