Wherever you are and whatever you celebrate, we are in the thick of a season that can be both beautiful and brutal.
Expectations. Emotional triggers. Hopes fulfilled or dashed.
This is high season for magic and sadness, for gratitude and anger, for dreams and regret.
Let’s get through it with as much grace as possible, shall we?
Notice what’s happening in the moment: your reactions, your feelings, the way you’re shutting the door on too much joy or focusing on someone else’s most annoying habits. Just notice, without judging it as good or bad, healthy or not.
Whether it’s once deeply, or 5 times with your hand on your heart like my friend Liz Lamoreux practices and teaches, or more times than you can count, stop and breathe. Take yourself out of a stressful situation if you need to. The bathroom is always a good excuse, as is needing fresh air. Let your belly fill and your chest rise. Notice that moment at the point of fullness where the breath is suspended, then slowly let it all go. Repeat as necessary, making space for any emotions that surface, doing your best to let any unhelpful repetitive thoughts float away.
By which I mean Ask for Help.
Dear Universe, please help me keep my mouth shut and get through this day in one piece.
Okay Spirit, I really need you to help me see the things I love about these people instead of the things that make me want to run screaming from the room.
Dear God, please help me act with compassion and understanding. Help me keep my heart and eyes open to what lies underneath the surface. Help me see the beauty that I know is present in everyone and everything, even when it’s hidden under a steaming pile of dysfunction.
If there’s someone you can ask for support, do that too.
Hey little brother, can you kick me under the table every time I start to open my mouth at dinner?
Husband, would you take a walk with me and hold my hand? I just need some quiet company.
Friend, will you come to this event with me? I have to go but I don’t know if I can do it alone.
Notice. Breathe. Pray.
Then love yourself through all of it. Because you are enough, and worthy of love, just as you are.
And if your holiday season is lovely and bright, and all your dreams come true, you can still use the mantra. Notice the joy. Breathe it in. Let your prayer be one of gratitude.
P.S. If you’re on my newsletter list, I’ve got a gift coming for you next weekend that will support you in starting 2015 off with more grace, peace and joy. If you’re not on the list and you’d like to sign up to receive it, you can do that in the upper right hand corner.