Do you ever feel as though you have entered rat-race season starting about the end of November? We can become so caught in up in what we think we should be doing for the holidays that we lose track of how we really want to be feeling. We send holiday cards that wish each other peace and we sing beautiful songs about peace—all the while feeling stressed and cranky.
And as many of us now know, stress is related to hundreds of today’s illnesses. So being stressed just might become the cause of an illness this holiday season or exacerbate an existing condition.
To give you some insights about just what stress can actually do, here is an extensive list of stress-related illnesses compiled by doctors at medicine.net:http://www.medicinenet.com/stress/related-conditions/index.htm
But you can do something about holiday stress. I invite you to take a deep breath with me, right now, and imagine that today you can create a whole new holiday for yourself and your family.
Allow yourself to reflect on the moments in years past when you really felt happy during the holidays? What were you doing? Who were you with?
Were you enjoying a holiday drink with friends, watching the kids open their packages, seeing someone devour one of your special holiday-recipe dishes, or snuggling on a stroll with your lover down a street filled with holiday lights?
Allow yourself to focus in on one particular moment. What was it about that moment that made it so special?
Now I invite you to reflect on what you were doing just before that special moment. Did you have a lovely conversation with someone? Did you enjoy a holiday concert or listen to some uplifting music? Did you take a long walk in beautiful holiday surroundings? Did you have a few quiet moments with a cup of seasonally spiced tea?
What did you do that helped put you in a peaceful state of being?
It is difficult to go from feeling upset, rushed, confused, angry, disappointed or stressed out to feeling happy. Happiness tends to come from and out of a state of peacefulness and ease. When you choose activities that inspire peace, you are more likely to experience happiness and joy. You experience more of those joyful moments that the holidays are supposed to be providing!
So now you might want to think about which holiday activities inspire the greatest peace in you. Perhaps you love to bake. In that case, the kitchen is the place for you. Perhaps you really enjoy the holiday parties. Then put your attention this year on hosting or attending some great gatherings. Maybe what you enjoy most is the delight of giving to organizations that help people in need or the care of our planet. So give with delight!
What would your holidays be like if you put a lot of attention into the activities that give you the greatest sense of inner peace and satisfaction—and let the rest of it (or at least most of it) go?
Now, let’s take this one step further.
What is the quality beneath those activities that is most important to you?
Do you feel a great sense of peace and joy when you are visiting with the people you love? Do you feel fulfilled when you lovingly use your hands with the gifts of the earth to create delightful culinary experience?
Do you love the quiet and creativity of making hand-made gifts for people? Do you like the feeling of satisfaction when you buy gifts for children you don’t know that would otherwise not receive gifts? Do you love the excitement of a little drama and pageantry like seeing a ballet, concert or a play? Or do you love that the holidays give you a focus for developing greater kindness in all aspects of your life?
It is the quality of life that the holidays can provide that usually means the most to us. And how we define quality of life varies from person to person, and family to family.
Some years ago my brothers and sister decided to do one of their holiday dinners a little differently. Since all of them worked full-time and none of the family really wanted to cook, they went out for a Chinese dinner. What was important to them was getting together to visit, laugh, and enjoy each other.So they focused on what was really important and let the rest go. No cooking. No gift exchanges. No need to clean the house for company. They just got together and enjoyed each other.
In this TV clip at Fox I talk about how to let go of the “Inner Grinch” and bring in more creativity for happier Holidays:
To give you some ideas, here is what I personally do to maintain my inner peace and set the tone for having greater fun! Your choices might look very different, and all that variety adds to the festivity of the season.
I love holiday lights. I make sure there are lights outside our house and that my husband and I find time to go for a drive and walks around town to enjoy the lights that others have put up to celebrate the season. So you will find me outside on a ladder, but not in the kitchen baking cookies that we no longer eat.
I give to charities in the name of my friends because shopping isn’t my great love, but giving to what I believe in is important to me, and so is honoring the people I love.
I listen to both holiday music and meditative music that help set a joyous, loving tone.
Those simple choices allow me to feel great peace during the holidays.
For you, a peaceful holiday might look quite different. Yet each of us has an opportunity to actually create what we love to write and sing about—to create during the holidays the inner peace that ultimately creates the peace we long to experience in our world.
May you and yours enjoy a truly peaceful holiday season!
Resource for experiencing more inner peace this holiday seaon—To experience Misa’s Deep Peace sacred sounds and overtone chanting for physical, emotional and spiritual peace.