Tag Archives: spirituality

Why you don’t need booze, presents or Christ for a happy Christmas

I love Christmas.

This is weird as I’m not into presents, I don’t touch booze, I’m not a glutton, I don’t like the telly and I don’t do God.

When I was younger so much younger than today, getting a bottle of beer shampoo or a soap on a rope was actually exciting – and not in an ironic way. But why do I only remember the cleaning products? I think we’ll leave that one for my shrink in the new year.

I also really liked Jesus.

Midnight Mass, singing carols and praying were a way of life – not a pissed-up, nostalgia fest. I believed the whole thing – angels coming down from heav’n on a cold winter night that was so deep, trembling shepherds and their equally scared flocks of sheep washing their socks by night, the Virgin Mary wrapping LBJ in swaddling clothes and laying him in a manger after giving birth in front of lowing cattle and the most famous cuckold in 0th Century Middle Eastern literature.

On the other hand – and equally Christmassy – I’ve been known to spend every waking hour for several weeks either side of 25 December  as pissed as a fart.

img_8612

I’ve also experienced severe meat sweats while overdosing on TV Christmas specials, downing After Eights dunked in brandy while simultaneously farting sprout fumes and chain smoking the 200 Marlboros I got as a present – and thinking I’m having fun. So much for a typical Christmas Day in the early 1990s.

‘What’s the big deal?’ you may be asking. ‘Most of this sounds like pretty average festive behaviour, TBH!’

Nowadays, I’ve stopped boozing and smoking and I’m not arsed about parties – even political ones. I enjoy eating without the sweating. I’m not materialist. I’ve been kicked out of the Catholic Church on the grounds of apostasy and heresy. And I don’t particularly like Xmas jumpers – whether traditional or sarcastic-ironic, Mariah Carey, Christmas crackers, Santa hats, board games or annual quizzes, tinsel,  smug round-robin letters, Quality St, Advocaat or even the Holidays Are Comin’ TV campaign.

So how come I’m still simply having a wonderful Christmas time?

Put simply, it’s just that – for however short a time – we’re nicer to each other. For a little while, we think about – and even try to help – people who aren’t the lucky bastards we are.

It’s pretty impossible to be unmoved by the humanitarian tragedies around the world – and Christmas makes us think about them more as charities do a great job reminding us about them. And making effective pleas for help.

These campaigns also remind us there are so many people doing good, brave, extraordinary things to make this barmy world a bit better.

The need to give a shit hits home especially hard after a year like 2016 that’s seen a concerted attempt to move the hatred and bigotry of the far right into the political mainstream. And when utter arseholes (even smellier more revolting than the usual ring pieces) have secured some pretty powerful jobs.

So Christmas is a much-needed kick up the arse to give something to people I will never meet in countries I will never visit who face horrors I could never imagine. Or to people I pass on the street every day who also lead lives of quiet torture.

It’s a reminder to stop worrying about the insignificant bullshit that tends to clog our brains and to work out what’s actually important.

So thank you to everyone who’s reminded me to stop and think. Thank you to everyone who is trying in trying times.

You’re my true Christmas heroes. And you’re why I still love Christmas.

Oh and the Christmas jokes

Advertisements

Inspirational fail: Stop posting internet memes telling me how to live

by Simon Henry @simlington

You can’t move on the internet for ‘inspirational’ quote memes telling us how to live our lives.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it was just Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, Lennon, Einstein and Dr Seuss telling us what to do.

They were all pretty decent coves weren’t they?

They had dreams, they actually achieved things, they wrote really funny and inspiring books and songs.

But it’s not just inspirational geniuses being quoted now.

‘Spiritual gurus’, religious nutters and even normal people armed with apps that create these memes easily and quickly have got in on the act.

You can’t move for this sort of inane crap from Deepak Chopra.

I know life is hard at times - and at least it doesn't mention God or Christ - but I still want to choke the person who produced this meme.

At least it doesn’t mention God or Christ – but I still want to choke the person who produced this meme.

He’s really really annoying – not least because he makes absolutely loads of money from this drivel.

But in his defence at least he doesn’t mention the dreaded …

God

This isn't the most sickly of religious inspirational memes, but it's still quite poor.

This isn’t the most sickly of religious inspirational memes, but it’s still really depressing.

As an atheist, I feel a very queasy about the Christian obsession with a half-naked men on a cross.

And it’s not enough for him to be crucified – Christians also have to drink his blood and and eat his body too. Poor Jesus.

Still, each to his or her own.

Then there’s the DIY stuff, made possible by the ubiquity of smartphones and their pesky apps.

These are usually produced by people who’ve obviously just had a relationship and/or emotional breakdown and are trying to convince themselves and the world that they’re okay.

Here’s an example.

Oh Christ you can feel the anger and pain can't you?

Oh Christ you can feel the anger and pain can’t you?

This stuff is pretty addictive. Let’s move on before we get stuck

So here’s an attempt to redress the balance.

I hope the examples I’ve created below provide a reminder to switch your brain off if you ever see these memes on your screen.

This is scientifically verifiable.

This is scientifically verifiable.

Failure is good. It means someone else gets to win. Don't worry about it. We're all dust anyway.

Failure is good. It means someone else gets to win. Don’t worry about it. We’re all dust anyway.

I don't even want to go there.

I don’t even want to go there.

Seems like pretty fair comment.

Seems like pretty fair comment.

Ah that’s better.

And just to get the message across, here’s a little friend I’ve made.

Get the idea?

I hope you like him – he may make another appearance soon.


 

If you enjoyed this, you may like a recent post, How Mindfulness can make us all a bit happier

You can get an email alert whenever I publish a new post. If you’re on a mobile you can sign up below. If you’re on a computer, sign up at the top right-hand of the page.

And you can follow me @simlington on Twitter

Copyright Simon Henry @simlington 2014