These Are The High Holidays
High in commercialism, high in angst, in calories, alcohol consumption, social and philanthropic obligations, religious sensitivity and, even hope. I hope I get that … what? I hope, I hope, I hope. It’s also a time to un-inhibitedly extend holiday greetings hither and yon. And what do we say? Remember to be politically and religiously sensitive. This is a whole season of holy days for most all of us, in the whole world. And I think it’s a good idea to use pan-cultural communication as much as possible. For passing by, I may nod and say “Happy Holidays” but even that has it’s risks. It’s also a season high in sadness and I wouldn’t want to contribute to the weight with a blithely wished ‘be happy’, or the assumption that this season may even be ‘merry’.
We need to speak with, as my good buddy George says, “The language of the heart”. So interesting. It’s also been said that ‘we speak from the abundance of our hearts’. It’s a mindful experience to listen to our own words as they come out of our mouth, knowing that they started in our heart. In this spirit, Mindful Dying’s Seasonal Greeting to All is:
Vive Bene, Spesso L’Amore, di Risata Molto
So it doesn’t roll off the tongue easily, that’s why it needs to be translated into the language of the heart.
It Kind of Started With The Grapevines, Again
We first came across this exhortation during one of our earliest forays into making wine. The message has since become an iconic one among the, now flourishing, regional wine industry gift shop kitsch. Our ceramic plaque is a bas relief of the Italian words further romanticized by the sultry slant of the letters themselves, cozily nestled among the fruiting, you guessed it, grapevines.
An Ode to Bacchus, is what I imagine the ‘marketing-heads’ had in mind, “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry”, conveniently leaving out the “for tomorrow you may die”. Our plaque still hangs on the wall next to the wine racks, in the wine-making rooms, in our basement. But the words have lost their Bacchanalian bouquet and have evolved into a different story.
Live a good life. One filled with goodness. A heart that generates it. ‘To Live’ is an action word, and good implies a quality of virtue. Perhaps a life that tends to, and nurtures the heart as mindfully as a good wine-maker tends to the fruit of the vine and the work of human hands.
Who doesn’t want to Love Always? Yes, love is one of those crazy things. Our capacity to love is infinite. Where is love made? Yet there is no limit to how much love we can hold, and give, and even do it during very hard times. Go figure.
Spesso L’Amore is all of that, and more. It is much more radical than romantic, erotic, maternal, paternal, addictive, and more, kinds of love. It’s the love in loving kindness toward all, always.
di Risata Molto
And how I Love to Laugh. Who doesn’t love to laugh? I just thought of a few. The one’s who feel quite heavy to be around for very long. It’s often a sign that they’re self-absorbed, sometimes with legitimate cause and other times just taking the self too darn seriously. If you ask me.
Look around this Holiday Season and notice, in that mindful-way, the expressions on people’s faces and in their eyes. Look for smiling, and other signs. For those who are quick to laugh and those for whom laughing has become a lost art. One caveat: your own face and eyes must be expressing light-heartedness as you look at someone else’s. The language of the heart through our eyes.
di Risata Molto is all about being light-hearted. It’s being able to laugh good naturedly at ourselves and taking other people seriously, at the same time. Setting aside our own wants for the needs of others. It’s a light-as-bubbles awareness that all that I have right now, all that I am right now, that which is in my heart right now, may be the very last of anything, in this life anyway.
It’s being able to take each step on the path with a heart light enough to counter balance the power of passion, pathos, and pain that travels with us. It’s cultivating a heart as light as a feather.
As For New Year’s Resolutions… now this is one that everyone knows about…
Since the start of my ‘One Year To Live Experiment’, my ‘New Year’s Eve’ has been November 1st, time for the annual ‘look-back’. I had no idea that this experiment would continue to be this much fun, for the most part. But even during the more passionate and pathetic times there has been a light hearted awareness that all is O.K.
I stopped making New Year’s Resolutions a long time ago. As soon as I heard Jack Nicholson announce that he was about as good as he was going to get, and that’s why there would be no resolutions for him, I adopted it as my own thesis. But I haven’t stopped journaling, and then there’s the blog, and I recently re-visited many of the posts from the first year. Well, I did Ask for Wonder and I’ve not yet ceased being awed.
It’s No Longer The Work Of Dying
The concept of ‘play’ and playing have been strong threads throughout my time-line. I love to play games and joke around. I love watching others play. And if children let me play? I’m usually in. And I still laugh when I recall having to read The Concept of Play for my very first Philosophy 101 assignment. I even wonder if it was the intention of the professor to play a bit of a joke on us. Learning the language of philosophy was work, and in the process I came to understand play.
Work is something we do to get a job done. We play just to play. If someone offered to pay me to do my job, I might give it some thought. But my play is not for sale.
Now into the third year of my ‘One Year To Live Experiment’, I’ve realized that I’m no longer doing the work of dying but, rather, I’m doing the play of living.
Vive Bene, Spesso L’Amore, di Risata Molto
make it a chant and let it nurture your heart.
Season’s Greetings from Little Lorenzo. To see him all grown up, and he doesn’t take himself too seriously, visit
See our FaceBook Page for articles of interest