The holiday season is officially upon us. The history of this special time of the year is one of gratitude and giving. ‘Tis the season to be Jolly, right?
For many, the modern holiday season is often marked by stress and anxiety, strain and worry, apprehension and insecurity. Dreaming of the season rarely conjures up the overflowing peace, joy, and love that come from true thanks and true giving.
Here are a few common stressors that might be draining your joy this season:
- Not enough money to buy the things you want for your friends and family. With the economy still reeling from the recent setback, are you concerned about not having enough cash this season?
- Family dynamics that would cause even the most saintly to cringe – will Uncle Fred ever quit asking you why you are still single???
- Concern about weight gain – how can you ever say “no” to Aunt Betty’s pumpkin pie?
- Travel, snow storms, work deadlines – for many it is a busy and overwhelming time of year.
No matter the particular situation you find yourself in this season, you can effortlessly glide through the holidays with peace, joy, and love. There is just one secret to unwrap, one small shift in awareness that will transform your time from one of worry to one of peace, from one of constriction to one of freedom:
Realize that everything in your life is a gift. Recognize that every single experience that shows up in your life is a gift.
What makes a gift a gift is the act of giving, as well as the act of receiving. Gifts are freely given just as they can be effortlessly received. You can accept the gift, whatever it may be, beautiful or ugly, painful or pleasurable. Investigate it, admire it, cherish it, inquire into it, and when it has served its purpose you can let it go. Just as it freely came, it can freely go. And as you let one gift go, as you let it return from whence it came, another gift will come flowing into your life with astonishing speed. This is true gratitude – to experience everyone and everything as a gift to be cherished, loved, and ultimately let go.
Use this season as an opportunity to practice seeing and experiencing everything in your life as a gift. Are you wanting to experience joy and love? Give joy and love to everyone you meet. Are you longing to experience happiness? Create happiness in the world around you. You will come to discover that giving and receiving are two sides of the same coin. Freely give; freely receive.
Ask yourself – what in your life is a blessing? Literally, count your blessings and make a list. Say them out loud with family and friends. This activates gratitude and releases those feel good feelings in the body. Then counter it with introspection on current life challenges. Write or talk about ways to improve these challenges and find the positive aspects. Focusing on what you have learned from the challenge will help. Discover the opportunity inherent in any setback. Recognize both blessings and challenges as gifts. Both bring their own insight; their own magic.
As you discover the answers to these questions, you will experience the peace, the joy, and the love that is the hallmark of the holiday season, and, in fact, the potential of every day of your life.
Remember that everything you experience is calling you home – calling you home to the reality of your true nature, the reality of your perfection, your beauty, and your grace. When you see this, life will no longer be a struggle.
So this holiday season, if you notice yourself feeling stressed, worried, or anxious, take a few moments to close your eyes and breathe. Become mindful of your blessings whatever form they may take. Say thank you and move forward giving others gifts of love, affection, and appreciation, for as you give, so shall you receive.
Sarah Maria is the author of Love Your Body, Love Your Life. The book outlines her 5-step process for helping you feel great in and about your body and yourself. Her work embraces the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, so that true and lasting healing can occur. Click here to purchase your copy and begin to love your body today. To learn more about Sarah Maria and her work, you can visit her websites at www.sarahmaria.com and www.breakfreebeauty.com.