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Natural Awakenings Tampa Florida

Don't Just Survive the Holidays

Dec 01, 2012 05:16PM ● By Reverend Alan Vukas

We have entered the holiday season: Christmas, Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, Santa Lucia Day, to name a few. Many of the holidays that are celebrated at this time of the year have been with us for centuries if not millennia. One thing that is common to most of them is the celebration of Light either literally or symbolically. For people all over the world, these holidays remind us that darkness must yield to light. The sun does come back, and spring will follow always winter.

For many, there are mixed feelings when it comes to the winter holidays. During this time of year, there are opportunities for us to reconnect to our spirituality through ritual and tradition as well as joining in festive celebrations with others. But our experience may also include stress, expense and at times even unresolved grief. And to top it all off — there can be the pressure of how the holidays should look and feel.

A friend I hadn’t heard from in quite a while called me on the phone recently. It is always great hearing from her. After getting caught up, I asked her about what her plans were for the holidays. She paused and after a big sigh, she said, "I’m going to do my best to survive them."

The holiday season can be more than just something to be endured or survived, and while they may not always look like a Norman Rockwell painting, they can be rich and rewarding in a very real way. Below are some practical tips on how to release some of the insanity and bring joy and peace back to the holidays.

 

Commit to not over-commit. 

There is a quote by the philosopher Bill Earle: "When your output exceeds your intake, your upkeep is your downfall." It would be easy to take this as having to do only with finances, but how about the economics of the soul. When we are giving more physically, emotionally and financially than we have to give, we shouldn’t be surprised when we end up exhausted, frazzled and broke.

This year make a commitment to yourself first that you will give only what you have to give. It really is okay to choose only a few special events to attend — and you do not have to feel guilt over declining an invitation to a high-energy party in favor of a quiet evening at home with the kids, baking cookies and wrapping presents. It’s your life, and you get to live it your way. You get to choose how you use your time and energy, and to put yourself in a deficit ends up affecting more than just you. This is true as well when it comes to our finances — the meaning behind all of the holidays has nothing to do with presents or price tags. 

 

Use the Law of Attraction to create your experiences. 

There is a law of the Universe: Like attracts like. This is a powerful principle that we can use to help us in creating more joyful experiences. Rather than waiting for others to show up with smiles on their faces in order that we may feel better, how about us putting a smile on our face with the intention of feeling better. In taking this little action we create an emotional shift within us and we will begin to notice that we do feel better. Our energy ripples out and creates a response within others and we will see our smiles mirrored back to us. We have to ask ourselves, how likely is it that others are going to be wishing us good cheer when we are acting Ebenezer Scrooge — exuding bitterness and self-pity?

We have the power to make a conscious choice to surround ourselves with love and joy by being those things. When we summon it up from within and greet others with a heartfelt, ‘Happy Holidays!’ and a smile, we are the ones that are taking the lead on setting the tone of our holidays rather than following the lead of others.

 

Jumpstart the joy.

If you are feeling like my friend and hoping that you can just survive, you may need to jumpstart your good cheer by doing things that help put you in the seasonal mood.

Dig out your favorite holiday CD, sip some eggnog, hang some decorations or donate to your favorite charity. Remember what we said about the Law of Attraction, what you put out there comes back to you. Peace and joy are contagious, so if you put it out there, you will get it back.

 

Give yourself the gift of being Present. 

Much of the anxiety and stress we feel is due to spending our time dwelling on the past or worrying about an imagined future. We replay in our minds what happened and then act as if the past is a mandate for what must happen today. Or we create elaborate "what-ifs" that, more often than not, never come true. By being present to the now — and unwrapping each moment as the gift that it is, we can with a little practice find that we actually enjoy them.

 

Keep it real.

The truth is that things will most likely not turn out like a greeting card or a Thomas Kinkade painting. There will probably be a few bumps and hitches with all the plans we make in order for everything to be "just perfect." We need to remember that the reason we want all of the celebrations is in order for us to experience the love, peace and joy that they contain. But if our focus is controlling the externals, we are disconnecting from the deeper experience.

The love, peace and joy comes from within us. It is present right now. The holidays are here just as a catalyst. Let our efforts be to focus more on the loving feelings and allow them to lead us rather than following a checklist of what is required in order for us to have a "successful" holiday. Feel then follow the love you feel. It will lead you away from surviving and into thriving in the holidays.

 

 

Reverend Alan Vukas is a spiritual leader committed to uplifting, encouraging and inspiring others to embrace their divine nature and magnificence. A dynamic teacher, Reverend Alan brings his experience of a lifetime of spiritual practice and community to his ministry. Using Science of Mind as the basis for his teaching, he presents spiritual truths and principles in relevant ways that lead men, women and children to create and experience a life of freedom.

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