Even a Buddhist can Appreciate the Season...

This season I always miss being in my Catholic High School in NY. They always celebrated the Holidays with carol singing and the decorations filled the entire school. Interestingly, I do not think of myself as Catholic, or Christian but I still celebrate the season; plus I consider myself a Buddhist.....This last one really confuses people....."How could this be" "some might think. I have read several articles in which people mention this seemingly "watering down" of the real reason behind Christmas. I do not see this as a watering down of anything at all. I see my beliefs and traditions individualized to me and my needs. I actually see this as a break away from a way of thinking that often requires you NOT to think.

I love the Holidays, I love the colors, the lights, the camaraderie, the anticipation for great things to come and the giving. I do not feel any conflicts with the fact that my traditions might have once stemmed from a belief of the existence of a man believed to be the son of God; Jesus.....Perhaps to a devout follower of Christianity my form of spirituality might seem "watered-down", yet I cannot make myself follow beliefs I do not hold. Although I do strongly believe in a God and have witnessed enough miracles (and have had enough divine interventions) to know there is a divine order to everything we experience....I have a very hard time feeling the Jesus story....

I believe humans need rituals and celebrations and special days. For this, I love Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween. To me these days represent a day apart from the other in which we allow ourselves to be with one another in some form of harmony. I truly believe that because of the important role traditions play in all our lives, that even Atheists needs traditions.

Nora's 2.5 year-old drawings....

I look at my daughter and I cannot imaging a more perfect happiness than watching her drawing. Daily now we have been drawing at nights before we go to bed. She loves drawing. before she even turned one she drew her first "person". Yes, it was a circle with 2 eyes and just legs, but it resembled a person enough. Today, at 2.5 she draws everything from cakes, monsters, bugs to monkeys. To see her be so intensely interested in this medium makes me think of how much all kids would benefit from drawing in general. I have been saving and dating her drawings for some time now and the progress is remarkable. She now adds more and more intricate details to her characters and even comes up with her own characters.


Rep. Kucinich on Afghanistan War: "We're Acting Like a Latter Day Version of the Roman Empire"

Rep. Kucinich on Afghanistan War: "We're Acting Like a Latter Day Version of the Roman Empire"

Say.......say it and get it out of you

I use to sit for hours and think about ways to end all the world's ills and have found this approach anti-productive. I say anti-productive for have you ever gotten a positive reception when telling anyone their way of being, speaking or thinking is wrong. People, no matter how tortured they are in their predicament, do not take well to being lectured about what is best for them from any outside source.

Buddhists often tout the belief that the world is "perfect as it is" and for years I have struggled with adopting this idea in the midst of the reality of life we live in and all the suffering we wee around us. These two concepts initially just do not seem to go together. but just recently I have been able to wed these two seemingly different ideas as being perfectly congruent with one another. The answer lies in full self acceptance. In trying to change the world to the way we feel it would be best, we place ourselves in a constant battle to prove our way of seeing, plus there is the added weight of the ugly ego convinced it knows what is best for the world. The fact is that we do not know what is best for anyone, but ourselves.

Painfully, I have come to see that the answer lies in doing just the opposite of preaching ones beliefes. The answer comes when one is simply being....being themselves and not at all in trying to change anyone. The more you are just yourself with all your faults the more people around you can be themselves too. When I say being yourself, I include all aspect of yourself; from my appearance all the way down to your beliefs.

With me, I begin self-acceptance with the fact that I don't wear makeup, I no longer dye my hair, I use the same voice no matter who's calling on the phone, I dress in what makes me feel powerful and fun. I no longer worry about what people might think about me as a mom when my kids begin screaming in the aisles in the supermarket...in all these ways I am just me....nothing more, nothing less.

So the world IS perfect the way it is......but only when we come to accept ourselves and the unique set of circumstances that make us who we are without needing to change the world into being just like us. Only then do we begin to fall into a higher consciousness.