Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Kindness of the Season

Amidst the wishes of merry this and joyous that, I am reminded that for far too many of us, the winter holidays are stressful to the point of crazy-making. The pressure to buy things we don't have money for, or even if we do, the pressure to find "just the right present" sends us into a frenzy of consumerism. Most of us eat and drink far too much, don't exercise enough, and in general let good intentions go by the wayside.

Then there are the family dynamics. The winter holidays are like putting dysfunctions old and new on steroids. Under the guise of ho-ho-ho bonhomie, whatever has been hurtful and unresolved resurfaces. Alcoholism and abuse emerge from the shadows. Unhealed wounds re-open.

The shortness of the days and the difficulty of getting fresh air and sunshine add to the gloom. Instead of green leaves and flowers, we find ourselves surrounded by frozen slog or mud. If we have any predisposition at all to Seasonal Affective Disorder, it perks right up.

To resist all this, we need black-belt self-care, not just for ourselves, but for the people we love. Kindness, simplicity...slowing down. Breathing. Stretching. Reflecting. Taking the time to feel what we need to nourish our bodies, our mind, our spirits.

The best holiday gift we can give is to be fully present with one another. To do that, most of us need reminding that we ourselves are precious. When our hearts are open, not only do we become fully alive, but we inspire and complete the aliveness of those around us.

In this, and every season, be peace. Be joy. Be love. Be yourself.

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