By Anya Light
The time of Christmas is a wonderful time for the evolution of our consciousness. Indeed, it’s a great energy to harness. There’s extra magic in the air, absolutely ripe for the setting and manifesting of intention. Our collective sense of what’s possible is expanded, and our hearts tend to be more open.
Dear friends, here are three tips to keep in mind, as you navigate your Christmas holiday with the intention of awakening further to the deepest truth of who you are.
1. Be authentic.
At Christmastime, we often feel pressured to go along with what others are doing. We may feel obligated to participate in various traditions that don’t resonate with us for fear of rocking the boat.
Be bold and be you this Christmas. You say “no” and also be kind. For example, if you are a vegetarian and your mom is nudging you to partake in the turkey she’s just made, don’t confuse showing your mother love with abandoning your values. You can love your mom by simply saying “No thanks, Mom, I’ll forgo the turkey—but I’m so excited to eat these delicious mashed potatoes you made! Thanks so much!”
Here’s another example. If you don’t believe in the tradition of exchanging consumer products, then see what alternatives resonate with you. Could you make your loved one an artistic handmade gift, such as a poem or a painting? Could you offer massages and cuddles? Could you help your aunt with the dishes after the meal or lend a hand to help your dad fix his old broken down truck? Could you shovel the sidewalks of your grandmother’s house? What are the ways you can pitch in and add light to the lives of those you love, without feeling obliged to go out and purchase a mass market item?
2. Be in the present moment.
One of the things I find challenging about Christmas is that the holiday often seems to carry these two implicit ideas: a) that the past is more magical than the present, and b) that it’s good to yearn for what you wish you had.
Indeed, Christmas is so much predicated upon the glorification of nostalgia. Whether it’s old-timey black and white movies such as “It’s a Wonderful Life” or holiday cards showing kids from the fifties throwing snowballs…the dominant message seems to be: Childhood was better than adulthood. Yesterday was more beautiful than today.
If you flip on your radio, you’ll probably notice all the Christmas carols singing praises to those supposed good-old bygone days, those Christmases of long long ago. For this reason, I choose my Christmas music very selectively and sparingly. Usually I prefer lyric-less classical music or the more spiritual or religious hymns, that at the very least bring a renewed sense of joy and gratitude for all the blessings I currently enjoy today. Indeed, I long for deeper, wiser messages in my music than the shallowness of nostalgia. I long to feel the beauty and peace of the now, the present moment, rather than searching backward in time for it.
For me, I want each Christmas to be a new Christmas. Yes, of course, memories may spontaneously arise in my mind. But I don’t want to camp out there. When memories of the past come into my mind at this time of year, my practice (as it is the rest of the year) is to allow the emotions to flood my body, without adding stories about “what should be” or “what could be” on top of these memories and emotions.
For example, the other day I was listening to some holiday music on the radio and it seemed like song after song was about some sad lover who longed for the good-old-days when they had their lover by their side for sleigh rides, snuggles, sipping egg nog, etc. The songs were love vibration: totally blue, full of complaint, heartache and longing. As I listened, I suddenly found myself entrained to the music. I suddenly found myself feeling sleepy and rather glum, playing mental movies in my mind of a former partner of mine, and suddenly wishing to be with him this Christmas! As soon as I became aware of these thoughts and emotions, I promptly flipped off the radio and simply stood still in the middle of my living room and breathed, allowing the emotions to circulate through my body, without adding any more stories and without judging myself for what had just happened. In a few minutes, those sad energies naturally subsided and I continued the rest of my day with renewed present moment awareness.
3. Do what nourishes you.
This is an extension of tip #1. Do what truly nourishes your body and soul this Christmas! If what feels best to you is staying all cozy at home in front of the fire with your cat because you’re feeling introverted, no need to measure or compare yourself to the general expectation that Christmastime is meant to be spent in the company of others.
Dare to question the status-quo and create your own sacred rituals this year. If what feels best to you this year is juicing raw vegetables instead of drinking a rum cocktail, listen to that wise inner voice. If what feels most nourishing to you this year is going on a meditation or yoga retreat instead of typical holiday parties, then make space for what you need. If your soul is urging you to donate your time to a local food bank or soup kitchen, then you know what to do.
My dear friends, this year, this Christmas, do what truly nourishes you. Forget the traditions and expectations from your culture and even from your family. Start your own traditions. Listen to that beautiful voice emanating from within your own heart, and heed its gentle wisdom. Be present. Be authentic. Avoid the silly dramas and the hectic stresses that others are unconsciously addicted to, and liberate yourself to find a new flow from the rest of the crowd. Be the loving example of what Christmas can be.
I’d love to hear in the comments below what you are doing this year to bring more mindfulness and love into this holiday season! Please share with us!