First of all I would like to wish you all a very happy, safe and family/friends fun filled Festive Season! (Yes, say that 5 times over fast!) This time of the year can be a wonderful opportunity to get together with family, friends and colleagues. Often spending time with those you don’t get to see that often or socialise with in this relaxed matter.
However, it can also be a very stressful time of the year. A time when we feel obliged to spend time with people who may not share our ethos and beliefs, a time when we have a whole lot of conversations that don’t inspire or engage us and a time to spend a whole of money on gifts we often don’t actually want to give.
So how can we stay authentic to ourselves and our beliefs and then express what we feel to be the true essence of Christmas?
So first of all, we need to be clear on what the true essence of Christmas is for us. What it is for you may actually differ from what it is for others. So take a moment to think about that. Is it actually celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ? If not, is it simply a time to connect with family and loved ones? Or perhaps it’s a time of giving or a time of gratitude? Maybe you just love cooking and sharing food with those you care about.
If it is one of the above or something else, how can you express that essence through how you celebrate this holy holiday?
I’m going to offer 3 simple practices that you can add into your festive celebrations without adding stress or complication. Actually, it should add just the opposite!
1. The Present of Presence
When you spend time with people during this time of the year, with all that you have going on, how present are you for each of them? How well do you listen to them? How much do you take in and what do you offer back?
Being really Present for someone, really showing up for them, is incredibly powerful and healing for both of you. If you want to show someone that you really care for them this Christmas then try being 100% present for them. Do this by grounding yourself into your body and breathe when you are in their company. Don’t be in a rush to talk, but sit back, breath them in, wait, listen and ground yourself there, sharing your energy field with theirs. Listen to what they say, ask questions and listen fully to the answers. Try not to be distracted by other happens around you – and certainly not by the telly! Keep your eye contact with them and show them you are truly there for them.
2. Encourage Giving
Presents can come and go. Sometimes we get it right and they love their gift, other times it may go into a box of things they don’t want. I’m not saying you shouldn’t give presents; it is actually a lovely thing to do. But let’s not completely forget about other ways of giving.
The way we speak to each other is one of the most influential ways we can either elevate someone or put them down. Words are power. Even when we say something in jest and say “I’m only joking right” it doesn’t mean that it does not affect the person it was said to.
So try giving the gift of encouragement this year! How can you make someone feel good about themselves today? This is an excellent practice as you can do it to anyone! You can gift a total stranger down the street or the checkout kid behind the counter. More importantly, you can let the people closest to you know you love and appreciate them. Even subtle, simple encouragements like, “you look great today!” “You have such a good sense of humour”. Or maybe they need encouragement of a much bigger kind, like starting that business, or going for a job, travel, study, personal change, etc.
So how can you encourage and praise the people you care about – and even the ones you don’t?
3. The Grace of Gratitude
Let’s face it, Christmas really is a time when we should be in deep gratitude for the abundance we have in our lives. Gratitude, for me, is key. So we can express our gratitude through gift giving and food sharing but it’s also important to stop and acknowledge that gratitude in a more embodied way too.
A perfect time to do this, whether you are on your own or sharing with others, is just before a meal. This is a great opportunity to pause, reflect and prepare. Why not try the practice of saying grace and having a moment of silence just before you eat.
Take a moment before eating to connect to the breathe, place one hand on the heart, the other on the belly, and give thanks for all that is about to be consumed and for the company in which you are sharing it. Then feel into your body, take a couple of deep breaths preparing the body for intake and let the exhalations fully relax you. There, your body, mind and spirit are now ready to receive the goodness you are about to take in.
Christmas can really make us feel exhausted, manipulated and overfed. However, I honestly believe with these 3 simple practices in place you will instead feel alive, inspired and perfectly contented. Or maybe there is a practice of your own you would like to add instead?
Whatever you do, have an authentic and inspiring Christmas and embody the true Gifts of this beautiful time of the year.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
Peace Peace Peace