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So, another day to reach for something good. Another day to try to stop reaching so hard. A chance at forgiveness, a chance at making some kind of connection with my own buddhanature, a chance to dig my trench of habitual mind patterns that much deeper. A chance to persist in my fears. A chance to keep putting off right action. A chance to let myself down into the warm waters or to pull my jacket more tightly around me and walk on into the cold.

Christmas was a kind of hodge-podge this year. My wife is always ambivalent about the holiday season- her urge is always to do less, to spend less, to put the ever smaller tree up ever later, to stay home, to avoid it all as much as possible. I am on the other side of the see-saw, never feeling like I’ve done enough, always wanting to buy the more expensive present, and one more, and another, and don’t forget to help out Santa and put out the gifts in his name, etc. Until this year, Emily has always been with me on that, getting us up at five or six, and bursting into our room lit from within with excitement and glee and joy…

This year I worked Christmas eve night, then back at work by 5:30 am on Christmas day, so things were all discombobulated. I missed the family get together at my Mom’s house on Christmas eve, then Yolie and Em and I did our presents that night at about nine, and I was off to work again in the am. Em and I are running up to my Dad’s today to do a quick gift exchange, then off to my brother’s house for Hanukkah/Christmas/Christmaskah slap-dash after he gets up from his Christmas night graveyard shift at the Sheriff’s Dept. and before he goes back to work. Yolie is back to work today, so she misses this part of it.

But in the midst of all of this craziness and work and conflicting scheduling, I still found the simple bliss of this life penetrating all. How blessed we all are. I am blessed beyond all measure with a home, a job, a wonderful wife, a perfect and challenging daughter, good family, good friends, a healthy body, an active mind, the ability to want more, to work on progress towards becoming better, the wisdom to make friends with myself, art, poetry, walks, surfing, dog-petting, chewing on the bone of my own shortcomings, etc.

I want to say thank you to all of you who come here and listen in on me. I know that a connection has been forged between us, and I feel it deepen every day.

In an instant, all that we treasure can be taken from us. It is ours, but it does not belong to us. We are momentary beings in this world, a breath, a flicker of candlelight, a surging wave that rises up, crashes on the shore, and foams away into nothingness as it rejoins the sea from which it came and from which it cannot be separated.

Merry Christmas, my brief and shining friends.

Merry Christmas!