The holiday season is upon us, and with this wintery change in Reston, Northern Virgina, comes darkened days, chillier air, festivities of all kinds, carols and cartoons, gifts and trinkets, the smell of evergreens, cinnamon, and nutmeg wafting in the air, and a wondrous array of twinkling lights. What also comes with the holidays for many of us is a pressing feeling of doom, dysfunction, depression, and seemingly stagnant hopelessness.
It is so strange that what comes with the fa la las, and dai dai dais, is a lot of pressure to act, and eat, and be someone we’re not: To feel guilty about not having, or having too much; to suddenly feel abandoned by people we don’t think of all year, because an invitation was not sent our way, or a text was not sent, or a card was not mailed; to practice the fine art of feeling less than when around friends and family members who seem to do more, or have more than we do; or to stuff ourselves full of the products from intoxicating advertisments for: diets, fast foods, fruit cakes, booze, drugs, television family dramas, blackout parties, extended credit, the latest and greatest gadgets and toys.
In many cases, the observance by most people on the holidays isn’t the season to relax and reflect, or to give unconditionally, but to castigate, demand, and competitively compare. Much of what I observe of the holiday’s is a gloom that comes from feeling not up to snuff with the reality of everyone else – regardless if it suits their needs – and then walloping a heaping full of guilt and shame on top for not fitting some artificial mold. Hence the intense incline in suicidal attempts and follow throughs, major accidents, violent crimes, burglaries, and heavy sedation – both medical and self inflicted.
What is it about the perceived ending of a year that stirs up so much anxiety and pressure? What exactly does this internal or external flogging really get done for you? What does blowing your whole budget on a new fangled thingamabob, or over eating, drinking or sending yourself into oblivion, prove to you? ——- What happened to true intimacy, connection, love and family? What about those resolutions we chanted, those refinements we promised? Where does peace on earth fit in to these actions?
Please, stay with me…. There are always good times for introspection, recognition, and starting anew. This holiday season is as good a time as any.
Why not try something new this year?…..Instead of focusing on what we can do for others that we do with the least bit of authenticity, lets focus on what we can do to truly be present for our selves?
Give Yourself a Present of Presence.
A novel idea? Yes… though remember, in order to effect change, we must be that change. If we want family, be there for family by truly being. If we want love, work on loving ourselves — then all we let in and give out is love… and instead of searching for it, we will embody it. If we want intimacy, bring it forward – spend time cultivating grace and dignity, and we will feel comfort in closeness. If we want rich vibrancy, then treat ourselves like the divine beings we are. If we want good will towards all, then feed ourselves with the most nourishing experiences, and we will create a healthy space for all to pass through.
So… this year give yourself the present of presence. Be there in full. Feel what you need to. It too shall pass. Nothing is permanent. Suffering only lingers if we allow it to.
Give yourself the ultimate gift of self.
Find out who you really are. Spend some time learning about what you really like, what makes you tick, your true passions and purpose. Take time to clean out the closets of your mind – get rid of the junk that weighs you down, stuffs you up, and discounts your true being. Buy yourself time to just be, to sit and enjoy the feeling of who you are in your own true frame. Feed yourself loving thoughts, kind gestures, and quiet safe moments.
Take yourself out to the Reston Town Center, and freely play – open your arms wide, spin, jump, shout with glee, stare at plants and the big Christmas tree in awe; take a walk to Lake Anne and smell life around you, take in everything and nothing, notice the cacophony of sound or silence, breath deep, and feel the water’s breeze on your skin and bones. Splurge on days of relaxation, go to a day spa, or lay in bed with no place to go and no plans to follow through on. Take time to linger, to stare, to saunter from place to place. Eat a nutritious meal, made from organic foods (there are organic food markets in abundance here), or take yourself out for a quiet night on the town to a quiet cafe by the lake. Speak gently, move gracefully, hold yourself with the utmost dignity. You deserve it, we all do. Tis the season to give and receive, and what better person to start with than oneself?
May today and the rest of your days be cheery and bright. May you walk with dignity and grace, through all situations. May you come to great self acceptance, and in that, yummy surrender. May you create the world you want to see, and love all that you create. May you glow and heal; and recognize that you are worth it, you are divine, you do have a place, and you are wonderful, just as you are.