We are officially in it. The Holidays are upon us with all the cheer and stress, and for many people the missing of friends and family who are now gone for one reason or another. We are provided a bunch of options to try new foods, eat too much, just let ourselves have one more bite… and we are so in the throes of trying to please, if that is a pattern for us.
Please don’t worry.
We have a way to do this, and we have the ability to see the long road road. We have done this before, and tried many things, but we have better tools than ever now. We have been practicing longer than before.
Think of the main “spice” you want to bring to the party, to your family, to your community. While others are pushing, shoving, worrying… what do you want to be doing? What quality do want to add to the mix around you? This can serve as an emotional anchor during times of stressful social situations, or provide ideas for themes in asana (pose) practice. We can also think of this quality, and what we can do that gives us more experience of it. Let’s say that I want to bring a sense of wonder… perhaps I can approach my mat this way, or my dinner with the kids this way. I can approach my job this way, and I can even go to the store this way. Holding it as a sign of hope and joy for the season.
What quality do you want to bring?
Meditate more frequently, not less. My teachers have said in various ways to “meditate at least 20 minutes a day. But, if you have trouble finding the twenty minutes, do it twice that day.” The idea is that we always have a lot to do (you know that is true), but when we have the feeling of pressure - it is not getting more work in that helps us to relieve the feeling of pressure. It is the experience of space and connecting to the Divine helps us to be in that space, even when we are no longer meditating.
How long are you currently meditating? What can you do to increase the frequency, not necessarily the duration?
Think of how you want to feel at the end of the Holiday season. Do you want to get to January feeling like you did more than anyone else? Or is there some other way you would like to feel?
I believe we can finish the year strong by remembering what we really want, before it comes down to the last minute. We rarely are happy when we feel we are paying for pushing ourselves or letting our true desires go over the holidays. I may not even remember that donut, or the pushing and tenseness I had to endure to get everything done. Rather, it will be the smile on my niece’s face as she tells me about taking her driving test that is going to stick with me.
Yoga teaches us that our desire to be with others and to have a sense of meaning in life are positive, timely, and can be nurtured in healthy ways. When we realize that love is at the heart of our desires at this time of year, we can easily make choices that are good for us and others.
In the coming weeks, I will be writing more about how pacing ourselves can help avoid damaging extreme practices in the new year ( such as why cleanses and working out a ton in January isn’t a great option), and how we can remember that what all of the pressure is really about is that we want to give and receive love at this time. Having a healthy understanding of desire, and knowing that the deepest part of our feelings at this time are really good for us can be so helpful. I will share more about this in coming weeks.
So, if what we want others to feel is that we care, and we want to know it mattered that we were here, what can you bring to the party besides a physical gift?
Rather than fooling ourselves into thinking we can fix ourselves up later after we do damage now, through rushing, eating until it hurts, or just plain focusing on the wrong thing in the moment - we can take a beautiful break, now. Breathe, and know that you are already very clear on what you desire, or you can gain access to that healthy desire fairly easily. That desire will lead you to pick a beautiful “spice” to bring to all the parties you attend, and give you meaningful days here at the end of the year.
Much love to you!