The place that most holiday parties go sour are in the cars of the attendees before they even set foot in the door. Expectations are planned resentments. And yet, as soon as the word “party” is tacked on after anything a mental picture springs to mind.
What is your mental picture of the holidays? Do you see yourself unable to talk to the interesting person across the room, or are you so confident and assured that you draw everyone to you in any room? Are you hanging your favorite ornament on the tree or standing in an overheated department store arguing for a refund?
There may be no more pressure put on a series of dates than “the holidays.” But they come each year and they pass each year. They are what you make of them. So try the following suggestions to keep your head in the right place.
Black and white
Most events aren’t all bad or all good. How can they be when an event is a collection of experiences and feelings? Let all that you participate in be all the colors – happy, sad, interesting, refreshing, enlightening, exhausting and exhilarating. Allow your holidays to be the Technicolor rainbow of human experience they are, and don’t jump to a judgment of good or bad. You do not know yet what the whole of your experience will be, so let yourself be in the moment now.
Allow yourself to be surprised and grateful when you receive a gift – even if you are going to turn around and donate it to Goodwill! For the moment you are tearing the paper, your gift could be anything at all. In that moment, you are truly free. Hang on to that childish joy and even another pair of socks will bring a smile to your face!
And if everything else fails, here is a visualization exercise to center even the Grinch himself. Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. In your mind, see three boxes of varying shapes – small to large. Reach out and pick up the smallest box. Open it slowly and look inside. There are all your treasured holiday memories from childhood – even if it is just one moment, its essence is there. Smile and put it next to you.
Now reach out for the second box. It is larger, and filled with all the special moments of all the people that you love. Their best intentions and laughter are all inside this box and they are for you to feel and absorb. When you have felt the love of those around you, put that gift next to you on the other side. If you have felt your own best and the bests of those you love, you are ready to reach for the biggest box. This is the power to receive from the universe. This gift is so large only a tiny pinpoint spec is contained in its box. But it glows and wraps around you with love and the feeling that you have already received all that you will ever need and want. You are completely and totally whole.
Take a moment and feel that wholeness. Now, remember it.
Now, open your eyes but don’t forget how it felt to open a gift from the universe. Even if you do end up standing in an overheated store without a receipt, you can tap into that memory and know that in this moment, you are whole and complete, no matter what is under the tree!
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