No matter whether this year felt long or short to you – we’re into the last few hours of it now. Of course, depending upon where you live, maybe it just ended or maybe its still early in the day on New Year’s Eve. Here in Germany its called Sylvester – like the cat that goes after Tweety bird. While the old woman tortured both animals by having them both as pets has always been beyond me; she probably just likes both.
I don’t know that I’ll be doing ‘anything’ this year. Some years I stayed up late with friends; some years I watched the ball drop; some years I got really intoxicated and/or had sex; some years I thought “My God, I’m a Mother now,” as if it was waking up one day only to learn I was now living on a different planet from the one I had been living on previously.
There’s plenty of time to go out and mingle and maybe even enough money to get drunk at a bar and take a cab home. I have a feeling I might not do that, but I remember being like 18 and thinking my parents were really frumpy.
I think its always good to help others, but that we are each supposed to do so in a way where we look after ourselves well to, or are looked after well. There are a few exceptions – such as serving in a war or a few other things, but mainly no. Anyways, I’m wondering what others of you do. One of my challenges is that since I moved to Germany doing things trying to found the UU monastic order, and creating an OBOD Seed Group are the main efforts to be of service to others…For 3 years I served on church committees and also did political stuff. The first year over in Germany I still did political stuff but now the new election campaigns have begun and I’ve dropped the ball as if it were a hot potato. I know Matt Socey does a community theatre thing, and that at least one of the other UUI guys does RE and many of the UUI women do a variety of things. In reality, I am very grateful to a number of you other writers who have somehow become more adept at helping other writers and still making progress for yourselves. I have a few ideas for ‘how to help out in Germany’ over and above, earning money and taking care of my son and learning at least some of the local language…but its tougher than I had expected but I don’t really understand why.
Here we are, shortly after the holiday. Here in Germany, stores are open again. What a reminder of how interdependent we all are. Its the simple truth, that if all those people hadn’t gone to work, there’s a lot I would not have been able to do. In reality, serving the community is supposed to be a motive for working as well as pay. A lot of people know this, but many others don’t. One simple action which might help the over all situation is for people to explicitly thank others for working. In this case, I don’t mean the colleagues – who also deserve gratitude, but the people who are work when you do all the things other than your own job. Oh, did someone make you a sandwhich, sell you gas, teach your kids, make you shoes, fix your car, or work at your bank? All of these people could benefit from your acknowledgement that they have done something for you. Although to some it is so obvious that no thanks are needed, a lot of people would be happier because ‘you noticed and bothered to care’.
Well, so far this Christmas season I have learned a variety of things, ranging from seeing a Protestant rant against the pagan “Christmas Tree” and the dubious origins of the religious Christian holiday….to learning that for many Jews, the really good news is that it is possible to go out to the movies and their Chinese restaruant owners will work because for them its not a holiday either. Also, in the news – sorry for Facebook friends experiencing all of this as a repeat of good information: today I learned that 84% of American adults when asked discretely will admit to praying on a weekly or even daily basis. Wow, its really that everyone’s doing it. In truth, so do I, but let’s let it go back to being a private matter. Like everyone else I learned about today; it is not a new behavior, I just wasn’t aware of it before.
Its going to be another few hours before I am able to watch my only living offspring open his presents. I feel grateful to be able to be giving him what I am giving him this year. Also, I feel completely different about receiving and giving presents when I am able to just buy things for myself and my son – at least, out of love more often and without it requiring a holiday….but thanks to the holiday, I did give to some people who I don’t often give to.
Was that helpful to any of you? Not sure, but I do hope so. Happy Christmas!
Well, here it is Christmas Eve. My son was here today and will be back tomorrow when I will give him ‘the big presents’ for Christmas. Actually, the biggest one is also one of his birthday presents. Hope everyone is well. Even the Internet is global enough that I picked up events unrelated to Christmas taking place around. In some ways that’s actually scary, in other ways it is a good reminder that it really does mean something to do the ritual.
In another small victory: here’s a new clip. Its a little rambling, as it is a first to have sound. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1X3PM6geHAs&context=C3432c49ADOEgsToPDskLB1NjPQ7I9ST_dgqRPs-wY
This opens up new opportunities for improving the quality and function of videos.
Downers can be good if we’re so ‘up’ that it helps us feel more sane. Downers are good if its a hill or a mountain and we’re on the route back down. Downers are a drag and do not feel like anything good when it means that instead of being happy or in a good mood we feel sad, disappointed, hurt, let down, rejected, dejected, etc..
Sometimes, whether or not an event is a downer depends upon our own attitudes. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes, it does but it doesn’t seem like it.
When we’re children and we don’t know, we often feel comfortable about not knowing and asking. In reality, even as kids this is not always true – sometimes we don’t know and want to know but are afraid to ask.
As adults, we get good at formulating our own beliefs and opinions. Well, some of us do. For some, how we justify or why we believe as we do is complex and is something we have methodically considered. For others, it is not such a rational or intellectual type of endeavor, but still has meaning and value.
Learning can be fun. The reason I say only ‘can be’ is because everyone who is moving along at a rapid clip either at work or driving, understands how unpleasant it can be to suddenly discover that one needs to learn something new, RIGHT NOW and as quickly as possible, which often drains the fun right out of it. Food for thought.
Well, everyone knows about both yes and no. It helps immensely to have real choice, except that sometimes people act from a sense of having very little choice. Sometimes that works better and other times that makes it worse. This can vary from entity to entity.
Yesterday, I said No to going on a day trip because I had said Yes to receiving my pay and being available to my son and also having some hope that I might get a little work done. Well, now its today, and I’m feeling a bit mixed up and anxious about whether or not I did the right thing or not.
We all learn from experience. Sometimes: good choices and bad choices: when to say Yes and when to say No are clear and straight forward, but other times not. Here’s to everyone endeavoring to use ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ the right ways at the right times in their/our own lives.
Well, today there has been some good news. My son was here and we enjoyed being together ‘even though he’s a teen’. I do find it challenging when he does ‘his own thing’ when I feel more interactive but don’t have anyone else here. Sven doesn’t mind when I do have someone else here, but since moving to Germany back in 2010, there usually isn’t anyone else home with us. This problem has been mitigated by the Internet, and so, where in the old days I would have been chatting on the telephone while my son played by himself – nowadays I exchanged text messages over the Internet. Still, we interacted far more than we do when he’s not with me.
The other big good news today is that the US removed the very last military troops from Iraq. Its been a long time, so this comes as quite a relief, especially since the troops did not leave ‘because of having lost’ but rather, as victorious helpers – the nation’s security is back in its own hands. Back in the Spring 2011 is the only time I have ever spoken with an Iraqi civilian about it. This occurred in Germany: we were taking German lessons together. I asked the Iraqi about the USA military presence in his homeland. He told me that they were very grateful for our help and were looking forward to our leaving – because it had taken way longer than they had expected as well.
Well, religious traditions can be helpful and a source of distraction and confusion. Growing up I did not think of Jesus Christ ‘as a guru’ but once I was exposed enough to the Hindus and the Buddhists and the Sikhs I realized: that’ what Jesus Christ is/was and how he functions. I had heard of disciples and knew about the 12 Apostles, and remembered my father blithering in a kitchen when I was a teen about ‘apostolic succession’ and have had at times vague and at times more detailed awareness about how the RC church stakes a claim to clean line of lineage from Jesus Christ and the apostles which a lot of people believe was broken irrevocably long ago. Meanwhile, there is also the belief that lots of new disciples effectively sprang up and managed to make progress and keep going thanks to lots of work with scriptures and acting on Christ’s teachings and doing some number of Christian Rites. Today’s source of ‘angst’ is about how explicitly and clearly Jesus Christ – esp as Son of God, urged people to take the view of being dependent on the guru. In other but somewhat related spiritual traditions the general gyst is that gurus should tolerate some dependence in disciples but that high quality spiritual teachers move disciples through and out of “guru dependence” whereas Jesus Christ gave no teachings of which I am aware that people would get over the dependence. The closest thing to that which I am presently aware of, was when he told the original 12 apostles to not worry and go all afraid when he wasn’t physically right there with them incarnate and in things like the eucharist and telling people that by doing that rite and joining together – he’s with us. Meanwhile, I also learned that he’s not even the only spiritual Master to be said to still alive in an immortal condition…but we have to wonder how much that’s true and how much that’s like telling Bobby and Cindy that the pet dog has gone to sleep rather than admitting the animal was killed at the Vet and is hopefully in ‘doggy heaven’ now.