The Buddhist yogi and the tree

Last night my sweetie and I were talking, and I picked up a low-grade sense of sadness about him.  I didn’t ask him what was wrong, but later on in our conversation he made a comment that it just doesn’t feel like Christmas to him.

The holidays can be an amazingly beautiful time of year – but they can also contain sorrow.  My family isn’t close to me geographically, my sweetie and I don’t have children of our own, and this year we don’t have our puppy with us.  Holidays are meant to be occasions to celebrate – but celebration is about sharing experience, kindness, and love with other beings.  To be alone during the holidays is an amazingly lonely experience; and while my sweetie and I do have one another (for which I am tremendously grateful), we can also feel a bit lonely in the absence of a larger family around us – be it the absence of our siblings, our parents, our own child, or our pet.

Yet, I can’t control any of those things.  I can’t move all of our families closer together; I can’t make my body produce a child, and I can’t bring our puppy back to life. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m without options.  I’m just realistic about what I can and cannot do.

I thought for a minute about my sweetie, and the Christmas void he was feeling, and I asked him if he’d like to put up a tree.  He said that he actually thought about doing that, but then he remembered the work involved; and since it was just the two of us, why bother?

I rubbed his arm, and sat by his side. And soon we were talking about other things.

But a seed was planted in my crafty little brain.  There are some things I can’t do – but I can trim a tree.

So that’s why I found myself hauling a seven-foot tree from our basement this morning; untangling lights; wrapping garland around branches; placing ornaments on limbs; and balancing on a chair to place an angel on the tippy top.  I had Christmas music playing in the background, I had a lovely cup of warm sweet coffee to the side of me, and I had joyful feelings of compassion in my heart.

And that is how a Buddhist yogi celebrates Christmas – by sharing love with the people around her, in ways that are meaningful to them.  Compassion can be offered in a limitless number of ways; today it took the form of a tree.



About Stef

A "serious" gal who is trying to remember to lighten up and smile.
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4 Responses to The Buddhist yogi and the tree

  1. Touch2Touch says:

    Beautiful post. If I may make a suggestion — something we’ve been doing ourselves for years at the suggestion of, not exactly a Buddhist yogi, but an equivalent —
    Have a fire —- either in a fireplace, if you’ve got one, or on TV, if they still do that, or on Youtube.
    Have something special that you both LOVE to eat. Asparagus or lobster, foie gras, caviar, tacos, you’ll know. Beer or champagne or egg nog or sparkling grape juice to go with —
    And then read aloud, taking turns, Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales. You can download it on the Internet. Trust me on this one. Magical.

    And have yourself a merry little Christmas!


    • Stef says:

      An interesting celebration suggestion. I did read through Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales online just now; and I must confess, I don’t know that it resonates as strongly with me. But the idea of a fire, and food, and shared company, does sound amazing. Perhaps my sweetie and I will share some A.A. Milne in place of Dylan… At any rate, thank you very much for sharing your tradition, and for thinking of me. 🙂


  2. Touch2Touch says:

    Milne would do fine.
    And your tree is gorgeous.


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