I find it ironic that that during the holiday season the word peace is often used, but for many of us, this is the most hectic and stressful time of year. In addition to life becoming very busy with shopping, parties, and events, it is also a time when emotions can be close to the surface. Many recall and feel the loss of loved ones more acutely at this time, and many people feel loneliness and alienation, regret or resentment.
Our quest for personal transformation involves releasing old patterns that we habitually engage in during the holiday season that no longer work for us, and creating a new relationship with this time of year that allows us to have the experiences that we desire, whatever those might be. I’m focusing on peace because I rarely hear people say “I’m much too peaceful this time of year.”
If you roll just fine with the holiday season, loving every minute of it, no need to read further. If, however, you feel you could and would like to have a more peaceful experience at the end of the year, then read on.
Let’s take a tip from nature. At this, the darkest time of year, we are in nature’s cycle of contraction. The cycle of life is expansion and contraction (birth and death, darkness and light, etc.) At this time of year, nature contracts, drawing within, as the leaves fall off the trees, plants bursting with harvest just a few months ago go dormant, and many animals hibernate in darkness. It is time of preparation for new growth. As opposed to the activity of spring, in the winter, nature is quiet.
I think it is in our nature to contract as well; to get in touch with what’s going on inside of us in preparation for growth in the new year. Of course, it’s a wonderful time to seek fellowship with others, to celebrate and give to those we love. If we can balance that activity with quiet reflection, we can find peace within as well as without.
To be active in your own personal evolution, you must take time to examine and evaluate your life. This requires presence and awareness, best found in the absence of frenetic activity. I’m not suggesting that you spend all winter meditating and staring at your naval, but there is immense value in silence, reflection, and stillness. (Even though there is little value placed on these things by our culture.)
Here are seven simple things you might try to have a more peaceful holiday season.
- Make regular periods of quiet, peaceful time for yourself. Reflect on your life over the past year. If you are alone or lonely, I wonder if you can be ok with being with yourself? If not, or if the voices in your head are too loud, then seek out friends, relatives or even a counselor or therapist to talk about things that matter to you. Give your inner life a voice.
- Make a commitment to stay grounded and balanced. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in craziness of one kind or another. Be clear about what you want from the season, what you will tolerate and what you won’t.
- Decide what this time of year means to you. What can you do that feels right to you? It may not be what you’ve always done. Or, you way want to immerse yourself more fully in your religious or family tradition. The point is to choose consciously.
- Practice self care. Have fun “making merry”, but balance it with eating right, lots of water, supplements and getting the rest you need. Read something meaningful or listen to something inspiring for your head health.
- Deal with triggers that pull you away from peace. A trigger is a person, place or thing that triggers negative emotions. It might be money, a family member, or a particular event that you dread. What can you do to either avoid these triggers, eliminate or reduce them? It might require awareness and preparation before encountering them, an authentic conversation with someone, or taking a stand.
- Keep a journal handy. What’s coming up for you as you reflect on your life? What needs to be resolved for you to move forward? It might involve a phone call or letter, a letting go or a taking on. Writing it down gets it out of your head and enables you to deal more effectively.
- Go outside. Take a walk. Bundle up if it’s cold. Allow nature to speak to you. Fresh air and movement is good for you, as we spend a lot of time inside in winter.
I wish you a happy, fun and peaceful holiday season.
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Your companion on the path to transformation,
Ted A. Moreno