Another week without being overcome by extinction - we lead charmed lives it would seem. Sleeping much better, simply by making sure I stick to an approximate bedtime. Though I am aware of a fuzz of tiredness still loitering in the background. I'm taking multi-vitamins as insurance against any gaps, plus a protein powder drink in the morning, to see what difference, if any, these make. Still won't stop me having nightmares though. I had a bad one midweek, in which ghosts raised up my bedsheets, flapped them in my face, and tickled the souls of my feet. It felt so real I had to check with Jnanasalin whether he'd been tickling my feet to wake me up - and no he hadn't! Spooky!!
I've started doing dumbbell squats in an attempt to strengthen the muscles around my hips. Hip discomfort is another thing that has arisen into my consciousness of how my ageing bodily form is responding to the warehouse work I do. So far the 'squats' seem only to aggravate, making the discomfort mildly worse. Well, lets give my body a bit of time to settle and adjust, only a wee bit mind! All the extra time and effort I put into just keeping fit enough to do this job, makes me question how sustainable it'll be in the long term. The job has a mundane simplicity to it, that I can see has potential to be a personally insightful spiritual practice. However, when the physical dukkha becomes too prominent, its hard to feel it doing anything but wearing me out. Any insightful potential then seems a fanciful palliative only.
Broke the back of the Christmas shopping Saturday. Jnanasalin and I nipped into town early, to hit Boots for their 3 for 2 offers, and I came away duly satisfied. They're all wrapped up, cards written, just a couple of small things to buy from work and the mission is accomplished. Next comes the second wave - buying the ingredients for the communities Christmas fare,making puddings, cakes, mince pies and nut loaf. The two of us are also going to make a little hamper of goodies for our respective parents, like we did last year. Plus buying Twinkle 5 (a real Christmas tree).
For decades I eschewed engaging with X's commercialism, sometimes due to the misguided fervour of Buddhist idealism - 'its not my festive season, mum'. But also working in retail for twenty odd years, made the craven, mad, unseemliness of it all,unbearable, it just rubbed road salt into my tits. I found ways to avoid X ; I made sure I went on retreat over the X season; refused to call it X (I think I called it Yuletide); gave money to charity instead of presents. It was all very high minded, worthy, but mean in spirit, and on occasions sanctimonious as hell. You either put in a lot of anger energy trying to avoid X, or a lot of anxious energy engaging with it. Energy will be expended regardless, its either tightly self-regarding, as in the former, or coercive but other regarding,as in the latter. At least 'other regarding' is moving you in a moderately positive direction. As a Buddhist, my view of X has shifted over the years, and I've come to a relationship with it as something I need to have a creative engagement with, however limited.
These days my participation in X is quietly moderate. Some of my earlier unwillingness to engage still lingers on, in that I visit my parents, either before or just after, but never at X. In previous X's I've spent X with Jnanasalin,with friends, or whoever was left in whatever community I was in. I buy modest presents for my close relatives, though I never know quite what to get them, often resorting to the impersonal gift card. I send few X cards, if I only contact people at this time and no other it doesn't feel like a meaningful communication, not improved by sending a Xeroxed letter to them either. I stuff myself to busting with food, and treat X as an opportunity for some generosity and appreciation. The Christian stuff? well, that's still mildly irritating, in the way someone else's music heard muffled through a floorboard is. Though really its flummery of little consequence to me. Christ these days, has a tinsel crown of thorns, a Christmas Tree bauble in the shape of a bleeding heart, and Wizzard playing non-stop from inside his head. Even his virtue has become vacuous and vulgarised.