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Comment by Laura Scattergood on 12th mo. 24, 2014 at 6:06pm

Thanks for speaking on this Marybeth.   I think one of the things that is kind of funny is that for most of  the year many people I know,  relatives and so on,   have an almost mocking view of  those who practice a spiritual earnestness and then suddenly these mockers become conventionally religious and perform various bizarre rituals concerning food, trees and shopping while expressing a sappy devotion to a person they seem to think is named Jesus and who they are apparently quite tight with briefly before moving on to drunken revelry a week or so later.

Comment by MaryBeth Smith on 12th mo. 24, 2014 at 8:00pm

Hi, Laura. Thanks for reading my little blog. 

Yeah, I've also observed the ironies. I try to practice non-judgment, with varying degrees of success, depending on the day. Mostly, I say very little, limit my exposure, and focus on what's essential. It's a continuing practice for me. I'm easily drawn in to frustration and anger. When I act out of that motivation, nothing good happens. :-)

I wish you deep nourishing and fulfillment in your spiritual path. Enjoying your posts and comments here on QQ!

Comment by Laura Scattergood on 12th mo. 24, 2014 at 8:06pm

That's for sure, Marybeth, anger doesn't help.  I stopped participating decades ago, though, so my exposure is really limited!  It was a relief to walk away from it all. 

Comment by MaryBeth Smith on 12th mo. 24, 2014 at 9:01pm

I agree, Laura! Blessed relief!

Comment by Forrest Curo on 12th mo. 25, 2014 at 5:34am

A link to a post featuring another link, hmm.

I'm just up now with minor indigestion, myself, from my own family's potlatch. These years there've been fewer of us, some being no longer up to the gathering, one grown grandchild off with her significant other's family, less money to blow and less need for presents between us. And still the same pig-out spread from my stepdaughter and her husband. Which I enjoy, despite knowing I'll regret some of that later.

I don't think any of them really understand what religion can mean when you 'get it', but there's no hypocrisy involved, only indifference to the subject. A stranger among them, myself, I don't often try to tell them anything they wouldn't accept from me, neither do I keep my Quaker affiliation secret. When their way opens, it probably won't be through me. Meanwhile, they're good people and this gives my wife another occasion to maintain her connection to them.

I don't think that inconsistencies are necessarily cause for lamentation. If I'd been as consistent an atheist as I once thought, it would have been harder for God to reach me. I hope it will also work out as well for these people.

Comment by MaryBeth Smith on 12th mo. 25, 2014 at 8:04am

Thanks, Forrest, for your perspective. It calls to mind that lovely Quaker concept (I'm paraphrasing) that we act according to the measure of Light that we've been given. This idea has given me such peace, this year especially. As you've put it, where "there's no hypocrisy involved, only indifference to the subject" it has been easier to let go of any rigidity I have, and simply enjoy the closeness and the love, and the merriment, with good friends and family. Those are precious things, too. The deeper meaning is all an inside job, anyway - and so I must trust that the way opens.

I agree with you about inconsistencies. They keep us humble (me, anyway), and perhaps those  are also openings for Spirit, and for compassion for self and others. 

Thanks so much for taking the time to comment -- even with a bit of indigestion! :-)

Comment by Laura Scattergood on 12th mo. 25, 2014 at 9:56am

If the people are good people then I wouldn't mind being with them.  But if they are evil people then I don't want to be with them on their holidays.  I grew up with holidays being the time when cruelty was unleashed at maximum strength.

Comment by Laura Scattergood on 12th mo. 25, 2014 at 10:03am

I wouldn't "mind" being with them if  there were some sort of good times involved I guess,  and there's no need to make this judgmental about those who find all this pleasant and meaningful.  Nevertheless,  being a Quaker isn't a secret either, and blending in so as not to disturb others in multiple situations.    .    .?   This is a distinct testimony and if other people notice it now and then because some peculiarity stands out.   .   well then we are not totally compromised.    

Comment by MaryBeth Smith on 12th mo. 25, 2014 at 11:26am

Laura, I hear you. Many people recall earlier trauma and are triggered by the holidays. That's another "elephant in the room." Many people must dine with their perpetrators, in the instances of physical/emotional/sexual abuse within the family and its circle of "friends." It is tragic and traumatic. I had different reasons for sadness. My ex-husband (is) a church musician. I didn't realize until after we divorced how resentful and sad I felt each year as Christmas approached, knowing that we would have absolutely zero "family time." We did the best we could, but I feel the echos each year. Happily, this year has been the best yet. I've felt a lovely detachment from all of it, really able to pick and choose what would bring true happiness and closeness with people, and letting go of the rest. 

Thank you for sharing so generously from your experience. One thing seems sure: this is a time of year when people really get in touch with deep issues. We each find our way to healing, or at least dealing. I wish you great joy, and peace, and Light, today and every day. 

Comment by MaryBeth Smith on 12th mo. 26, 2014 at 8:04pm

That's really lovely, David. I was familiar with the pagan/Christian "crossover" and overlap of the holidays, but you have tied up several loose ends quite elegantly. "If we choose to make it an opportunity for healing and celebrating family and community, perhaps we can hold our heads a little higher going into the New Year. It is a season of opportunity for many noble things." 
Beautiful. Thank you.


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