Along with the merriment, gratitude and epicurean pleasures the holidays can induce, it can also be a vulnerable, especially emotional time of year, bringing up feelings of emptiness, pain from the past, and questions about the future. Forgotten friends and foe begin to pop up in dreams; anxiety and self-critique over the year’s acheivements and failures can deflate the moments in the year that once seemed so precious. While it’s beneficial to take heed of where we are on our path, the truth is that if we did that with a little bit of regularity and encouraged reflection and awareness on a daily basis instead of once every 365 days, it wouldn’t be a year-end, self-inflicted purgatory.
A daily meditation practice helps to prevent the yo-yo-ing of projecting into the future about resolutions, plans and fantasies about what could be, and bouncing back to past moments of joy and pain. If we let it, the mind will cling to these two states. Meditation helps train the mind to let go of mental concepts, encouraging the practicioner instead to sit with the present moment of what is.
In some ways, the holiday revelrie is designed to keep us escaping into past events and future plans rather than encouraging us to celebrate what the holidays represent for us as individuals; whether that’s gratitude, faith, connecting with loved ones and family, the miracle of existence…or something totally different.Â Adverts, media and society bombard us with images; how our home should look,Â where we should buy our gifts, what we should eat, who we should eat with. Our families and friends have also been conditioned, and much conversation over the next weeks may be geared to forging resolutions and plans for the future and reflecting on the year’s highlights, acheivements, and dissappointments.Â If you find yourself getting caught up in the mundane this holiday season, here are 5 of tips to getting back to the You.
1. Take time out. Take a few deep breaths outside, and gaze out to the great beyond. Remind yourself that you are not this mind or this body, they are on hire and in this moment your life just got shorter. We are all in the process of dying, every one of us. Don’t sweat the small stuff.Â You have only to sit with your Self to find happiness, it’s already there waiting for you. When are you going to Show Up?
2. Have a laugh. If you’re getting the doldrums thinking about all the things you should change in your life for the next year to be a smashing success, remember, everything in a constant state of change all around us all the time. Given the circumstances and situation, we are all doing the best we can given the information we have to go on. If you seriously think you’re behind the wheel of your destiny, give your theory a test drive. Go down to your nearest high street, shut your eyes and skip to the other side of the street.
3. Just because someone gives you a gift, it doesn’t mean you have to accept it. When visiting your beloved family and the conversation turns to your plans for 2012 (find a partner, start a family, stop drinking, lose weight, gain weight, whatever), don’t feel pressured to give an answer. Chances are, they really just want for you what they think will make you happy. Happiness is a state of mind, so maybe you have an answer for them after all 😉
4. Be Proactive. If you know you have a tough time around the holidays when you have too much time on your hands, take the time to learn something new or get involved with something that evokes passion. Whether it’s volunteering at a soup kitchen, taking yourself to the theatre, or working on that matchstick treehouse you always wanted to build, give yourself the gift of trying something new.
5. Reconnect with an old friend. Maybe they have shown up in a dream recently, or by accident you saw their name in your address book. Get in touch with someone random from your past who has travelled down a different road than yourself, without expectations of what you might find. Magic begins to unfold when we take risks and shift our perspective.
Happy Holy Days.