While the winter holiday season fills me with the happy, cozy comfort of being wrapped in a big fuzzy waterproof blanket in the middle of a field of snow, it can also be a very stressful time. Every year, I hear stories about people picketing stores for their use of 'Merry Christmas' rather than something more generic, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, people ridiculing the season because of its 'over-commercialization'.
Folks, please. Can't we all just get along? As I've stated previously, every winter festival and holiday that I have seen shares one common theme - togetherness. Every culture, every religion, bans together to celebrate what they, as a separate cultural group, have in common with each other. Why can't we simply expand this generous theme to include people of other backgrounds and creeds? We are all of us humans, all with the same muscles, organs, blood, and bone. We are all mortal. We are all people. Instead of trying to ban one religion or another from the mix, why not embrace (or at the very least tolerate) all of them?
Without any religious bent, the winter season is traditionally a time when we, as mortal animals, have to ban together against the dangers of a growth-less season, sharing our food, our shelter, and our company so that we all survive to the planting time. Now, today, we have supermarkets and home delivery, but I don't think there's any harm in embracing that original instinct that fueled the creation of all these festivals for all these different cultures. Love. Embrace. Welcome. Share.
Another stressor of the holiday season is shopping. Oh, gracious, going to a store in December is liable to make anyone's hair turn gray. So if you're out there with your arms full of stuff, hyperventilating and getting a pressure headache right between your eyes- Stop. Relax. What you are getting and how fast you get it are not the point. Remember what the meaning of the season is. Togetherness. This does not only apply to your togetherness with others. It means your togetherness with yourself as well. Don't fall apart.
One thing that I do not think can be denied about the human race is this: we are empathetic creatures. If we are faced with anger, we get angry; if we're faced with frustration, we get frustrated. (And we wonder why so many belief systems have ideas like 'turn the other cheek'?) Be brave! Rise against the tide of seasonal stress. Someone may shove you or yell at you because they haven't given themselves those special, solitary moments in the bustle to center and calm, but you don't have to respond in kind.
Keep yourself together so that you can be together with the people you love. They will be much happier with you as a whole than they could be with anything you might give them with your hair on end - no one wants a present from the Bride of Frankenstein.
Today’s Haiku (September 23, 2017)
1 day ago