Friday, November 25, 2005

Holiday happiness? Its yours to make!

Thanksgiving is over--the holiday season is officially out of the gate and on its mad-dash run to New Years! Here we go again!

I was at the gym this morning, working off the extra calories that come with Thanksgiving dinner. Very empty gym this morning--only two others there with me! The woman said to me, "Can you believe it! People standing in line at 1:30 am for a 5 am store opening!" We laughed as we realized there were plenty of people shopping at 6 am, but none seemed able to make it to the gym at that time. A commentary on our times? (Today is known as BlackFriday--this is the season when retailers cross their fingers that they'll get out of the 'red' and into the black and see a profit by the end of the year.)

Shopping, eat, indulging.....this seems to be the seasonal obsession! Yet, we also know that for many people, the holidays are not enjoyable--actually are highly stressful and lead to depression, high anxiety etc. A friend of mind called and said her daughter was all upset because their typical Thanksgiving dinner was going to be immediate family only this year and as far as her daughter was concerned, this wasn't good enough. It wouldn't "look right" to just have the 6 of them--it needed to be a big table with a big turkey or it wasn't real. (As in the Norman Rockwell painting that everything emulates as the holiday 'ideal').

That got me to thinking how we are such copycats! A man on the local news talked about spending $700 on holiday gifts--and then said, "I don't really want to, don't really have the money, but its what people expect, so I gotta do it".

But we don't! We can opt out, create our own, be different! We can refuse to get sucked into the mass hysteria of the season, refuse to let ourselves become 'sad' because our lives don't fit into a supposed picture perfect world.

How do you do it? Spend a few moments with your SELF. Really assess how you feel about the holiday season. What do you like? What don't you like? What could you stop doing if you just spoke up and said, "Not going to do it this year"? Or, if the holidays really were a pleasant experience, how would you create them for you and your family? Would you forgo all the shopping and instead put your energy into sharing kindness and help to someone who needs it? If you're alone and feeling "left out" of the season, what is one thing you could do to help others?
(Volunteer for Meals on Wheels, Ring the bell for Salvation Army, volunteer to be the one who comes in to work on the holiday so others could be off--and then create a small party for this group).

The over-consumption, over-indulgent holidays have become such a nightmare for so many people. We pray for January 2nd by the middle of November! This year, make a choice to start creating a holiday season that reflects peace--for you, your family, the community and the world. Look at the pieces of your Life Puzzle and choose actions that honor your whole SELF. Eat foods that honor your body, maintain a regular exercise program, deal with sadness/depression by focusing your choice-making on positive actions. Communicate honestly, send E-cards instead of paper cards and honor the environment. Talk with your family and really come together to create a peaceful holiday. Take time to play, refuse to let your finances get hijacked by mass-media's constant "buy, buy, buy" message! Remember the spirituality of living love for all, take charge of any special challenge in your life--especially addiction behaviors which the holiday season's anxiety often triggers and most of all, let this holiday season be a statement of the meaning of your life--a piece at a time with the whole you in mind.

be peace....

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