“If light is in your heart, you will find your way home.” Rumi
Last night I took a long walk around my neighborhood, enjoying the leaves crunching under my feet and the crisp feel of winter in the air. As the full moon cast a magical glow over the landscape, and bright holiday lights draped on the houses twinkled like stars – all I could think was how grateful I was to be here, enjoying the stillness and beauty around me.
I always make it a point to take some time to reflect during the holidays. It never fails – when I take a break from the hustle and obligations, that’s when I feel the true light of
the season shining on me.
For many people, it’s easy to lose sight of the light during this time of year.
If you find yourself a bit depressed and overwhelmed right now, you’re not alone. The extra shopping and social obligations can stretch your patience to the breaking point. If you’re struggling with grief and loss, the holidays can be a bittersweet reminder of happier days. And it’s a rare person who isn’t dreading an encounter that one family member who pushes their buttons!
But there’s a way to brighten up the dark side of the holidays. You can tackle whatever challenges come your way by approaching each gathering with mindfulness, forgiveness and loving intentions.
These holiday tips will help you lighten up over the holidays:
Empower yourself to “just say no.” Don’t have the funds to participate in one more gift exchange, or the time to make a home-made dish for the office potluck? Rather than grudgingly going along and then feeling resentful, give yourself permission to turn down any request that doesn’t bring you joy. Then use your time and money to do something that truly lights up your soul. And don’t worry that other people will judge you – that’s not your problem – and besides, they’ll probably admire you for being brave enough set your own priorities!
Look for the light. Start early, before a family gathering or work function begins, by thinking positive thoughts about the people you’ll be seeing and at the same time, consciously letting go of any grudges or resentments. If your mom has been less than supportive lately about your job or your latest boyfriend, remind yourself that she is coming from a place of love and wanting what’s best for you. Then replace that negative feeling with a positive one by reminding yourself of the many times she cared for you when you were sick or lent a sympathetic ear when you needed one.
Don’t take things personally. If all else fails, repeat Wayne Dyer’s wise quote to yourself, “See the light in others and treat them as if that’s all you see.” And don’t take every comment personally. You don’t know what pain lies behind someone’s words or actions.
Have a mindful holiday. Don’t rush through your days, checking things off your list like that busy guy with the white beard and the red suit. Take time to take a walk and admire the Christmas lights in your neighborhood or practice an unexpected act of kindness to brighten someone’s day (and your own).
Try this mindfulness exercise to lighten your spirits:
The Dance of the Snowflakes.
Sit in a quiet, comfortable spot. You can even light a candle and let your gaze rest on the flickering flame. Now picture a single snowflake whirling down against a dark night sky. Follow the journey of that one glittering flake until it lands and melts. Now imagine millions of snowflakes, all floating in a beautiful wintery dance. The single flake might land and melt quickly, but when many snowflakes combine they reflect the moonlight to magically light up the landscape. As you continue on your mind journey, set your intention to be a point of light in your own life – spreading love and reflecting kindness. Observe as the flakes land and pile up, transforming the landscape and filling in dark spaces and shadows with their clean cold glow.
Sit quietly, breathing gently as you watch the tiny snowflakes filing the world with light.
Happy holidays! I wish you a joyful, light-filled season!