The bright lights and luminarias, the smells of home cooking, the excitement (and stress) of procuring innumerable trinkets for those we love, the anticipation of embraces from those seen too many days past- and the all too likely culmination of disappointments and food-induced comas- torpor that beseeches coffee as its only effective medicament.
We work so hard… to stay afloat, to provide for the ones in our care, to present ourselves in the ways we feel obliged to. Life goes by. Hairs turn grey. Hips become more corpulent. The joints start to ache. Day in and day out we march to the hum drum rhythms of our careers, responsibilities and familial identities. And then, come November and December- there is a change in the tune- bells resound- perhaps a crescendo will arise- or a deep pause. The love in your heart wells up and yearns for an opportunity to express in its fullness, to overflow and lift up all of those near and dear to you, to overcome all obstacles and absolve all barriers and limitations of relationship, to pulse beyond elation.
The hum drum rhythm just continues. Some bells, but overwhelmingly the same as it was- and how to express, to fully feel that most profound love? Without missing step to the beat we’re meant to waltz that love looks forward to seeing dear ones soon and yearns to express its form in the gifts we give and the foods we prepare. Expectation.
Alas we find ourselves in the throes of holiday festivities. Music and food, an array of smiles and words, some genuine, some feigned. Forgotten broods and grudges may resurface to show their ugly faces. Surrounded by family, we often feel hopelessly alone and unfulfilled. And what to do with that love that so badly wants to be revealed? Make more pie. Time to unwrap gifts. And then- where is the ice cream? More Turkey. Oh its not too early for some whiskey…. Indulgence.
It’s a vicious cycle. Expectations can never be realized. Unfulfilled, naturally we seek succor and so fill ourselves with that which can never truly satisfy- so many tastes and things and happenings- only to find ourselves stuffed but empty, and then yearning again the mind contrives more hopes and expectations.
The motive is pure. The motive is beautiful. Love, and the yearning to relish in it. The problem is, having divorced ourselves from it, we seek it out through relationships, experiences and consumption.
As soon as we place love, satisfaction, happiness and contentment outside of ourselves we sow the seeds of suffering in our lives. Fundamentally- Love is us. If this is forgotten and sought from circumstance, from the Other, it will never be found. There is an old parable of a Deer who, breathing in the most wonderful fragrance, wanders the forest, hopelessly seeking out its source, but to no avail- for the scent is only the fragrance of its own musk. We are all like this Deer.
Instead of divorcing ourselves from Love, our inherent nature, and transforming ourselves into bottomless wells which ‘more’ can never fill, we must strive to divorce ourselves from any notion of conditionality whatsoever. We must realize fullness, satisfaction and contentment in this moment, independent of any accomplishment, celebration or circumstance.
All of our lives have their joys and their sorrows, their messes and their wonders. If we wait for everything to smooth out we will never be happy. My Guru often says the only place in this world without difficulty is the cemetery. So we have to choose Love now, happiness now, contentment now- and with that choice we breathe magic into all of our relationships and we transform every day into a holiday. This is real Yoga. This is the message of so many ancient teachings, notably the Gita.
So, as your belly becomes full this coming holiday, if Sun Salutations and Headstands seem unrealistic, the let your Yoga be this remembrance: that your Love, your Happiness, indeed your actual Identity is verily that which “weapons cannot cut, which no fire can burn, nor any water wet or any wind dry.” (Bhagavad Gita 2:23)
Enjoy the Holidays (every day) and see you in the Grassroots Gita classes starting this January.