Sunday, 25 December 2011

'Tis Sometimes Better to Receive Than Give

Dream Worm Shoulder Pet by Madcow Cosmos

I was brought up in a secular family.
Hitchens and Dawkins were, and still are, discussed far more than, for example, Mohammed and Christ. It is not that anyone in the family is particularly disrespectful of religious figures, not at all – it’s simply that they are not considered important enough to warrant any serious discussion outside of mythological or other academic studies. In our house, Mohammed and Christ are considered in similar vain as, say, Osiris or Mithras. 
As such, I am rarely motivated by religious festivals.
Dali clock & baked beans by Dave Vellhi
Hand drawn sketch  & Xmas tree by Tutsy Navaratha
Yesterday and today I watched a 20min film shot by a close personal friend of his meeting with the Dalai Lama, (or to use the official title ‘His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet’).
I found the film to be deeply moving in a strange and quite unexpected way.
'The Creature' by Markus Inkpen
Asphalt & Shovel by Dave Vellhi
'The Watcher' from Tutsy Navarathna
It seemed to me that the Dalai Lama radiated humanity and warmth, a natural love and empathy for his fellow man which is often spoken about in religious circles, but sadly rarely ever seen in my, admittedly limited, experience.
Today, for possibly the first time, I seriously wondered if there may actually be “Holy Men” on this crazy planet that orbits a rather ordinary and nondescript G-type star.
Stilts by Heb Dexler
My only other exposure to such ideas as “Holy Men” was an in-depth documentary about the Hindu Kumbh Mela pilgrimage held every 12 years on the banks of the Ganges. Although fascinating for many reasons, proof of the authenticity of “Holy Men” was certainly not one of them.
Ground mist/fog from Bazz Soulstar
So did my friend’s film of his meeting with the Dalia Lama cause me a personal epiphany of sorts? No, I don’t think so. But it was nevertheless emotionally beautiful - causing bodily streamings from the crown of my head to the base of my spine, as mentioned in traditional yogic texts describing the ‘Chakras’.
Violin from Lar Jun
I am at home from University for Christmas, staying with my parents. The best thing about being home for Christmas? Central heating. Oh, and on-demand hot water. Seriously.
We have a Xmas Tree in the corner of the living room. It is really pretty with delicate blue lights playing against the silver tinsel. But there is neither star nor an angel or any other symbolism remotely religious on it.
Latrine by Dave Vellhi
Shopping Trolley by Bryn Oh
I am sitting here wondering if that is a deliberate policy of my parents. If so, how much influence has it had on my professed atheism, if any?
On Christmas Day, while my mum and I cook dinner, dad and my brother will go to the local pub for a few pints.
Ciggy by Squonk Levenque
We exchange gifts on Christmas morning and that is the subject of this blog-post. Or rather, *receiving* gifts is the subject matter.
This last year I have been blessed to have been given some extraordinary special gifts in Second Life from some extraordinarily talented people.
Comic book speech bubbles by BobE Schism
Some of these gifts, like Madcow Cosmo’s ‘Dream Worm’ shoulder pet or Lucia Genesis’s beautiful outfits are free to anyone who visits their sims.
Others, like Byrn Oh’s shopping trolley or BobE Schism’s comic-book speech bubbles are props they have used their in installations or films and have generously given me a copy of.
TV slideshow by Lollie Razor
Portrait by Jinx Jiersen
Other gifts have been made especially for me - like the pile of asphalt, baked bin tin, latrine, Dali clock and lots of other things by Dave Vellhi. Or the hand drawn RL sketch from Tutsy Navarathna.
Shopping trolley by Bryn Oh
Squonk Levenque and Miuccia Klarr of Kamikaze generously gifted me items from their store; Lisa, owner of Warm Animations, overwhelmed me by giving me a copy of her whole store’s stock after noticing one of her animations being used in ‘Rapture’.
Cello from Lar Jun
'The Watcher' from Tutsy Navarathna
Ciggy by Squonk Levenque
Other gifts have been purchased for me – Lar Jun brought me my violin and cello, for example; Tutsy ‘The Watcher’.
I have been extraordinarily lucky.
Not only to have received the gifts themselves, although that as well of course, but to have found myself in the right place at the right time.
2012 Machinima calendar by Glasz Decuir
In almost all cases, I could not make these gifts as well as the Creators have. And, even if I could, they would not have the same meaning to me or be as special as they are.
These gifts make my Second Life special and meaningful to me.
I am incredibly grateful.
Rocking chair by Dave Vellhi
The biggest single gift is that Debbie Trilling and Adec Alexandra so generously let me live on and share their beautiful island. It is such a privilege that I hardly know where to start. As I student, I could never afford to live on a sim like this with no prim policing forced upon me.

Debbie & Adec
I love my corner of the Metaverse; I love my existence in the Metaverse.
I am so, so thankful to all the people who have helped me. I wish I could return more than just my thanks and my love. But I, being poor, have only my dreams…and you are helping me realise them.
The gifts that people have given me are special. They help me feel good about myself, my work and my life.
And, because of that, ‘tis sometimes better to receive than give.
Happy Christmas to you all, regardless of your beliefs, religion, timezone, skin colour, mental health records or any of the rest!
Pixie xx

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