Become the light you are…
The season of peace and goodwill is upon us once more.
Or not, as is so often the case. The mad scramble for ‘things’ to keep us merry and bright at this dark time of year has turned the season of goodwill into materialistic mayhem which is apt to leave us exhausted and prone to January chills – both physically and financially.
So, this year, I’d like to suggest giving up a couple of those conditioned Christmas ‘traditions’ : expectation and perfection. Humans are perfectly imperfect, and let’s let it be so.
You may or may not wake up full of festive cheer. Let it be so.
Your family and loved ones may or may not behave, be good or generous or co-operative. So be it.
The gift is staying present with whatever is… which may not be what you would have liked it to be. Aim to replace ‘good’ with ‘good enough’.
If you feel out of kilter, stressed or over-stretched, just breathe deeply and centre yourself. See if – despite or because of whatever is there for you in that moment – you can stay sane, centred and grounded.
Keep breathing, ensuring the out breath is longer than the in breath. And add a mantra; a good one is, ‘Everything is all right’.
A grounded person has a very stabilising influence, and is very comforting to be around. Your presence might just be the difference that makes the difference.
This open-hearted benevolence is the true spirit of Christmas.
And if despite your best efforts, you still find yourself becoming agitated or distracted, let that be okay too. It’s a good excuse to find a few moments to yourself, to take the dog for a walk, immerse yourself in a warm, scented bath, or don some headphones and dance that stress and tension away!
Another very effective re-grounding energy trick is to find a patch of grass, take off your shoes and socks and walk around – stomping if necessary! – and imagine all that toxic, stressful energy being discharged through your feet and into the earth. And yes, your feet will quickly feel frozen – but this is part of the medicine. The thawing afterwards when you put your socks back on is nothing short of sublime!
And then notice. Notice if you can stay relaxed, with a lighthearted sense of gratitude for the goodness and abundance all around you. Getting out of your head doesn’t have to include getting sozzled; it can be a simple decision to get into your body, your feelings and your heart, and staying present.
A few additional tips :
Accept any offers of help that come your way. You do not have to do it all. And if the offers aren’t forthcoming – ask. Work together as a team to make Christmas lunch. Ditto for the washing up.
Go easy on the alcohol. Tempers are so easily riled after one too many. Treat yourself to a little of something very expensive, rather than wade through oceans of cheap plonk.
Resist too many sugar rushes. Your body and nervous system will thank you!
Go for a stroll in the fresh air – whatever the weather! It will blow away the cobwebs and improve your mood and digestive system.
Practise a random act of kindness, preferably to a stranger. Here are some ideas you might like to try :
- Let the person behind you in a queue go first
- Leave money in a vending machine for someone
- Leave little notes of encouragement and inspiration on car windscreens or supermarket shelves
- Give someone a genuine compliment
- Pay for a coffee for the person after you in the queue
- Smile at a stranger
- If you have a LinkedIn account, write a recommendation for a co-worker or connection
- Write a positive comment on your favourite blog, website, or a friend’s social media account
- Have a clean-up party at a beach or park
- Leave a kind server the biggest tip you can afford
You might be surprised by the amount of courage that the doing of some of these ideas entails – especially if it involves strangers. You will almost certainly feel vulnerable/egotistical/nervous of others’ reactions, but stretching yourself in these pathways of benevolent action improves emotional fitness. Doing good for others is doing good for the self.
So, this Christmas – Be the Change!
The invitation is to give yourself a break and resolve to enjoy the festivities with a light and open heart, a steady footing and a compassionate awareness of both the majesty and the limitations of our humanness.
Sending you many blessings for moving beyond the mayhem into some real inner magic.
May your light outshine the darkness of winter.