I don't celebrate Christmas. The family I grew up in did, but I don't now. It is partly because of my husband, when I met him he was Rastafarian and we just naturally took our own path away from the Christian tradition, and it is partly because I have taken my own, genuine interest in Buddhism which does not celebrate this holiday. I am not offended when people wish me a Merry Christmas or ask if I am "all set" for Christmas. I have great memories of family gatherings and holiday traditions with my family. Still, we get together with my husband's families every Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for the standard feasts and gifts. We have begged our families not to get us gifts because it is awkward for us, we either feel obligated to give gifts as well, thus forcing us into their holiday, or we don't give gifts and feel really uncomfortable because they insist on getting us some. I would much rather spend time as a family without all the extra gift chaos. To my kids, the gifts (and all the crazy foods) are all they care about on Christmas. Autism or not, by the time we hit the door to go home, the kids and I are usually in a full-on sprint to the car from all the sensory overload! Noise makes me nauseous sometimes, it crawls under my skin and kicks me in the brain and gut. I have had my share of noise pollution the past two days.
So tonight after things were settled a little, I decided to quiet my mind and do a little meditation. I had spent a long time looking at Buddhist things on Amazon tonight, and my mind felt open despite the chaos. I tried a breathing technique I'd heard of recently, where you inhale for four counts, then hold your breath until you feel you can't hold it any longer, and let it out. After doing it 4 times, my head started to drain (sinuses, etc). As I felt the draining, I sat quietly and let my mind feel/see myself sitting under a tree meditating, just as the Buddha originally did, but before I went inside myself in my meditation within meditation, the Stars twinkled and shot a bright glowing energy into me. In waking, I don't think about the stars much, though I have read that we are made of the dust from stars. I was going to end my meditation there, but I decided I needed to know more. Why was I given this energy, what am I to do with it? The answer came in pictures, first I thought it was showing me teaching or guiding, and I knew that wasn't the whole picture then as if a voice said it out loud, the words TO NURTURE came across so clear. The images I was getting during this were of the people I would encounter at the job I'm going to school for (to help people with special needs learn life skills), and I think the reason teaching/guiding didn't fit right in my meditation is because I am aware that some people with cognitive delay or damage may never learn. My job will be to teach those that can learn, but to nurture all of them.
So that was an interesting twist on my standard why-am-I-so-fat meditation. The spirit of meditation can be very self-serving, but the Buddhist goal is to meditate on how my actions can help or hurt others.
I haven't been thinking about my body lately, meaning I am not engaging in the typical self-hate or obsessing over how not to eat my weight in carbs, or how to fit into a size 2 dress by New Year's Eve. I see it all around me, "I can't" "I shouldn't" "How can you?" And food is making people act like they are about to do something totally taboo or horrible. I can see how those thoughts can ruin special times for folks. Time we should be enjoying with people that won't be around as long as we want them to be. Time we should be happy. We deserve to be happy, no matter what size pants we wear. Not because of our size, but despite it, because we are not a mistake.
I hope my readers enjoyed time with loved ones and had a peaceful holiday.