Becoming Buddhist

Attempting to Live a More Mindful Life


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Holidays When You’re High on Mindfulness

A few years ago I had to admit that I have a tough time with holidays. The difficulty is almost intangible; I’m excited for Thanksgiving, can’t wait to show off my gluten-free lemon meringue pie and my fetching vegetable side dish–but then I get terrified about a car crash on the way out of town. Or I just, all of a sudden, wish that it were a regular long weekend, with no obligation to be cheery, to drink wine, to participate.

I am pleased to say that this year, I weathered Thanksgiving with aplomb.

We visited Marc’s family–lovely folks with strong personalities. During holidays past, there has been some drama, arguments and the like. But this year, everyone was on their very best behavior. It helped that I was, too. It’s hard to explain what was different; I didn’t feel quite as pressured. A couple of times Marc was looking for me and there I was, reading a book in the guest room, letting someone else do the dishes and watch my kid. Maybe I embraced laziness? Not exactly. I just removed expectation. And I wonder if my lowered expectations affected those around me, because there was absolute harmony. Good food, many laughs, some alone time, some togetherness, a night out with the siblings while the grandparents put the kids to bed. And lots of love and gratitude being spread around. I was happy to come home late Saturday night, but also sad to have left.

I’m chalking this up to my newfound meditation practice, my morning yoga, my resolutions to enjoy my kid, embrace abundance, and give myself a break.

Four weeks to Christmas…

Thanksgiving harvest–probably the last big haul of the year!

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Mindful Resolution #5: Give Yourself a Break

I toyed with two other ideas for this last of the five mindful resolutions: “spend more time alone” and “say ‘no’ more.” I think all three get at the gist of the thing, which is that I tend to try to rise to unreasonable demands. Lately, those demands take the form of what feels like excessive socializing and community-building. Maybe that sounds a little bitter, but it has kind of felt that way: like there are social obligations I can’t get out of or enjoy as much as I would like. For my birthday in October I told Marc all I wanted was to have a weekend where we didn’t make any plans. I am craving both spontaneity and just a few days when the calendar is…empty.

So, resolved: no more double- and triple-booking; white lies are okay for the sake of my sanity; time alone is gold; yoga can be skipped in favor of staying home, if that’s how I want to roll; and it is okay to say “no.”