The holidays are in full swing! I read somewhere that there are in the neighborhood of 19 religious and spiritual holidays celebrated in December and then of course there is New Years Eve, which is pretty much universal. An interesting factoid: while 90% of Americans celebrate Christmas, only 55% regard it as a religious holiday according to Pew Research.
Regardless of your beliefs and practice, which may be completely different things, the year-end holidays are a mixed bag for most of us: Expectations, pressure, joy, love, giving, hate, stress and relaxation…. Everyone has a different take and at the end of the day no one is wrong or right. Our experience is our own and ours alone to claim.
But for every one of us our experience is borne of a choice that we make. The choice is to Be who really are, or to Be something else. And that’s today’s topic.
I often paraphrase Viktor Frankl. He taught from Auschwitz that the one and only inalienable right that each of us has, no matter our circumstance in life, is the freedom to choose how we will respond to any situation. And what a powerful teaching that is!
Our FB Live (archives here on our website) broadcasts over the past few weeks have been a countdown to the holidays of sorts. A series of topics offering the opportunity to approach the year-end holidays differently this year — the people, the places, and the things. And when we do that we transform what otherwise will surely be a predictable experience into something brand new and oftentimes oddly familiar. Let me explain.
The gift of taking the chance of doing things differently is the opportunity to return to who we really are. There is a familiarity when we get there because none of us was born to have grand expectations of ourselves and others, to choose to feel pressure, stress, or to hate. And when we experience these things the angst we feel comes from our disconnection from who we really are: joyful, loving, giving, relaxed.
The good news is that when we choose to respond to our situation differently — from a place of who we really are rather than by reacting to others, their demands, their expectations, or from being who we have been taught to be by well-meaning others and society — we instantly close that disconnect and return to what I call our Paradise (re)Discovered.
So practice some things this week to reconnect, won’t you? Give it a shot and notice what’s different:
- When you’re immersed in the goings-on that often bring out the worst in you along with the best, take a moment and ask yourself how you would PREFER to respond. And do that instead. No matter how others react.
- Take time for yourself. As much as you need and as often as you wish. No matter how others respond.
- Make decisions from your heart rather than from a place of obligation or expectations, self-imposed or by others. No matter how others see them.
- At the end of the day, take a two-minute inventory. How did you do in honoring yourself first? How did others respond? And then drift off to sleep knowing that if you honored yourself first today you gave others the very best of you. And feel good in that. No matter how others might have felt towards you at the end of the day.
Truly, no matter what you believe or practice, ’tis the season to Be. ‘Tis The Season To Be Who You Really Are! Your body, mind & soul will thank you in dramatic ways.
With lots of love and gratitude
from Santa Fe, New Mexico,
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2 thoughts on “’Tis the Season to Be…”
One of the thoughts that I am pondering for next months group: “Is anger and outrage fashionable” How do we respond to situations without falling into anger and outrage. The one thing that I have found helpful is meditation, it has given me a different sense of time in my “real world” interactions, i.e. I realize that I have time to think about my response.
Wonderful post….I dig it!
Great points. I wonder how whether how fashionable anger and outrage might be is relative to societal norms in the moment; as norms change then things like anger and outrage shift along the continuum of being acceptable. I think it’s also a great challenge to us to be authentic to who we are. By definition that is / should be consistent regardless of how norms might vary. So we find ourselves in need of finding a way to be who we are no matter what – in this case responding to the world around us without falling into something like anger and outrage even if they have become fashionable. And finding a way to be comfortable with who we are despite the prevailing trends. Yes, meditation a great way. To as you said give you a difference sense of time in your “real world” interactions; and also as a way to create an inner world that we can embrace as more real than the outer world, and in doing so doing our part to shape what the outer world becomes. As within, so without (and the converse does not have to be true).
Just my 5 AM thoughts… thanks!