Thanksgiving is over, but holiday season is in full swing. The party invitations are rolling in and the sales are popping into your email every few minutes. Whether you’re a full on jingle-bell-lover or side better with a scrooge—one thing that is hard to escape is the distraction of the holidays.
As mindfulness goes, there is a lesson to be learned in every situation and every lesson is a chance to become more evolved in understanding this human experience. Observing ourselves navigating the holiday season is no different.
A few things to notice this holiday:
Holiday Distraction: To Ignore
There is a lot going on this time of year. So much so that is easy to blink and it be January 15th—post holiday, but not post problems. The insecurity, relationship issues, old trauma, etc. that are hard to deal with now will still be there after the holiday parties and Christmas cookies. Notice if you’re using the celebratory energy around you to try and make yourself feel better about something deeper. Sometimes we get into the holiday spirit so much because we’re trying to ignore a true feeling. You can, and should, celebrate your holiday, but try and celebrate it fully with presence—for everything that it is and everything that it isn’t in the very moment you’re in.
Holiday Distraction: To Feel Whole
Just as above, sometimes we project how we want to feel onto the holiday. This usually causes us to have unrealistic expectations of perfection and happiness. We put pressure on ourselves and the people around us to make everything perfect because we’re using the holiday to make ourselves feel perfect. If you notice yourself getting too attached with how your holiday celebrations are playing out you might want to look deeper at what you’re ignoring and why you might be looking toward your holiday celebrations to make you feel whole.
Holiday Distraction: To Define
As we grow, from child to adult, we are slowly taking pieces of the life we see and using them to make up a definition of who we are. That leads us to define ourselves through our experiences, through our memories, through our traditions. You can see this in people especially during the holidays. We get sad at the loss of some traditions, or we try so hard to recreate old memories to make us feel happy and whole. This is where a lot of holiday sadness can come from. We are not defined by our memories or the traditions we were taught. We cannot control who is around us and who is not. A tradition—or lack there of—is merely just an experience. Sometimes we experience them, sometimes we don’t, but either way we are just we and that is enough.
This is one of my favorite things to say to myself when I find myself getting sad about a loss of tradition. “I am not me—I am not the me that you see, or the me that I see. I just am. I just be.”
I am not defined by tradition or memory.
My job is to recognize love, to emulate love, to reflect love in others.
This holiday season I let go of expectation, of receiving.
I don’t give presents. I give presence.
Have a happy and healthy week!