“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”—Maya Angelou (via dreyaeva)
Loving this article about being present amidst the craziness of the holidays. Running is part of my zen.
Here are six suggestions for infusing your holiday season with authentic presence.
1. Breathe and Surrender to What Is
Our expectations of what this season should look like are a guaranteed recipe for disappointment. Rather than fighting what is, simply breathe deeply and surrender to what is unfolding. As we flow with each event as it arises, we minimize the vibrational blockages that are created within us, blockages that are the foundation of all disharmony and “dis-ease.” Let go of judgment. Laugh when things go awry. When you are gentle with yourself, you naturally become gentle with everyone in your life.
2. Allow Gratitude to Be Your Constant Companion
The glass is never half-empty; it’s always full and overflowing. Life is constantly changing. Families grow and shift. Traditions evolve. Perceived setbacks and challenges move us into new opportunities for growth and a chance to rediscover what is really important. Our self-worth is not tied to the number of gifts we give, our employment status, or our personal relationships. This holiday season, allow gratitude to fill your heart even for the smallest blessings. Each morning for the rest of the holidays, stop and consider everything that is right with life rather than what doesn’t meet expectations—and your perception, attitude, and outlook will shift miraculously.
3. Help Others and Move Beyond Your Own Story
When we help others, we help ourselves. The fastest way to gain perspective and feel better about what is going on within our own lives is to help others. Extend your love and time to those in need. Be present with someone who has no one to share with. There is no greater satisfaction than helping a stranger. Be conscious of what is transpiring around you. You may be surprised at how many times you have the opportunity to give and grow. Remain connected to your heart and give that which has greater intrinsic value than the most expensive of trinkets. There exists an individual “out there” whose life will be inexorably changed because of your presence.
4. Give the Gift of Time
Consider giving the nontraditional gift of your time. Exchange time spent in long holiday shopping lines and instead spend that time connecting with someone. Pick up the phone and have a heart-felt conversation. Step away from the computer and pen a real note of love and gratitude. Make time to have tea or hot cider, or take home-cooked treats to someone who doesn’t get out often. Offer to watch a friend’s children so that he or she may have a few uninterrupted hours completely to themselves to rest and renew. Spend an evening with your own children—without the distraction of television and computers. Talk to your family as you prepare a meal together. Play an old-fashioned game. Hug your children and let them know how treasured they are in your life. Each person who receives the gift of your attention, open heart, and genuine insight will be touched by the gift of you.
5. Take Care of Yourself
When you give too much of yourself, at the expense of your well-being, you eventually pay a costly price. Before your reserves are empty, make some healthy choices. Prioritize what really needs to be done for the holidays and put your needs at the top of the list. Go outside for some sun and fresh air and move your body. Eat one holiday treat rather than the entire plate. Get to bed early. Lack of sleep increases the likelihood of stress and depression while getting enough shut-eye is the best prescription for feeling relaxed, looking great, and appreciating all that life has to offer in this moment. When you are well cared for, you are able to give much more to others.
6. Connect to Universal Presence
We’re not suffering from a lack of things; we’re suffering due to a lack of awareness of the divine presence in our lives. God, Universal Presence, the Divine, or whatever name feels right to you, is always right here, right now. Therefore, in each moment, you can access the fullness and perfection that you are, regardless of what is going on outside of you. In any given moment, you can return to the ever-present truth of the here and now, and discover that this moment is perfect and sacred just as it is. Take a moment to connect with your own presence. Receive the love, abundance, and support that are yours. After all, you are a vibrational being with infinite potential and every interaction leads you into a greater expression of your true self.