Are you among those who recoil from the over-commercialization of Christmas? Do you hear Christmas carols and instantly think of the crush of harried shoppers ranging wildly through the malls? Can you feel your gorge rising when Christmas trees appear before Halloween?
Perhaps your faith, or lack of a faith, makes this season a time to be endured. Well, you’re not alone – for every person who adores this time of year, there are scores who’ve come to dread it. If you’re one of those people, don’t despair. There is a way to wrest this time of year from the crass materialism, the forced merriment and the glut of inflatable lawn decorations.
Despite the current, American version of the holiday, let’s explore the original intent of the holiday – a celebration of life, the gift of the healing, and compassion.
It shouldn’t take a near-death experience or the loss of someone dear to get us to focus on the gift of life, the preciousness of our time. A sage once said a lifetime is only a flash of lightning in eternity. Here and gone, in the flash of an instant. The best gift we can give ourselves is to appreciate how truly blessed we are simply to be alive. Celebrate the fact of living, the experience of living fully by allowing yourself to be truly present. Let a moment hold you with all the joy and wonder the present moment held for you when you were four years old.
Choose to heal thyself. What’s bothering you? What’s eating at you? What’s leaching away joy from your life? Often, it’s not a situation that is the larger problem. It’s how you choose to deal with it (or to avoid it) that becomes the more significant issue. Take a good hard look at what ails you and consider creating a celebratory ritual to heal your life, your resentment, worry or anger – ultimately these are within your control.
The reverence for compassion is universal in individuals, religions and cultures. This season is a good time to ask, how can you offer that compassion to yourself? Or how can you extend compassion to those who drive you crazy? More to the point, how can you live in compassion? If this seems patently impossible, think of his Holiness the Dalai Lama: his countrymen, monks and nuns continue to be tortured and killed, and his monasteries are still being destroyed in Tibet. Yet, he meets everyone with the same kindness, even the Chinese. Granted, he’s exceptional but choosing to operate from compassion is a possibility for us all.
What (or whom) would you like to honor? Whether you’d like to honor someone exemplary, or a god, a goddess, an elemental energy, or a human quality, or even a sacred place – there’s a way to bring the energy of that inspiration into your life. It can be as simple as purchasing a postcard image that represents what you’d like to honor, then placing a blossom, a candle and fruit before it. How and what you honor are your decision, yet this reveals who you are this particular holiday season.
No matter what your beliefs, there’s a way to set your own intention and regain a holiday season with meaning that is conducive to feeling fulfilled, grateful and joyful.
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