The holiday season at the end of the year has the potential to be a stressful time. Days are short with less light, expectations run rampant, and family of origin issues are stirred up. Most holidays are about rituals and many of us have decades of traditional imprints that are not pleasant. Since holidays were generally not fun in my childhood, as an adult I have chosen to re-organize how I celebrate this time of year. And celebration is a key word.
Developing a personal mission statement can help us stay on track and avoid being drawn into old familiar and undesired patterns. Write about how you want to be (perhaps grateful, open hearted, balanced....), what you want to do (maybe laugh, be of service to others, connect with loved ones....) and the values upon which your being and doing are based (love, celebration, unity, sharing, self care). I find it helpful to focus on what I want rather than what I want to avoid. In Alexander Technique we are taught that we tend to go where we are looking, and the Laws of Attraction remind us that we draw that which we give attention to, so focus on how you want to feel and act so you can give energy and attention to creating your positive experience. Set up a plan that supports your goals and find language that allows you to feel good. Instead of "not overeating", think about "enjoying every bite". Visualize allowing any negativity to pass thru you like mist in the wind instead of trying to protect yourself from it. If people offer you something you don't want (more food, alcohol, criticism), you could say something like "Thank you for thinking about me; what I would really like is a hug (or some fresh air)." I learned "thank you for thinking about me" from Virginia Satir; it is such a powerful response as it acknowledges the person's heart and gives no attention to any judgmental content. If you find yourself going down a path that leads you away from your mission statement intentions, stop, have a moment of gratitude for the recognition, and change direction to get back on track.
Create new rituals that are appropriate for you. Think about what the holiday means, or what you want it to mean this time around. For me, Thanksgiving is about gratitude and appreciation, so part of my personal ritual is to acknowledge my gifts of the year, and to let people know I appreciate them in my life. This is also a good time to practice the art of allowing, appreciating others for who they are instead of how you want them to be. If a negative feeling or memory finds its way into your mind, let it go and choose another thought or action that allows you to feel good again. I like to go to the beach on holidays, even if it is for just a few minutes of light and appreciation. What would make your celebration meaningful? Plan it into your day. Be grateful for every small positive change you make; vibrate at a level of appreciation for the little things and you will draw more to be grateful for into your life.
Wishing you abundant thanksgiving,