Christmas.. Not Consumass

IMG_1318.JPG

Every year after the passing of Halloween it is like clockwork that the Christmas decorations come out and the shopping begins. People run to the stores, overload their credit cards to buy things they don’t need and impress people they don’t care about. Many people re-gift presents or the intelligent pro-planning consumer may buy things throughout the year when they go on sale. As well, some may purchase their next’s years gifts on Boxing Day; it’s like the snake is eating its own tail. Before it ends, it`s already begun. The vicious cycle of consumption flows on, while the destruction of our environment continues because of toys and useless items we could do without.

I use to love Christmas time when I was a child for all the family moments, chocolates, Christmas carols and of course the gifts. However, it was only after I got older and had to buy presents did I realize the amount of guilt involved and the ‘Con of Christmas’. It is no longer about Jesus, God or even generosity. It’s become a race, just like the rat race; but now to the end of your wallet. While corporations, credit cards companies are busting in the cash and laughing till the North Pole ( or should I say South.. have a nice vacation? ) It seems the whole idea of this holiday is to scam the working class. Thinking that by owning, they will be closer to happiness and yet the happiness fades as the bills roll in. It’s an intelligent scheme that they even created films to make one feel guilty if they do not participate in the madness. Ever been called a Grinch? And oh noo you wouldn’t want to be a scrooge! As well, you wouldn’t want your children to cry on Christmas Day when they didn’t get the game or toy you can’t even figure out how to work.

It’s all been monetized, and when I go to the malls I don’t feel Christmas cheer, I feel stress. I see parents running like chickens with their heads cut off trying to get all the gifts in time. Yes, there are still beautiful moments at Christmas but my issue is not with Christmas, it’s with CONSUMASS.

This time of the year is about getting together with family, celebrating, and reflecting on what one wishes for the New Year. The focus should be on gratitude, on appreciating sacrifice and connecting with the divine. Dec 25th is the death of the old sun and makes way for the new sun and the new year. It is a great time for reflection and rebirth of ideas, goals and ourselves.

Even people that are not catholic are participating in Consumass, but they are not participating in Christmas ( the idea of what is supposed to be- generosity, celebration love: these are all general ideas and concepts that any religion can follow regardless if they do not celebrate the birth of Christ)
We can all celebrate Christmas but the pressure of shopping has to be put a side. If other religions are practicing Consumass, it shows how contagious this shopping diease has become. However, other religions should instead use this time to connect with their form of the Divine as well. As a society we need to reflect on this day and what was given. We were given the opportunity to be forgiven, to let go of wrong doings and to celebrate rebirth.
All religions are one, their goal is to be a better person, to honour the life force and to choose morality. It doesn’t matter if you are muslim, hindu, christian, jewish, jain, buddhist; all of us can use the month of December as a time of reflection, inner journeys and to see what we no longer wish to carry and what instead we wish to create for the new year.

Make this Christmas different. Focus not on what you can get, not even what you can give, but what you can SHARE. Most of us have more than we need materially, but our souls are in need of refreshment.

Share laughter, music, food, experience.. the list is endless and if you must show it in a material way create something. We have so many talents we could use and it whens we dive into our own creativity that we give an authentic gift from the heart.

This Christmas instead of buying, I am making. Instead of shopping, I am creating. Make gifts for your love ones; show them how you care in other ways than just shopping. The heart knows how to express itself it just needs to be given a chance. Think of how you can spend time with your loved ones instead of buying things.
If your family comments on your choice to not participate in the consumerist aspect of this holiday then explain why and I am sure they will agree with you. There is more to the Birth of God than emptying our wallets, and I am sure God would agree. Jesus did not preach a religion of money, but of love. As quoted in the bible you cannot worship money and God at the same time.
So what will it be Christmas or Consumass?

IMG_1317.JPG

Advertisements

Black Sheep: Feeling isolated in a crowd of thousands ( Burning man )

Festivals and large gatherings are intended to be places we feel united and complete; where as human beings we flow in unison with a common idea and objective. Yet, sometimes we feel alone amongst the crowds. Why?

At Burning man where there are thousands of loving people gathered together to explore an alternate way of living.There was connection but there was also another side to the veil. One of separateness and isolation. During my week at Burning man (and other people I have spoken to) there was a sense of loneliness experienced.

I wondered how is it possible to feel alone, when surrounded by friends and thousands of people? What does this say about our society? What is the root cause?

From my investigation into my experience, I believe it showed what was already there. That loneliness was resting deep within me, but its at places like Burning Man we don’t have worldly things to worry about so they become more prominent. For example, at B-man you don’t have to worry about your food, bills, job etc; you only have your mind to deal with and so what wasn’t obvious before becomes clear.

Additionally, in our present society, people are alone more than ever, even when we have cellphones, social media etc. We lack intimate connections and face to face experiences. We may be communicating with numerous people at the same time, but we lack the depth and the energy exchange that occurs with physical encounters. Our social world is becoming shallow where we present how we want to appear to the world rather than how we actually are feeling and so there is a discrepancy between our soul and our external world. At B-man I believe loneliness was under the surface of our awareness but became more obvious. These feelings came up so that we could travel through them, heal and release them. Because it is only through going through fear can you overcome it. It is only by feeling separate can we rise above it and connect. Also, all feelings are alerts and we must bring our attention to why we are feeling this way and with loving kindness take care of that part of ourselves.

Large groups of people are also overwhelming and we may feel alone as we disappear amongst the crowd. Not getting as much attention as we normally would because there is just so many people. Our ego merges with the group but a part of ourselves still feels isolated as though it doesn’t quite fit in, or isn’t welcome and may even fight the idea of joining a group. Yet, these are all belief systems and can be overcome with time.

It was from feeling alone and separate during that week in the desert that I realized I had work to do to feel complete. For me it was a spiritual craving to connect with people and I wasn’t getting it from my circumstances. It drove me to find connections I felt were authentic, deep and on the same frequency. It also gave me a mirror within myself to see that I needed to spend time with myself and befriend my own being, because in the end, who is left but you.

Love<3

IMG_1305-0.JPG

Burning Man… 10 Burning Self Lessons

It amazes me the creativity of the human spirit and what can be made when there are no limitations. I witnessed this at Burning Man and the lessons I learned in the Nevada desert were deeper than I initially recognized.
I expected it to be a party, a celebration of people coming together to express their individuality and to have experiences that were fit for another planet. Of course there was that, but that was just the surface; And just like a calm ocean, there is so much below the surface.

Burning Man is not only a social experiment, it is a way to burn away all of the social constructs we have meshed into our brains. It is a way to burn away that which no longer serves us and it has the potential to burn us awake if we allow it to.

I witnessed emotions of sadness, loneliness, euphoria, love, expression,passion, depression, fear and freedom. The reason there was such an extreme was because this gathering has been created to create a place where all is possible and you can do basically anything you want, really… When there is no one telling you how to act, to dress, to feel, think and be ( only your conditioned mental patterns, if you allow them to influence you); then you get a touch of that place within you that knows what freedom is.. and wow does it feel amazing.

Here are some of the things I learned from Burning it all away…

1) Creativity
When you don’t have structure your able to flow:
– No one has cellphones and many don’t have watches so you do what you feel when you feel like it. When nothing is structured in your day and your able to pick and choose what you do, magic happens. You flow with the present moment and go wherever that takes you. Perhaps you end up at a workshop, a dance off, a party or in the deep playa. Yet you are exactly where you need to be at that moment.

2) Synchronicity…
– When you follow the flow, magic happens. When you do what you want and follow your heart the universe offers it to you. Its a common knowledge that if you ask for it at burning man it will generally show up either instantly or days later.

3) Joy…
There is so many amazing things happening at every moment, so you don’t spend time doing anything you don’t want too…
– There are hundreds of activities happening at one time and so if you don’t like something you move, do something else, join a new group of people etc. If your not feeling it, it is socially acceptable to move on and people understand that at Burning Man. Your able to tap into what it feels like TO REALLY WANT TO DO SOMETHING. Which is funny because many of us have been just accepting our circumstances for such a long time that we forgot what it feels like to actually want to be doing something versus just doing it.

4) Connection..
– There are thousands of beautiful people at burning man and you will have amazing connections with so many of them. Some you will have life changing conversations with and never see again. Some you will connect with after when returning to the default world. It is a reflection of the impermanence of relationships and how our connections come and go, yet it happens at a much faster pace in the dusty clay of the desert. As well, you realize you can connect with anyone, and anyone and everyone can be a best friend, there is no such thing as strangers!

5) Responsibility
– A principle of B-man is that you cannot leave a trace, what you come with you must leave with and I realized this teaches accountability and responsibility. So often in society we blame others, we blame the government and we never take responsibility for what is going on. Like the bystander effect we stand frozen, but when our own survival depends on ourselves we become EMPOWERED. No one owns our choices, we do and we can choose to step up or we can choose to bow down. Learned helplessness is rampant in society and I think its time we take the lesson of no trace and clean up our own mess without expecting someone else too.

6) Support
– As we are responsible for everything, we become empowered and with that stand to help others. If someone fell or if there was fight, immediately people would run over to stop it because they didn’t expect anyone else too. Additionally, people were so full of love and everyone was there to support one another whether they be friends, strangers or new lovers.

There is an illusion that we are Separate and alone on this planet. However, we are all supporting one another and everyone wants each other to succeed. Even if their egos wont admit it.

7) Individuality
– People would dress as they pleased, even if that was being naked. Some how people got more beautiful as days passed. I realized that as the days went on and people got in touch with that inner child it didn’t matter if they hadn’t showered for a weak, had 2 day old body paint on or ripped clothes.. their eyes shined with their own spirit. Something had been awakened.

8) Impermanence:
– The only permanence is change and what the artists create for months or even years to offer at burning man is burned during the gathering. When a wooden structure that is as big as a 100 ft building or even bigger burns it makes an impression. It really wakes you up to the fact that what was once strong will inevitably wither away when its time. Even Black Rock City ( 77,000 people) is constructed and then a week later is gone…
I cried when I saw the structure called ’embrace’ burn. I witnessed and released my past relationships and my attachment to love. Recognizing that all relationships come and go and what was once consumed with the passion of fire will become ash at some point in time. It was a sensitive but a crucial moment for me.
When the main structure- The man burned I witnessed myself burning. Seeing that we too are on fire and are constantly burning, using energy and consuming till our deaths. We are beautiful examples of Impermanence and yet we ignore it because we are afraid to think of our end. But when we can to accept it we can rise above it and make our lives more meaningful and worthwhile.

9) Insight..
– In the dust, intense dry heat all that you have been avoiding becomes obvious. In normal day to day life we are busy with our jobs and providing for ourselves. Stress consumes us, however, at burning man you have everything and there is nothing to worry about, it is a place of enjoyment, amusement and so all your patterns become obvious. If you find you are restless, anxious, anti social, lonely etc it is something to reflect on and think about. Additionally, relationships which were not on stable ground will be shaken and the truth will be exposed.

10) Listen..
– Your body and your intuition know more than you think. Our best teacher is ourselves. Yet, we always get in the way and say its not true. But when we listen we start riding a flow of authenticity. If your body is tired, rest… If your spirit is telling you to move on… move. Its that simple.

Burningman was chaotic, beautiful and peaceful. It was a representation of all that exists in life. It was rajas, tamas and awe inspiringly sattvic.

IMG_1283.JPG

IMG_1284.JPG