Around this time of year I get lots of disproving looks, disappointed family members, and a few confused friends. Why? Because I choose my own path and it scares or angers those who don't understand. For myself, the Datsusara way goes well beyond career choices. In all aspects of life I strive to take my own path. In this case, that means I don't celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas.
I'm sure some of you are wondering why I would forsake such things since, as my Mother loves to remind me, it's all about family gatherings and good food, right? For me it's more than that and I don't feel comfortable celebrating those holidays. I find Thanksgiving to be a reminder of the genocide of American Indians. Christmas offends me because it's a religious holiday and if you object to it you are automatically deemed some kind of Scrooge, and lets not even get into the mass consumerism and terrible holiday music (which is often turned into advertisements, another thing I find distasteful in the extreme).
I love good food, I love being with people I care for and celebrating but I don't care to participate in popular rituals without thunking it through. If it's really all about food and family then lets rename the holidays and be clear on the meaning. My main point here is that it's up to you to take your own path and not simply accept what you are told. This applies to all aspects of life be it jobs, relationships, rituals, etc..
We are all interesting people with much to offer the world but all to often we are afraid to expose ourselves to the judgement of others, and that in turn sets precedent which makes the world more like a jail and less like the paradise it can be. For instance, last night I found out some of my friends at the gym have to wear makeup if they get facial injuries during Jiu Jitsu training. They fear losing their jobs if people knew the truth. This seemed insane to me as I don't see how job performance is effected by having a black eye from doing a sport you love, why should you have to hide that? A silly example perhaps but what I'm saying is that if we don't question suggested rules, the pattern of oppression and deception continues. We become pretenders.
Your life doesn't have to be a series of dictated actions enforced by the expectations of the external world. I think you will find that when you take your own path you'll simply feel better. It's not always the easy choice, sometimes it's more simple to just go along with the herd and not make a fuss. But I for one don't want that kind of life, it doesn't feel true. I like choice, I like freedom, I like being me.
"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are."
- Joseph Campbell
No matter where you read it,
Or who said it,
Even if I have said it,
Unless it agrees with your own reason
And your own common sense."
edit: added a bonus video along the same line of thought...
p.s. Thanks to all of you for the support you offer by purchasing our gear or simply encouraging me to keep writing this blog despite my general lack of enthusiasm for the blog writing process. All of you are like family to me and although I'm always ready to go it alone, it's nice to know I have such good company.