Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Problem (help!)

I have a holiday problem on my hands.

My step mother has declared that I am not allowed to spend christmas with my father and family because I am Buddhist, and that automatically means that I am a god-less heathen who shouldn't be celebrating christmas.

How do I go about dealing with this? My father has agreed with her, so I won't be with him for Christmas. There is already a lot of suffering on all sides, and I don't wish to add to it any more then I may already have.

Any advice will be welcomed.


Jordan said...

Spend the holidays where you are welcomed. The loss isn't yours it is the company that is missing you.

If your in the Pacific North West. We have a couch, it will be a full house but heck the more the merrier!

Teri said...

You might gently remind them that Jesus covorted with many (kinds), but not a single Christian - ever :)

Abundant blessings to you in your personal faith language!

John~ said...

I'm confused. Neither she nor your father want to see you, but you want to see (at least) him?

If your father has chosen to not see you, then it sounds like there's not a lot of options. are still physically able to show up on the doorstep, so if you want to see them, you should.

Otherwise, it's just another day on the calendar, isn't it?

Barry said...

I hesitate saying anything, given the nearly unfathomable complexities of families and holidays.

If I were in your shoes, given what you've written, I'd try to examine my own intentions around the holidays. What is it that I want out of this? And if I could say what I wanted, then I'd ask why I wanted that. And so on. Basically, I'd try to unpack the unseen desires, projections, hopes, and fantasies that I bring to such situations.

In matter of fact, I'm doing that in my own life right now. Buddhist practice calls upon us to deeply examine our own lives, to uncover all aspects of our own humanity - not just the compassion and wisdom, but the anger, desire, and ignorance that we also bring to every situation.

Sadly, it sounds as though your parents have decided that since you are a "buddhist," you no longer can join in family activities, even religious activities. This suggests that they don't accept you for who you actually are. If I were in this position, I would ask myself why I wished to maintain contact with them. I'm not suggesting cutting off contact, only to look into the question.

My root teacher, Zen Master Seung Sahn, always advised his students to maintain harmony with their parents - to eat meat when the family ate meat, to go to church when the family went to church. In his view, "harmony mind" trumped everything else. I understand the importance of this teaching, and I find it very hard to live this way.

Well, the more I write, the more heartbroken I get about this.

I sincerely hope that you can offer compassion and wisdom to your family, even in the face of their rejection.

May you be well over the holidays, may you find peace and happiness. May your parents and family also be well and find true peace and happiness.

They call him James Ure said...

Hmmm. That's so sad. I find it ironic that people want to exclude non-Christians from Christmas when much of Christmas is Pagan.

Maybe it would be best to sit it out if they don't want you there anyway. It would save you a lot of hassle. We do a wreath with simple lights to honor our Nordic Pagan heritage.

I got sick of being left out of Christmas so we've created our own meanings and traditions. I'll let my family figure out if family is more important to them or their religion. In the mean time I'll do my own little celebration.

Anonymous said...

I must remember that I follow the Middle Way, and avoid extremes. That is especially true in the way I deal with issues that are emotionally powerful.

This is hard practice. Even though we strive for non-attachment, we remain attached to so much that is not really important. The world will not suffer one whit more if I have dinner at my brother's and recite the Catholic blessing, nor if I preface it with the Thoughts Before A Meal (which I always do). Our relationshiip is more important than a principle that is, when I look at it, a conceit of mine and that only.

It is a shame that our fear and desire for control can lead to such difficult situations, but that is dukkha, isn't it?

Since this is a command from them, and since they seem willing to brook no halfway measures, my response would be, "It is your home, and so of course I will follow your wishes in this," with no argument or conflict. Then I would canvass my sangha for some others in the same boat and we would celebrate our own holiday in our own way. It might be that next year is different.

David said...

Disown them.

Being family doesn't give them a right to treat you badly.

I've disowned my family.

Their lies and cruel interference in my life had me on the edge of suicide.

I begged them to tell me the truth. I told them I was about to kill myself if they didn't tell me the truth. They continued lying to me. In that moment I knew the truth.

I disowned them.

I'm dead to them.

David said...

Anyone who is worth keeping in your life.

Will earn their place in you life.

By showing you respect.

Recently my sister has come clean.

She has shown that I'm more important to her than all the garbrage that has gone on.