Thanksgiving weekend has come to a close in the USA and with it comes the start of the “traditional” holiday season that runs for a month or more. There’s lots of hustle and bustle, pressure, sadness, joy, expectations, challenge, and gratitude. Of course there is nothing traditional about the season as we know it in the USA and many places in the West. It’s a business holiday now above all, where those we’ve given our power to play with the calendar to maximize the number of shopping days before Christmas and the number of shopping hours in the day. A couple of the biggest headlines last week were about how this season will make or break Sears and Kmart, and curiosity about how the season will play out as the first Christmas without Toys R Us gets underway. Really?
A reader wrote on our Facebook page this past weekend that one of the things she is most grateful for is that she can “be who I am.” Indeed, there’s no better time than the season at hand to take some time each day to connect and reconnect with who you are. The gratitude, for me, is that no matter my circumstances — my wealth, my power, my prosperity, my challenges, fears, anxieties, and my joys in life — I can always choose to approach the all from the place of Who I Am. And when I do that the difficult parts become easier and the more joyful parts approach ecstasy.
When I was kid we always had an Advent Calendar. Because the season of Advent can vary the calendars began on the 1st December. From that day the calendar counted down the days until Christmas; each day a piece was peeled back to reveal a religious or holiday picture that helped build anticipation until the final Christmas scene was disclosed.
With December 1st approaching this week how about creating your own Holiday Calendar of Gratitude? Here’s what you can do:
- Over the next few days take some time to write out 31 things you are grateful for in your life: People, places, things, states of being, life circumstances, ways of being. Don’t worry if some get repeated, notice which they are. That’s all the better! These can be related to what you have, what you are aware of each day, gratitude for what you desire, excitement about what you are creating in your life… absolutely anything that comes to mind. Write each on a small piece of paper. Try to write out five a day as the week goes on. (a great practice in itself!)
- Fold the papers and put them in a special container and keep the container on the night table of your bed. A “side effect” is the great energy they will give off while you sleep!
- In a prominent place in your home hang a calendar for the month of December, and each day beginning December 1st randomly choose one paper, unfold it to reveal the gratitude, and paste it on that day in the calendar. Or just copy it from the paper if that’s easier, but I think there’s something fun about having all the little papers on the calendar and they draw my attention more.
- Reflect on your calendar as it unfolds. Take a moment to really appreciate the new gratitude each day. Keep it in mind throughout the day. Look for examples of it, intentionally practice it, find ways to embrace it in your life that day or how you might give it to others. Make it a bit of a game: How often during the day, and in how many different ways, can you connect with it?
- When the calendar is complete, just in time for the New Year, it will have served a few purposes. You will have connected with gratitude every day for a month; you will have painted a beautiful picture of who you really are through your expressions of gratitude, and you will have laid out a foundation for living in the year to come that is a perfect manifestation of who you are at your core.
You will notice that the calendar also takes your power back from the society’s more typical expression of the season and allows you to Be who you are and to Give that to the world around you. You will notice that you are less affected by the aspects of the hustle and bustle that do no serve you as you create a new tradition to replace the current tradition that never really was tradition in the first place.
And the holidays as you choose to celebrate, and the season, and the year to come, will be devoid of the pressures and sadness and anxiety, and full of joyful expressions of you and the life you have created in your continuing journey to Paradise (re)Discovered!
Be sure to scroll down and share your thoughts and experiences! Share some pictures as your calendar unfolds!
With Blessings and Gratitude,
From Querétaro, México
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