• I’ve been listening to both internal and external messages of the season. Externally, I hear“Happy Holidays”, “The Season of Giving”, “Buy Gifts Here”, “Joy to the World”, soon we’ll hear messages about the ending of the year, and “Happy New Year”.  New year’s resolutions will be proclaimed, the setting of intentions and vows to start to be a whole new you (by the way you can love yourself just the way you are).

    Internally, we may or may not be Happy during the Holidays, perhaps we aren’t the sort to buy gifts, and maybe the holidays remind of us of losses. Or we’re simply tired.

    My meditation and mindfulness practice has helped me take this season and any season, to be seen as what it is, infinitesimal moments, of what we call time. We have many moments, (how ever long that is), each moment holds something brand new even if it doesn’t seem like it. Our hearts are capable of holding all of it; all the moments however they may be not just the good ones. We can do it especially when we have support and love in our lives- internally and externally.

    As I’ve written in previous posts here, I struggle with the darkness, cold and dampness that begins here in the Puget Sound area in early November. The changing of the clocks is HARD on my body and mind; I just don’t like it. I LOVE it during spring, though 🙂  Sure, I do take measures to make it easier; I increase my Vitamin D3 and I try to schedule a trip to somewhere warm. This year, I decided to find some slippers that aren’t just functional – but are warm, fit me well and I LOVE. I also picked up a heated mattress pad so that I don’t have to get into a cold bed. What a game changer! I turn it on before brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed and then turn it off as soon as I am warm after getting into bed. I also have a small space heater that fits under my desk and this helps keep from having to heat the whole house with the furnace.  I’m also trying to get outside and take short walks when it isn’t raining. And I watch more movies during winter.

    Up until a year ago, I would have such a strong reaction to hearing holiday music right after Halloween. I would leave a store if they were playing it before Thanksgiving. I would actually become so agitated by it that I would become almost angry!  Last year, I had been practicing with just allowing things to be; to not resist what is already here and SOMETIMES, I even do a practice where I just welcome EVERYTHING! It has softened me. Do I LIKE holiday music? Nope. But, I no longer resist it or have a strong reaction to it.  I recognize it as “oh, it’s that time of year where music such as this is played in most places”. Funny enough – sometimes I find myself singing along and then I get one stuck in my ear (lately, it has been Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is you” or Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”.  Most of my close friends know this, but my husband and I don’t celebrate any of the holidays that occur this time of year. Our tradition is to go to a movie and have a meal and drive around and look at some neighborhoods that have a lot of homes lit up. This suits us. For some reason, when asked about what we are doing for Thanksgiving or Christmas and I share with them our tradition – I sense that many find this odd or perplexing. I have a good internal chuckle and occasionally, I feel the need to defend. That’s MY stuff. I do have baggage around the holidays and I am working through it.  I no longer feel anger about the holidays though so I have softened and I mindfulness is helping me to see and discover things that I do find pleasant about the holidays. For instance, today I walked into a store that was nothing but Christmas trees, lights, decorations and I kid you not – it was one of THE MOST BEAUTIFUL stores I have EVER stepped in. I didn’t want to leave! I didn’t even notice if Christmas music was playing in there (although there had to be, right?)! I didn’t see any Hanukkuh decorations or cards, though and that’s why I went in there in the first place. 

    I’d like to mention something about gift giving. Perhaps something to consider is this… giving the gift of our presence, giving someone our undivided attention and truly listening. You could even put it on a gift certificate; “This entitles the bearer of my love and attention over coffee on February 2nd.”

    The Garden Room & Home Store-Gig Harbor, WA

    May you be at peace in the midst of everything, May we all be kinder to each other and ourselves.