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Friday, December 28, 2012

The Holy Days: A Time for Renewal?

december will soon be ending. The world didn’t end last Friday 21. The pain in the ligament of my right leg haunts me still after two weeks. Apart from that, life continues as it had before. There is change, of course, but the process of life follows the same cycle most of the time.


As I look ahead at the new year of 2013, I can’t help but look back at where I was this time in 2012 and where I am here today - a few days before the new year. I know that there were successes and moments during the ending year that had an ending I didn’t expect. These one may call “failures” and, in a sense, they are failures. And, perhaps I feel my greatest failure has been my attempt to live independently at the Akwarell. Especially since, as readers of this blog know, I had high hopes for this step in securing my future independence.


Unfortunately, there are many reasons why I felt that this wasn’t working out. Besides, it wouldn’t be appropriate to talk here about why I have decided, after considering everything, that I wasn’t ready to live the way I was living at Akwarell.  I know and regret that I have failed and disappointed the many people who have helped me to go through this experience. And yet, as the days passed, I grew painfully aware that I was living a lie. That I was unhappy and that this wasn’t the way I wanted to live my future if I had the choice. And, thankfully, I had the choice.

Right now, I still feel bad about this decision. A decision which was announced in the local news and will probably continue haunting me some time after the new year. This makes me feel like a failure. And as I struggle with the pain in my leg, I do feel rather alone because there’s so much that I’m going through on an inner level that I admit that I don’t always understand myself. I feel like crying during meditation as I uncover thoughts that appear to be ever present in my mind. Childhood thoughts, when I was more active and physically independent, where I would dream of the time I would be an adult and live my life as I wanted. The time, perhaps, I was less cynical about the world and when I still saw hope in others and in the world. A time when I still believed in myself.


Adulthood revealed a different reality. A reality where people do their best to get what they want at the cost of exploiting or ruining the lives of others. Adults who seek for themselves and only for themselves or those thy said they “loved”. Adults who go on through life without values or ethics while pretending to be self-righteous, if not holy, people. Adults intoxicated by their desires, consumed by their hate and comfortable in an ignorance that fails to see beyond prejudice and discrimination. This is a painful reality but I refuse to become more of the same for the sake of fitting in and “being nice” at the expense of others.. Just to conform.

And we are often forced to conform. This is the way we are socialised in order to survive in society. People who refuse or somehow challenge the “system” risk to be put aside in one way or another. I realise that I have gone through most of my life trying to conform and trying to be liked. Perhaps it’s time to act in a way grounded in the value of compassion which not always conforms to social norms. 

However, this is NOT my new year’s resolution. This is a lifelong commitment to be authentic to myself and open to the contribution of others in my life. A choice that goes beyond faith and is based on reason and the fact of humanity. A humanity prone to the wasting of time. A humanity that is impermanent, not immortal and vulnerable to the forces of matter and energy. A humanity that is permanently dependent on the world and other human beings living on this world.

Some critics may conclude that this message I share on this holiday or even “Holy Day” is rather secular and inappropriate given the feeling associated with this season - love, peace and compassion.

However, a close reading might reveal otherwise. For why is this time the West has long associated with the birth of Christ, the only time during the year when we are urged to give to those society considers “less fortunate”? When, in truth, society itself tends to create the conditions of social injustice leading to the wrong distribution of wealth, abuse or exploitation? As if the state of fortune is an inevitable, even inalterable, fact of nature?

Renewal, I firmly believe, doesn’t require us to make any radical changes in our life and may co-exist with existing belief systems or philosophies. This time when we celebrate holidays should become more of Holy Days. Not in any religious sense of the phrase. But, rather, as times when we awake to the reality that surrounds us. To our own limits and inescapable vulnerability as animals endowed with the potential to think.

This renewal can be painful because it forces us to face that, in reality, we own nothing and that, at the end of it all, we are nothing - if it wasn’t for the people in the world, the life that surrounds us and the elements that have been here before us and who have played a part in who we are today.

Genuine renewal requires us to to be authentic to ourselves.

To recognise that our whole is more simply than a sum of our individual characteristics. And, yes, renewal requires us to strip away any delusions we might have about who we are and our place in the world. It might mean accepting our vulnerability as persons. It may require that we stop and admit to ourselves and to the world that we have failed. And, perhaps, it is then when we can hope to gain real growth. When we can look beyond the pretensions that cloud our judgment. However well intentioned and sincere we may be. For no one is in our same situation, our life remains often misunderstood or even rejected.


I confess that it was difficult putting this entry together. It may be unclear at times. However, before I can speak of renewal I thought I should first look at my life. While I see faults in the world around me, I also see faults in who I  am and what I have gone through as a person. As long as I remain a human being, I can’t separate from the world as I remain dependent on the world. It feels bad to feel a failure. But it’s sometimes necessary to look back and realise your mistakes. Mistakes we do and do. And even when you try to do the right thing, it is sometimes the case when you’re excluded and rejected because you’ve got a different account to share. You are dehumanised and robbed of your sense of humanity just because you’re different. I’m afraid to face the future at times.


I  come to some kind of end. An end to a stream of thoughts about my life and my hopes for the future. This will be the last entry of 2012. I hope next year will bring about better days and bright futures. Yet, I do not know. The future being an unknown shaped by every decision I take today. I know already that it will be hard as I have to deal with health problems. Again, I am scared but also hopeful that I’ll be able to live my life day by day. Building my strength and continue in my practice of self-growth.


To you, the reader, I wish all the best for 2013 and for every day of your life. May you find the peace, health and happiness to live your life to the fullest. For, whatever we have, the present moment remains the only thing we have for a while. Everything comes and goes and we must be prepared to give meaning to our lives for no one will do this for us. And we shouldn’t expect that either.. 


I thank you for reading through this entry. I hope that you have found parts that are useful to your life. I may have not succeeded. But, in either case, accept my gratitude for supporting this blog over these past months.


I wish you all the happiness for new year’s day. More importantly, I wish you that in 2013 you continue to grow in happiness and compassion.


I hope that 2013 will be an occasion when we may all may find authentic happiness and be true to our shared humanity.



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