Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays debate

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~ SIGH~

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It’s the silly season and I bet, like me, all of you have have been inundated with negative sentiments on social media, in person, or in the mail.

People keep complaining about what religion is best, who is being excluded, and how what I’m feeling is either stupid, unrealistic, or just plain bad. I keep seeing how we are being brainwashed by religion, media, politicians, and the Internet for one reason or another.

It just seems so sad to me. The purpose of the holiday celebrations during winter is to add some joy in the blackness of winter when this feeling is scarce. This is true regardless of which religion you adhere to. In fact, you will find that there was a celebration (some of them solemn and some of them anything but) in just about every religion during this time of the year.

Yet, this reason seems to have gotten lost in the glitz and glamour of gift giving and the battles over what the season is supposed to mean.

Christianity has been under attack by those who want to eliminate religion from the festive events of the holidays, saying that we shouldn’t exclude anyone. This is kind of ironic considering that one of the largest religious sects on this planet today is still Christianity and currently the major holiday festivities are surrounding Christmas.

This is a holiday for Christians. It is the right of every Christian to celebrate and I do not want to remove any of the warmth or sentiment from the practice by quarreling over “who” has the right to celebrate it.

It never ceases to amuse me that all the best Christmas carols and cartoons were not written by Christians. For some reason other religions all want to participate in at least some of the practices and events of Christmas.

This doesn’t mean that Christianity is the only acceptable religion or that Jesus was actually born on December 25. We have figured out from the stories told and history that he was more likely born in April and that it was a clever pope who selected the winter solstice celebrated by Pagans to celebrate the birth of Christ. Therefore, naming December 25 Christmas (the day to celebrate Christ’s birth) was very clever indeed.

Why was this clever? Because, in the bitter winter months we need something to look forward to; to celebrate rather than hibernate.

This pope never heard of the phrase seasonal affective disorder and he did not have statistics to prove that suicide and depression increase during this time of year. He just knew that, like Pagans, his “flock” needed something to celebrate and why not let it be the birth of the key figure in his religion. CLEVER.

So Christmastime was born and while Christians have not cornered the market on this time of year –there is Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve and Winter Solstice celebrations– Christmas sets the tone.

So give it credit and do not hold it against Christians that we celebrate Christmas during this time of year.

Instead of trying to remove Christ (or religion) from the celebrations, why not ask yourself why it is that this is one of the most beloved holidays for Christians and non-Christians alike.

Why?

It fills a need.

The need to be part of something more than ourselves; and

It gives us a reason.

It is the reason to be kind and generous to our fellow neighbors, friends and family without having to justify it.

It gives us a legal holiday to enjoy peace and take some much needed down time to get a little silly and laugh at ourselves for a couple of days each year.

Why would anyone be against this?

It revitalizes the soul. So even if you are non-religious, agnostic, or a full-blown atheist ask yourself what is the best gift you can give your fellow neighbors during one of the bleakest times of the year?

Do we really need more “things”? or is it something as simple as a warm smile, a friendly hand, and the kindness that comes from simply giving your acceptance of who we are and that we matter. All this can be summed up in my gift to you.

My gift to all of you this Christmas is a wish:

I wish you understanding, non-judgment, kindness and love. I wish you forgiveness. I wish you a peace that fills your soul and lets you believe in miracles once more.

I wish this to all of you, whether you believe in Christ or not.

Every time you hear Merry Christmas you are hearing my wish for you.

And for those who care to give one to me, you can wrap it in any moniker you wish: Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Feliz Noel, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah, or simply ~ Peace.

I will be touched by the sentiment in each sincere wish, for I know that you understand the true meaning of the season.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

Thanksgiving 2014

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I am thankful for the letter “F”

I’m sitting watching skaters dance on Frog Pond this crisp fall day, remembering the days when my own childish laughter echoed through the bright days.

Closing my eyes I’m transported back to the past when the smells of leaves, apples and spices filled the air and the promise of snow was something exciting. I would sit under the dining room table next to the burning fire from the stove watching TV specials while mom turned out a banquet of treats both savory and sweet, in the three days leading up to thanksgiving.

The day itself could be summed up by the letter F:
Fun, Food, Friends, Family and Football.

Those memories have given me strength over this last year, which has been one of the most difficult in my adult life. It has made me look at this upcoming holiday season with a bittersweet anticipation. There is so much more difficulty ahead of my family, yet there is hope. Hope that sits in my soul that we can get back some of that laughter and excitement.

Reflecting on all that has transpired this year, I find that thanksgiving for me still equates to “F”. For every trial or opportunity that I have encountered it has been friends and family that have shown me support and the courage to go forward.

Every time I have wanted to retreat into my shell and stay there, a silver lining would surface allowing me to fight for the future.

For those of you who either participated or bore witness to this time, I have so much to thank you for:

Mary, you are so young and have a lot more learning to do, but on Barbie’s birthday you showed a clear headed calmness that was much needed.

To my family, thank you for rallying to my support when needed.

Billy I truly believe that the amputations will be a blessing in disguise for you, giving you more mobility, better health and a reason to fight for the future.

Mom and Dee spending time away from you has provided me with a clarity I wouldn’t have had, it has committed me to change with no going back.

To my friends, despite not being around much the few times I’ve reached out you have been there for me when I needed it. I’m not good at asking for help or sharing, but I’m learning and I am so very grateful to you.

To my new friends, welcome into my chaos. You are a true light shining in my weary world.

To the children in my life you keep me young and remind me of laughter on frosty fall days.

May all of you know the love and support I have had in this past year without the turmoil that precipitated it.

And may 2015 represent a new F… Living Fierce.

Happy Thanksgiving

The walls we build….

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The other day a friend of mine and I were talking about our current relationships and how our childhood imprinted a blueprint we follow even to this day.

We were not childhood friends and our backgrounds are vastly different, yet we are friends because we click. We recognize the blueprint I guess which is the same. We are the masons ; the wall builders. We became experts at one thing “insulating ourselves from pain.”

It funny, I never have deep conversations about my “walls” with others because only another “mason” could understand. I am safe and numb inside the walls, which thicken with time. Yet, I’m not happy. Sure I have moments of happiness but I always wanted to look back and see my life as more happy than sad, not ambivalent. I never truly connect with others and easily let them pass out of my life. I withdraw behind my walls and disconnect from everyone. I can’t seem to help it.

It’s funny how similar we are, my friend and I. Both of us wondering if we will ever be capable of truly loving anyone with our whole soul. If not, can we be contented with the love and connections we are capable of? It’s a difficult thing to think about. We all assume that everyone can fall in love, but not everyone experiences love the same way. We grow up with the romantic notion of a soul mate and the perfect romantic love that is out there if we are just open to it. Really? What if our soul mate is just as broken? What about the ones who never marry; are they just thwarted in their search? Or is there another reason why some choose not to marry? I always thought I would find my balance and my partner in life, yet that hasn’t happened. My friend is on a second marriage and trying to make it work. Yet, something is missing. Is it our blueprint?

We both had fathers who left. We both dealt with the fall out from that — it’s made us who we are– master craftsmen of wall building.

Yet, I always wonder if it’s possible to bulldoze these walls and unlock what is hidden. Would that be better? I’m not sure. My walls serve a purpose, to protect: protect me from being hurt, and my hurting others.

I’ve learned not to want or desire. To live within the boundaries, yet…

To give my heart to someone, to let them love me totally is a rare dream. I hold it like a bird in my hands, afraid to grasp too tightly, afraid to extinguish the hope, the wildly romantic idea that I am capable of a love beyond anything.

I was watching a show the other day that said people are not capable of true change? Do you think that’s true? Am I like a moth to a flame–doomed to repeat the same patterns, to add another brick in the wall, no matter how I try to do things differently?

Maybe I just think too much. Maybe I should just say screw it and risk everything? But then again….is that me futilely fighting my blueprint?

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Challenges

Exhaustion ripples through me like the thunder that echoes beyond the walls.

Hiring a housekeeper should not be so tiring, but I know it’s the emotional strain more than anything. I knew my family would resist the change. It’s a lot to ask them; to move outside their complacency and inertia. Yet, it has not changed my mind or resolve. This change will happen.

Our lives will be lead much differently from now on. The more they resist, the more they fight me, the stronger my will becomes. I’m not going to be lulled back into sleep, my eyes are open and I’m awake.

I don’t want to sleepwalk anymore. I want to feel life, experience life deep within my core. No more excuses, no more hiding behind the walls we’ve made.

I know this is a process. I know it will take time and that it will summon every ounce if strength within me, but I want it. I want it more than I can express. It is that hunger that insatiable need that keeps me going. My will is being tested. My will is strong. I can do this.

They will resist but I’m ready for it, more so now than I’ve ever been. So tonight I celebrate a small victory — the housekeeper.

Tomorrow begins a new battle. The purge.

The death of platonic love?

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Just recently I was reading an article lamenting that platonic love was dead.

It differentiated platonic love from deep friendship as it (to the author) has an unrealized sexual component where deep friendship doesn’t. That has me scratching my head as I always believed that friendships were platonic.

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The diagram depicts the way the author believes current love is experienced and platonic love makes up the lower circle and as you can see friendship makes up the majority of the circle. It’s where it overlaps the other two that the author focuses on, particularly on

fuck buddies

It certainly does show the complexity with which we face relationships these days. There used to be a set acceptable societal norm for relationships: platonic, romantic, comfortable numbness.

These were devised with the focus on child-bearing and making sure men knew from who and where their ancestral line emerges. For women it was easy as we carry and give birth to the child.

Therefore, it was important to keep women chaste, pure and ignorant of sexual pleasures as this would only complicate the determination of parentage.

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That kind of simplicity was shattered with the invention of two things: birth control pills and DNA testing. BOOM! The chaste virgin view of women died.

With the pill, women–and not whores– were allowed to like sex. Oh my!

Women were further empowered by DNA testing to force men to recognize their own offspring. So now men can “know” their lineage. Where does that leave love and friendship?

If the need for procreation is not the driving force behind love in society, what does that mean?

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Can we have love that transcends the physical, the sexual? Can we have platonic love as Plato describes it:

The beautiful or lovely other person inspires the mind and the soul and directs one’s attention to spiritual things.

Do we have to equate male-female (et. al) relationships down to whether or not they have sex with each other? Was platonic love an illusion based on societal norms? Or is it the other way around?

By removing the barriers would we interact sexually without examination or recourse? Would sex then fall to that of any other physical activity; and then love and emotional bonding be elevated to something else?

Would we love with our hearts and our minds? Would we allow our souls to be touched and inspired by those around us without the need to bed them, as the author states? In essence, would we find that platonic love does exist but, gets complicated when sex is involved?

Is it societal norms that make us jealous of others? Why do we get so upset when our partner is close to another man/woman? Even when we know sex isn’t involved? Are we really jealous of that connection?

Forever territorial, our partner’s muse is coveted zealously by us. It is for us and us alone and if someone else can spark passion even if it’s mere intellectual passion it makes us crazy and insecure.

Is that what the author truly means about the death of platonic love? Not the advent of fuck-buddies, true love, unrequited love or love gone awry. But, the actual realization that with or without sex, we want to hold the starring role in our partner’s passions.

It’s funny my best friend is a man and I’m friendly with all my exes, yet I see the insecurity in their current spouses. I feel the wall come up. They may really like me if they didn’t have to guard against my stealing their love’s affections. I feel for them. I wish that they can truly experience platonic love as I do. I don’t want to steal their husbands. I have no need to do that, for we converse on a different level. Our sexual relations are either nonexistent or in the past a will forever remain there. It is for that reason I can be their friend and confidant.

Many souls have inspired me, many a day I find myself enjoying sharing my journey with another kindred soul. I’m truly happy for them and their mates. I ask for no romantic ties, most of the time it doesn’t occur to me.

I just enjoy being with them. For me that is enough. Sure I have experienced passion, I have had my share of lovers, but I’m very selective on physical intimacy.

Why? To me that is the most personal you can be with someone, more so than sharing a meal or your home etc. it takes me a long time to get to know someone well enough to become sexual with them. By then I’m well acquainted with their likes and dislikes. I know what will provide them pleasure and how to ask for what pleases me. It’s all very personal. And for me intimacy needs to be reached first. Knowledge is power, but it’s also pleasure in my world.

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Yet, with platonic love, truly platonic love, I have reached a level of intimacy and knowledge that no amount of sex can provide. It’s a kind of knowing.

Knowing that no matter where or with whom we are, no matter how far we travel physically from each other, we are still on the same journey, we are still facing in the same direction and we love each other beyond anything.
There is no need to leave a physical legacy or testament to this knowledge. It existence is all that is required.

I can count on one hand those who have reached that level in my heart and I am grateful to know each one of them. To me they are proof that platonic love is never-ending. It can not die. The only thing that changes is how we view it.

Platonic love dead? I think not.

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