Preparing for Holidays

I wanted to take this opportunity to wish each of you a peaceful and happy holiday.

At my age, I’ve learned to not ascribe too much meaning to holidays. That doesn’t mean I don’t celebrate, or that there isn’t meaning for me there, but rather that it’s just another day – and if I need to honor or celebrate the meaning behind the label, I can do that regardless of the day, or in a way other than is traditional.

I’ve also learned to prepare myself for holidays and other days when I will be with family members that push my buttons.  Even if I don’t have time for lots of quiet and meditation prior to a holiday, I can still do several “stopping meditations” throughout the days ahead.

A stopping meditation can be done anywhere at anytime, regardless of how busy we are.  It’s simply stopping whatever I am doing for just a moment and pay attention to one aspect of it for a few seconds out of the day, several times a day.  (I set my alarm on my cell phone to remind me).  It’s amazing how powerful those few seconds can be in calming and slowing my life down. It’s most powerful when used in conjunction with sitting meditation and/or walking meditation, where I deliberately take a walk, with the purpose of focusing on a specific experience.  But  when I don’t have the luxury of extra time, at least I know I can find serenity within the storm.

When I’ve been successful at slowing things down, I give myself more space to respond to people or events, rather that react impulsively.  I’ve found that when I’ve prepared in this way, even when a family member tries to get to me, I’m not as available for the fight. I have more capacity to make the choice not to involve myself.  (You can’t have a power struggle if both of you aren’t struggling!)  🙂 And, gratitude is much more accessible when I am in charge of the choices.

Regardless of how you do it, I hope you find peace, joy, freedom and gratitude wherever you are this week and in the weeks to come.