It is, as Barbara notes, the season. I appreciate her concept of "tinsel dukkha." She's right - is that crap ever going to end it seems?
With that in mind, may I present two videos. First, Stephen Colbert's antidote to "tinsel dukkha":
You only need to go about a minute or so into this video to capture the point I want to get across:
You cannot laugh and be afraid at the same time - it's physiologically impossible, Colbert says. He's likely right, as far as I can imagine. That's why Colbert's first song is so good - and needed - this time of year. Neither can you have a good belly laugh and be enraged, I'd posit as well.
And that's why I think I'm finally getting more or less at peace with the whole Christmas/Hanukkah Holiday thing.
Because, like Colbert creating laughter to dispel fear (or rage) you can change your mind and attitude towards the whole thing. It just takes a bit of effort.
If you look at it as a time of year that you can make of it what you will or won't, then you can be more or less acting like a tourist when you go into the local Safeway or Target and they're playing what would be that insane Pavlovian racket - if you let it get to you.
I'd written about Christmas before. One thing I'll note here: Don't fret the advertising, slogans, jingles, etc. Shunryu Suzuki said something that still resonates with me, that has served me very well over more than two decades: Culture comes from you. Your "culture" is what you make of it.
So if American Express wants you to be scared crapless of paying cash in a foreign country, that's their problem. The whole, whole, whole season is a conditioning ANYWAY! And every time we walk away from whatever angst or dukkha or anger or boredom at the sight of the red and green, it's not undoing the conditioning.
We have looked behind the curtain, and we have found that it's US at the controls!
All that said, I'll probably give my wife a check, or better yet, shop with her so she gets what she wants, and she'll get me a better safety razor. And somethings really cool for my son. Gift cards for everyone else.
I found one way to remove the angst after Angstgiving is to bail on the whole idea of surprise gifts. If you get 'em early enough, and everyone knows what they're getting, nobody's disappointed. Plus, you actually do forget somewhat some of the things that are wrapped, so it's still a semi-surprise even though everyone already has knowledge what the gifts are.
(Re: shaving I have discovered though the secret's in the brush - use a brush to keep your face wet, and you will never get a closer shave any other way than with a brush, shaving soap, and keeping the face continually wet. Seriously DITCH THE GILLETTE RAZORS.)
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