The holiday season and I have an ambivalent history. Some years, I was unable to let the season go, and other years, I never quite showed up for it. Yet, there is one seasonal constant: tradition says we harvest in fall and give thanks; as winter begins, we give gifts, goodwill among them.
All that is left
to us by tradition
is mere words. It is up to us
to find out what they mean.
Each holiday season, I reconsider its traditions in words well-worn as well as new ones: “…to be detached from both the past and future [is] to live in the Eternal Now. For in truth neither past nor future have any existence apart from this Now; by themselves they are illusions” (Alan Watts).
The promise of the Eternal Now is life as a seamless season, gifts available in every moment of eternity. If we embrace this holiday season as the Eternal Now, we open ourselves to a way of life that extends goodwill this day and every day.
Yet, any moment of the holiday season offers us experiences that unwrap us raw. These are gifts that cannot pass quickly enough–or so we think–whether it is the first holiday of loss or just another year that we mark a loss. We remember, as we should.
Like the holiday season, the Eternal Now is not a matter of endurance but a matter of meeting each moment just as we are. We may only manage a breath but that is enough to take us into the next moment. Emptying ourselves into loss opens us to gratitude for having loved at all. In love, we let loss go.
For those holidays I could not let go, I was clinging to the bright and shiny rather than experiencing them. I never really opened their gifts. In those years I completely avoided the holidays, I was surrounded by sparkling gifts not only unopened but unnoticed.
In trying to hold onto a moment and make it stay, we cause ourselves to suffer; if we refuse to show up, we are still seeking what is not and we suffer. Yet, the field of infinite possibilities is always available to us as long as we breathe for we are never out of sync with the Eternal Now, no matter what.
“You may believe yourself out of harmony with life and its Eternal Now; but you cannot be, for you are life and exist Now—otherwise you would not be here” (Alan Watts). We can celebrate our entire lives with the warmth of the holidays if we remember that existence— the Eternal Now — is always in perfect harmony.
My gift to you, and thus to me, is a life lived in the Eternal Now in all seasons.
Regular blog posts will resume December 8, 2013.