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 also don't harshly judge others that do, although I may make some jokes on the subject.
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 good celebrating those holidays. I find Thanksgiving to be a reminder of the loss of of American Indians although I do like the idea of a simple fall harvest celebration in it's place. Christmas is not my favorite because if you don't like it you are automatically deemed some kind of Scrooge, and lets not even get into the compelled mass consumerism and terrible holiday music which is often turned into advertisements, another thing I find distasteful. Edit 2017: I do now celebrate my own version of the Nordic Jul, the OG Christmas.
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 and celebrate those tings properly. 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.. Now if your path is the path of most that's ok too, I just urge you to live the examined life and think about what aligns with your individual values.
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 wear makeup when they get facial injuries from 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
"Believe nothing. 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.