Happy School-Free Holidays

http://blankenmom.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/holidays.jpgWelcome to the Holiday Season 2012, Ex-Schoolmates:

We heretics all know if we were still in “school” the weekend after Thanksgiving would have been spent at the Billerica space: building, planning, thinking, scheming free Christmas trees, compiling electrical tape, untangling Christmas lights, planning menus, looking for cardboard, deciding when to call in sick to work and coming up with clever insincerity(s) (i.e. lies) to justify all of the time away from home and family. We would have been gearing up to allow “school” to devour every free moment with its never-ending holiday party demands, sleep deprivation, and list-keeping in several different notebooks.

As much as the Christmas Party held a certain awe, a feeling that we were creating something special and amazing, I didn’t miss it last year. I don’t miss it this year. I am grateful and relieved that it will never again crowd my psyche, steal my time and damage my family.

This year may those of us who’ve reclaimed our lives put the energy, time, and expenditure previously given away to “school” into our families, friends and homes. May we spend this holiday season decorating our houses, planning our meals and parties, purchasing presents and planning surprises for, and enjoying, our loved ones.

Raise a glass — or two, three or more — to school-free holidays and a fabulous school-free New Year, and life!


14 thoughts on “Happy School-Free Holidays

  1. Che says:

    I am so glad that you posted this! If you had not posted it, I probably would not have thought about school Christmas classes at all and for me, that is a real marker for how far I have come. I left about 10 years ago and for me, there have been so many “triggers” that forced me to remember what had happened. I used to think obsessively about what was going on in the “life cycle” of school (and there is a real life cycle) – Christmas class, summer vacations, getting ready to go to Montana, Sharon’s return every fall from Montana, CR, CR stopping for the summer, etc. I am so glad that your blog was the first time I thought about the Christmas class this season. Wow. I just realized that I passed the Belmont Lions Club the other day and they were selling Christmas trees out front and there were no thoughts of school or the Christmas class in my mind at all. It’s been a long strange trip.

    • Congratulations, Che, for a truly “school”-free existence! May we all get to the point where passing by the Belmont Lion’s Club, and/or the Faulkner Mills building in Billerica is no longer fraught with “school” memories! I, myself, keep waiting for the day I don’t feel compelled to post on my own site … it hasn’t happened. More to come 😉

  2. charlie chaplin says:

    Happy Holidays to you as well! I remember the days when the Xmas Party was mostly an awesome experience, with scattered moments of concern. By the time I left, it had long since become primarily anxiety-inducing, not to take anything away from the two or three genuinely impressive and wonderful performances and moments of delight. Yet there was something unsettling about even that – the sense that all of this effort and talent was going into impressing one person, Sharon, and that her opinion was the objective measure of the quality of a performance, whatever a given student’s individual experience might be.

    It’s good to realize that there are many talented and passionate performers out there who work just as hard to share their art with whoever might wish to encounter it, not to mention worthwhile recorded music, films and even programs on the forbidden television. Whatever transcendent qualities the Xmas parties had were often marred by expectation and the subordinating of one’s own experience beneath that of the teachers. Happy to be free of it this year.

    • Hi Charlie – I think what you write here articulately encapsulates the very worst aspect of “school”:

      “… the sense that all of this effort and talent was going into impressing one person, Sharon, and that her opinion was the objective measure of the quality of a performance, whatever a given student’s individual experience might be.”

      Given enough time, every student becomes just another “school” cog; his/her individual thoughts, feelings and experiences of most things are to be dismissed in service to the higher calling of propping Sharon up. I guess Boston students would be propping up Robert. But ultimately, I think he exists to prop up Sharon. So we propped her up by default.

      It’s so twisted.

  3. moishe3rd says:

    Merry Christmas! The whole Christmas Party thing was well after my time.
    However, a failing of mine is that most everything I hear or see gets associated with music – much to the chagrin of my wife and friends when I break out into song using the words I just heard…
    And, one of the ex “School” folk here and elsewhere has chided me for my being enamored of being a Torah observant Jew.
    Your “raise a glass” prompted this delightful song in my head:

    It’s the wrong season but, this is the same group for this season:


    And to all, a good night!

  4. seasons greetings says:

    Cheers to all fellow escapees! I feel so fortunate and lucky to have escaped.

    I think the Christmas party is a microcosm of what school has evolved into – Because school has separated itself so drastically from everyday life they‘ve become ungrounded, and they have some rather distorted and grandiose perceptions of themselves and their efforts. It’s a party that lasts one night, for God’s sake! It hardly justifies the hours upon hours of preparation that goes into it. But no one on the inside can voice a question along these lines. It’s become a secret society of Yes Men and Women.

    Yes, lets toast to our freedom and to the simple and quiet joys of the season: the purity and radiance of the Christ child, the point of maximum darkness that requires we turn inward to find our own light. The joys of family and friends, of the warmth of home and hearth. Happy Holidays!

  5. It’s strange to look back and realize how aggrandized that f*ing party became in my psyche. And how I came to believe that – because it was a party for “school” – no harm could possibly come to me, my marriage, my job, my friendships, etc. … magical “school” thinking.

    Cheers, cheers, cheers again, to freedom!

  6. cher_tea says:

    Your post left me laughing so hard! We in Beverly had our own little Holiday traditions and it really brought back memories! What nonsense. How could these 4th Way ideas have become so corrupted? Cheers to freedom! Keep this blog going and thank you to those that keep this alive! Happy Holidays from a fellow faux Gurdjieff group north of Boston!

  7. Hi Cher_Tea, I’m so glad you are laughing! It’s great to be in the position to look back and realize how ridiculous it was, isn’t it. I feel for my ex-colleagues who are still giving away their holiday season to this fallacy.

  8. Queen Lear says:

    I left work late one Tuesday night recently. I avoided Route 3 on my drive north until I hit Treble Cove Road. That’s when my two years of Christmas Party memories came flooding back. I realized that this time a year ago, I would have kept heading down Treble Cove Road until I came to that warren of streets leading to the mill and a long evening of class followed by obsessive party planning. I don’t fully understand why I waited until early January to escape except that I had this idea that my sustainer deserved this party.

  9. Hi Queen Lear, Welcome back! It’s nice to hear from you. What can I say about the decision to leave and when it comes … I was just talking about this with another escapee yesterday. It has to bubble up from within doesn’t it? Like all of us, your desire to believe in “school” came from a sincere wish to find and connect to meaning and purpose – that’s a powerful wish, as we all know. I remember one of my first Christmas parties was based on the Anderson fairy tale, The Snow Queen (remember that one) I had the magical experience of recreating one of the illustrations from a particular collection and it felt as though it just flowed out of me. In subsequent party-planning extravaganzas, I kept waiting for the magic to come again … but nothing matched that initial experience. I guess “school” can be likened to an addiction. It provides a high that feels like it rises above the everyday nuts and bolts of life. It’s painful to realize that it’s not what it presents itself to be – it’s a thief that would steal every ounce of us if we let it and somehow we all started believing we needed it, when the truth is it needed us. Anyway, I’m gonna stop myself for now. I hope it felt good to drive home, a woman free from “school”. Give yourself credit for leaving when you did. Some people never do.

  10. Grateful says:

    I’m an amateur astrologer and was curious about Robert’s chart. For what it’s worth, it indicates the possible loss/dissolution of a female in August. I got Sharon’s info from wikipedia and put it in. Saturn– the planet that traditionally “cuts the cord” has been squaring (challenging) her sun and will retrograde in 2013, going back and forth in a 90 degree angle to her sun. This can indicate health problems and/or run-ins with authorities. We have to pay debts when Saturn comes calling.

    Robert has Saturn retrograde (re-learning lessons from the past) in Cancer (sign of the mother/family): From Martin Schulman’s Karmic Astrology “A strong past life attachment to a figure who represented protection and safety is transferred to a parent or older authority figure in this life as the person does not consciously understand how he can live without a protective womb.”

    Makes me very curious to see what 2013 will bring for “school.”.

    • Another version of the Story says:

      For what it’s worth, I have had some psychic insights from time to time. I had one around this time last year that confirms your astrology readings. Sharon will likely have a serious or fatal brush with her health in the coming year. I am not wishing it on her just sharing the information that came to me. In truth, I wish deep healing and conscious insight and awakening for her and everyone who has walked any part of the path with her in this life. It may be that this whole strange journey boils down to a question of how deeply we heal, how much we awaken and find compassion in our common existance. I sometimes feel lonely this time of year and yearn for the comradery of other people seeking knowledge and sharing methods that lead to a deeper and more meaningful experience and insight at this glorious time of year. May the light shine upon and within you.

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