Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas and the Big C...


“I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy. From the very core of our being, we desire contentment. In my own limited experience I have found that the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the principal source of success in life. Since we are not solely material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for happiness on external development alone. The key is to develop inner peace.”

~ Dalai Lama

Christmas is such a funny season... a holiday dedicated to good spirit and giving... has become for too many, a time of loneliness and despondency, a season that sees a sharp rise in suicide as expectations (whether self-created or pressured from perceptions of demands from the outside world) are not met. I know for me and my kids this will be one of our poorest Christmases. But they are ok with that. Better than I am with it. I feel that pressure of being able to provide, to give more, and failing.

But as with most things it is after all mostly a matter of perspective. I know who I am, what I've done with and in my life and I know that giving is an act that is possible each and every day. So, I go on, knowing that life will go on, that this low will again become a high, a rise in both economic and emotional terms. And I also know that the sense of failure is not a right thing. I have 2 beautiful kids and am gifted with a creativity that amazes me. I have my health and in spite of the negatives I remain a happy person. My friend Greg Burke once told me (many years ago) to know the difference between perception and projection.

Perception is the seeing of what is, of recognizing the subjective nature. Projection on the other hand is seeing but with our own biases coloring that viewing. And for me that very much is what Christmas has become, a matter of perception versus projection.

A dear friend of mine, whom I have never met (such as arises from this wired, wwworldwideweb) has been dignosed with pancreatic cancer. Beth is a very strong woman, a mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend and a sister... I know Beth from the political side of my life. She is one of those activists who goes out and does. She engages and teaches by way of example while she provides a service valuable beyond measure to those she aids. And I know that right now, for her, her family and friends, this is a time where emotions are a roller coaster ride that can leave everyone involved exhausted and exhilarated, all at the same time. (I've edited the post, changing the photo of Beth to one from her gallery on CarePages. At the upper right corner of the webpage is a link to a page on which to register, which you must do. Once registered you may use the link in the same location to visit her board page section. You must enter her name, one word, case sensitive, as follows: BethWehrman. If we volunteers are truly george Bush's 1000 points of light), Beth is at least 200 of those!)

So it is this Christmas, that even though my bank account sits empty, my cupboards hardly overflowing, the billcollecters howling like wolves at my door, I am thankful, so very thankful for what I have in abundance and that for me to complain would be so silly, in light of what Beth, her family and so, so many others around the world face these days.

And so, dear friends, I ask you all, whatever your beliefs, to offer up a prayer or a good thought, a wish for healing, for comfort and rest and a return to ease from this dis-ease for my friend and fellow MAPster Beth Wehrman, for strength for her family, that this cancer may be vanquished and eliminated.

Merry Christmas.

Here's one for Beth and her family:

1 comment:

Rain Trueax said...

Merry Christmas, Alan. Blogger ate my first attempt to leave a post here. Maybe I wasn't supposed to say what I did :) At any rate, I hope your new year will be a good one. Solstice is a much more meaningful time to celebrate in a sense of what is real in the world. Christmas, which the Christianists worry all the time is being hi-jacked by the secularists, was always a pagan celebration-- which if the pagans got it back, it'd be more meaningful than what it's been made into :)

I am sorry to hear about your friend. Pancreatic cancer is what my father-in-law died of, a good friend's mother. It's a hard one. I hope it has a more positive ending for Beth.

Now I will try again to post this and hope it works this time :) minus whatever got lost at least.