Seven Days of Christmas

On the first day, the 23rd of the month of December, on the road from the city did I go, laden with warm clothes, presents and intensifying thoughts of panic of thinking another CHRISTMAS!            This will also change

Next year I am to marry. The woman by my side is the water to my fire, the earth to my air, the love to my hate. To her, Christmas is a wonderful feast of friends, family and cosiness. To me it is a series of social interactions that only make me want to go deeper into my shell.  Why, when I have so much to be grateful for, do I find myself on the eve of Christmas certain that it would best for all if I found myself a deep, deep hole that can swallow me up forever more.    This will also change

Having survived two days of cruel wind and rain, a leaking roof, bitter cold and several family gatherings, I am still standing…. just. My mind is a battlefield, on one side, with open comforting arm, stands the part of me that I have developed through Vipassana of objective sympathetic observation. On the other my default: standing, sneering, sharpening its knives set on destruction, the beast within. This will also change

On this day, the fifth, 99 years ago the soldiers fighting in the First World War called a one-day truce, rather than firing bullets at each other they shared cigarettes and played a game of football. The inside of my head feels like those battlefields, I feel a strange sensation: peace and calm.   This will also change

Early morning on the 7th day of Christmas. The reality of what I have left behind feels far, far away, but to it I must return. Over the last days my love has grown for the woman I am to marry. We have kept each other warm and supported each other through the mine fields of family life. Right now I cannot imagine taking a breath without her being by my side. But soon we shall be apart for sometime. I can sense the beast within relishing the opportunity to strike me down. But today I feel strong in feeling the power of dharma and  an understanding of what I need to do to carry on progressing along its long, long path.

This will also change


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About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

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