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Are you Spiritually & Emotionally Prepared for Christmas?
Many of us look forward to the Christmas and holiday season at this time of year with hearts of excitement as we anticipate time spent with ourselves, those close to us and our friends and family. But just as that excitement and joy is a reality, so can there be stress as well.
We may have schedules that are overbooked, shopping carts that are overfilled, creditcards that are overstretched, and traditions and pressure mounting to be dutiful to others and meet obligations not of our choosing. Our patience, sleep and irritability may be a little off as well, and our meditation and mindfulness might be slipping.
As you look forward to the next few weeks, here are some ideas to help you retain your energy and keep it pointed in a healthy direction this holiday season.
There can be a lot of pressure on us to buy into the worldiness of this time of year. It can be a period of trying to make everyone else happy at the expense of our own energy. Each of us is an ambassador for human nature, yet the true spirit of giving can be ruined by a wilful exploitation of an otherwise meaningful event. Time, money and energy are precious commodities in this fast-paced world. There is only so much that can be spread so thin. The solution: use them wisely.
Giving and Gifting:
It is a time to reflect what giving means to you, and whether you are giving out of duty, obligation or competition. Are you expected to give to someone who has not done their own work and has personal needs you are expected to fill; topping up a void in them; filling gaps in their lives; satisfying their ego that they are important; giving them something to show off and convince others how special they are, etc. etc.? This can create a lot of expectation, and yet, be bottomless pit to fill. It may be time to cleanse, meditate and get clarity on the games and expectations people have, what is behind them, the cost to you in dollars and energy, and whether they have set you up (consciously or unconsciously) not to disappoint them. It may be time to discern if your giving is from the heart and enhancing the human spirit and make different choices this year? Make your gifts, if you choose to given them, count for something meaningful. Spend on actual need, not a fleeting want. Throw in an act of service.
Time and Calendar:
As you’re filling your nights and weekends throughout December and January, take a moment and check your motivation for participating. Is it duty, obligation or FOMO (fear of missing out)? If so, back up and reconsider your plans. Eliminating some of the obligation activities from the calendar will help clear the way for a sincere enjoyment for those things you choose to fill your time with. Your calendar may have fewer things on it, but those events you choose to engage in with all sincerity will be more fulfilling and memorable because you are “all in.”
Focus on Love Compassion and Forgiveness:
It can also be an opportunity to grab some time to reflect on our habits, expectations and behaviour and with a spirit of honest humility, to start exploring a new version of ourselves that will restore balance in our lives to deliver us to a more harmonious existence. Revisit what you have learned to date in your spiritual journey and what techniques helped you to maintain your authentic self and your energy at its finest. If some helpful techniques dropped away, now is the time to reinstate them. Set your intention to remain focused on love, compassion and forgiveness.
It is not uncommon that emotional buttons get triggered at this time of year. It may be a conflict between family members, deadlines of “getting it all done”, or financial stress. For those on a spiritual journey, we know that relationships are meant to be challenging, and that without a challenge, our soul does not grow and our stagnant energy will become overrun with confused souls. So the trick here is knowing in advance that this will happen, and ensuring you go into events or interactions paying attention to your emotional meter, and doing what works for you to get control of your energy. Some questions to ask are:-
What is happening in your body?
Is your body feeling relaxed? Or do you have headaches, muscle tension, a tight chest or burning in the stomach? Pay attention to the cues your body is giving you and do something with them. Cleanse. Meditate. Walk. Mindful Breathing. Exercise. Revisit the book “The Constitution of Your Soul” by Kristy Kaye to find techniques that will work for you. Get your sleep. Drink your water. Eat your veggies. Move your body! This time of year, we are overtaxing our system with germs, junk food, and late nights. Try to mitigate some of those challenges with the basics. When your body is healthy and rested, your emotions are more likely to stay intact as well.
What is happening in your mind?
Are you calm and still in your mind? Or do you have thoughts racing from here to there? What if this? What if that? When you realise your thoughts are being overrun, getting confused and taking you down an unhealthy path, picture a big red STOP sign. Take a moment to stop, cleanse your energy, and return to the here and now. Remember, you cannot control what anyone else will say or do, but you can actively work to keep your energy relaxed and stay present and in the moment. Pay attention to the sounds, smells and sights of the moment that are appearing before you and focus strongly on staying present with who you are with and within the moment you are in. Focus on “what is” instead of “what if”.
Dealing with Conflicting Conversations:
We have all been there. A difficult parenting moment or an innocent conversation with a conflicting or difficult person can quickly take you down an unhealthy path that has you emotionally invested and even, in some cases, angry. It may be helpful to remember that far too often, we invest much of our time and emotion into convincing someone why they are wrong and why we are right. We can work hard to lobby our position of why our view is more beneficial. It is good to remind yourself that your opinion is simply that – your opinion. Share them, express your feelings about why that perspective is important to you (if you truly need to) and then leave it. Be mindful to keep your delivery slow and quiet and be aware of your pace and volume, as this can have a positive impact on the outcome of the interaction. Allow someone else to go through the same process of sharing their feelings and perspective. Listen actively to learn and understand, not to debate or prove them wrong.
Too often, we dismiss an opinion that does not agree with ours, instead of being understanding and offering compassion that an opinion that varies from ours is gained through their own experiences, hurts, fears, unresolved issues and restrictions. Remember, everyone has come to planet earth to heal, grow and learn, and everyone has a story. Everyone you meet has been touched by some form of sadness, stress, loss, financial challenges, health challenges, relationship challenges, and more. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Let everyone you encounter experience your heart of compassion. The smile, hug, or listening ear you can offer might be the glimmer of light they need in that moment.
Turn Anger Into Forgiveness:
Sometimes there is hurt sitting between loved ones that goes well beyond trivial topics. There can be very real issues and unresolved emotional baggage that influences connections and turns the season into toxic traditions and interactions. This is a season where you will hear a lot about forgiveness. Who hasn’t been hurt by the actions or words of another? Perhaps a parent constantly criticised you growing up, a colleague sabotaged a project, or your partner had an affair. Or maybe you’ve had a traumatic experience, such as being physically or emotionally abused by someone close to you – overtly or covertly. These wounds can leave lasting feelings of resentment, bitterness and anger, which can boil over at this time of year. But if you hold onto that pain, you might be the one who pays the most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you can embrace peace and hope. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
Forgiveness means different things to different people. But in general, it involves an intentional decision to let go of resentment and anger, and developing habits of the mind and body to constantly reinforce that as your new paradigm (yes, it doesn’t happen overnight, but is a practice).
The act that hurt or offended you might always be with you. This is not about forgetting or excusing the harm done to you or what someone did. It also doesn’t necessarily mean making up with the person who caused you harm. It is about working on forgiveness that lessens that act’s grip on you. It can help free you from the control of the person who harmed you. Sometimes, forgiveness might even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.
As you keep in mind some of these ideas to protect your spiritual, emotional, and physical health, look forward to the holiday season with a childlike faith and a heart of thankfulness for the opportunity we have been granted on planet earth.
May your Christmas and holiday season be bright and memorable.
What can you do now?
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