What if you are NOT happy for the holidays?
There is a mistaken belief that when you practice yoga or meditation regularly, you walk around "feeling zen" at all times. No matter what happens you sprinkle pixie dust on the situation, giggle, and recite a Sanskrit mantra to make it go away.
This is not reality.
This is not mindful living.
Mindfulness is being present in the current moment.
What about if in this present moment you are feeling sad, grief, lonely, angry or full of fear?
It is normal to experience a full range of emotions during the holidays. It doesn't make you "less zen" or "not mindful". It makes you honest, and it makes you human.
By being present, we acknowledge the emotion we are feeling in this current moment, whether it is joy or pain. There is no right or wrong, good or bad. When we acknowledge what we are feeling, we are no longer resisting it. We are no longer judging ourselves. What we resist persists. This is how we start to shift to be in the present moment.
Find a quiet place and try this exercise:
Name the emotion you are currently feeling, in one word. Do not attach stories to it (like walking through the steps of your divorce)
Breathe in and out.
Consciously inhale and exhale for 90 seconds.
What if you can't let go of the painful or hurtful stories?
If difficult life events keep repeating through your mind try one of the following:
1. Take pen to paper and journal those feelings. Write the story without editing. Clinical studies show that when we journal our thoughts, we give ourselves permission to let go and move forward.
2. Find an accountability partner. This is someone who will sit and graciously listen to your story. They listen without editing, sharing opinions, or sharing advice. They are just present to hold sacred space with their hearts.
The holidays are a time when too many people "force happiness" and stuff their true emotions deep inside. Be mindful not only of yourself, but those around you. Someone may be feeling lonely after loss of a loved one or divorce. Someone may not be ready to forgive just yet.
Being mindful is being present without judgement. Do not judge others (including family members around you) or yourself. Be present. Be you. That is your biggest gift to share for the holidays.
Sending love, light, and prayers for the holidays,