MINDFULNESS FOR THE HOLIDAYS
As we embark upon another holiday season, it is likely that old behavior patterns will be cropping up. You may slip into auto pilot as you shop and overspend, and over schedule, with too much travel and lots of small talk.
You may find yourself experiencing familiar knee jerk reactions to familiar stresses, or you may be rushing along so quickly you manage to not notice anything about how you are feeling. Numb, or avoiding. Eating, drinking, moving along vaguely aware something is missing or not what you were hoping for.
What would being mindful look like at this time of year?
Maybe there will be a moment when you notice the beauty of the decorations along the street, or pause to enjoy a familiar holiday tune in the background as you go through the grocery check out.
I hope so.
Even more, I hope that you will notice the thinner skin and protruding veins on the hands of your parent who never ceases to say the wrong thing, and this time, instead of tossing out words of irritation, you breath deeply and reach out your hand to hold theirs, letting the words float away.
Maybe you take time to ask a coworker, or acquaintance, about their holiday plans, and really listen closely to the answer, showing your interest and attention.
If you find old feelings of annoyance arise as your sister-in-law, the one who always seems to be criticizing everything, says that one ambiguously really rude thing, I hope you breath, and let the hurt pass through you. Maybe, just maybe, you will see the lonely child in her eyes, and you will give her your kindest smile.
Maybe this year, the size of the gift pile, the new outfit, the right invitation, the reservation at the impressive restaurant; all will be less important than simply being present and thoughtful as you experience the season.
Mindfulness is to be compassionate to yourself and those around you, to stay connected to the humanity of others, letting awareness of your feelings be the best gift you can give yourself.
Toss away your first reactions as you would wrapping paper, focus on the true essence of you. Breath in the crisp air, feel the ground under your feet, the humble realness of those around you. There is beauty, perfect in its imperfection, in abundance this season. Pause and notice it.
YOU ARE THE GIFT