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 #4: Be Grateful

In meditation a week ago, the guy who led the session and gave the dharma talk read some work by poet Danna Faulds. These lines stuck with me:

“It took years for me to realize that the very twists and turns and shadows I labeled ‘problems’ were really sacred ground, grace disguised as obstacles, the whole path a pilgrimage, mysteries baring themselves before me all along the way” (from “Every Step is Holy, in From Root to Bloom).

I grew up in a family where we all held on by our fingertips so nothing bad would happen. As an adult, I tend to remember, in my more graceful moments, that adversity brings growth. Here on Thanksgiving, I want to remember that the only way through dukkha is by experiencing it and growing stronger. Grace, disguised as obstacles.

But I think Poi Dog Pondering maybe said it best.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!