Remaining Centered in This Holiday Season

I have a confession.  I have become obsessed about our incoming government and what it might mean for our country.  If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you probably have figured that out, but you may also know that I try to live on my spiritual side as much as possible.  That has become more difficult since the election.  As I’ve struggled to get back to the routine that I know works for me, I have turned to authors who have always helped put things in perspective.  One of those is Neale Donald Walsch, so I have been re-listening to his book THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS.  One passage blew my mind because, even though we wrote it in 2013 (Nope, that wasn’t a typo. Get the book if you don’t understand), I identified with it NOW!  Following is my blog for this week where I explain what’s been rattling around in my head recently:

I usually try to align my message here with both the season and what is going on around us. Since it’s December, I want to address the stress we all feel this time of year.  But this year feels different. It seems that every day we wake up to something more outrageous and unbelievable.  Things are happening in our government and society that most of us never imagined possible in our country.  This engenders fear, because we humans tend to feel safer when everything stays the same.

It’s hard to get into the holiday spirit when so many frightening things are happening all around us and what used to be unacceptable behavior appears to have become the norm. Throughout daily life, most of us want to maintain a sense of calm, peace and connection with what we believe is at our core. We see ourselves as genuinely good people, who sometimes have difficult moments we have to manage. During those difficult moments, we want the best, but may be unsure how to produce that because this is all so unprecedented.

We want to be able to continue with our life goals and work that has meaning for us without interruption. And we want to celebrate and acknowledge the meaning the holidays have for us. But how can we remain centered when so-called “real life” tends to get in the way? Typically those times of “real life” include getting caught up with paying the bills, meeting the deadline, taking care of ourselves and others, keeping all those balls in the air. . ,

But recently, we have the added concern about the impending differences in how our society will proceed, which directly effects each of us in very real ways, regardless of whether we wanted a change or not.  I’m not saying there weren’t changes that were needed – and shaking things up a little here & there can be good (with a plan); but we’re looking at an about-face that is at the heart of who we’ve always been as a people.

For many, (some of this is from Walsch & some is from my clients) it feels like utter disaster (possibly a  global crisis) is on the horizon, and our entire system is about to collapse; life is an unending struggle; things will only get worse and we won’t be able to survive any of this and be happy again. We are deeply immersed in this view of life.  Even those of us who have typically been optimistic, have gravitated toward this perspective.

So how can we stay centered when something so huge becomes the obstacle? Some say God is the answer, but then they insist on making God an angry, violent and vindictive diety; which gives them a perfect rationale for themselves to be angry, violent and vindictive with others. (Neale Donald Walsch)  Others say there is no such thing as God, hence there is no source to guide us through any of this, so we’re each on our own to do the best we can with what we have.  These are the extremes.  Of course there are others who put their trust in a God/Source and feel comfort from that.

But regardless of our beliefs, the answer is that we need to return to that place within, that we have each found when we were meditating, praying, listening to or performing music, working out, playing with our children – whatever it is for each of us that gets us into that place of well-being.

In my blog a couple of weeks ago I explained stopping meditations; where we trigger ourselves to stop whatever we are doing several times a day for just a minute, to get out of our heads and into the moment.  That’s one way to take us back to that place.  Another is sitting meditation, walking meditation, anything we can do to get the focus out of our heads for a bit. The purpose of any meditation is not to just clear the mind of thoughts, but to put our attention elsewhere – our breath, an object on our desk, a flower, a burning candle – anything that can relieve the tension, if even for a moment.

So when things feel so out of whack like they have lately, there is one thing that works for me to put it in a framework that makes more sense. I step back and try to view this life from the perspective of looking down on the whole picture, as if it were a small ant community – where I  (the observer) can see it all playing out and recognize that when the ants appear to be stuck, it’s just tiny pebbles that are in their way.  They probably seem like huge boulders to the ants, just like my problems feel like the end of the world as I know it.

According to Neale Donald Walsch in THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS, it really is a gravitational force that pulls us downward.  When we get caught up in this mindset, we really do feel the gravity of the situation and all we can see is the “grave” nature of what we assume to be our only possible future.

Here is a quote from Walsch that gives me hope:

“. . . you can choose not to gravitate, but to elevate. You can choose to elevate your thinking, elevate your declarations, and elevate your expectations through elevation of your inner self to your Eternal Awareness, where you clearly see what Consciousness is placing before you. And you see it not as the end of anything, but as the beginning of everything. Certainly, of everything that really matters. For even if the whole of our exterior world does “fall apart”—which is not going to happen­—even if our economic systems totally collapse, and our political systems completely cave in, and our religious systems suddenly dissolve, and even if every social system utterly disintegrates, there will still be us. And, fascinatingly, we will no longer be separated, because we will all be in the same boat. With the disbanding of our systems will come the disbanding of our separations. No longer will we see each other as rich or poor, no longer will it matter if we are Democrat or Republican, no longer will the labels conservative or liberal, Christian or Jew, Muslim or Hindu have any separating power. It won’t matter if we are black or white, gay or straight, male or female, young or old … and we will see, actually—finally see—that all these “systems” we had put in place to make it a better world did nothing but separate us. So all that would happen is that our artificial differences would dissolve, our separations would disappear, our imagined “superiority” would be laughingly discarded, and our inability to compromise on even the smallest things would instantly evaporate as we all strived together to build a newer world”.

Walsch goes on to give a list of 10 aftereffects that (I’m trying to summarize an extensive list here) end separation, discrimination and environmental destruction, bring an acceptance of a limitless equality and raise all of us to the highest expression of Self.  I know –  this may be too idealistic for you, and I have no doubt it would take much longer than the next 4 years to accomplish (which is not something any of us want to consider right now)! But for me, it does generate some peace to conceptualize what we are dealing with in this way.

So as we go into our holidays in the next couple of weeks, I will still maintain my vigilance in doing my part to prevent destruction of our democracy by calling my representatives and to help keep others aware of things they might not see on network news.  But I am also committing to keeping these concepts in mind in order to remain in the spirit of connection to every person with whom I agree on political specifics  – but even more to strengthen a connection to those with whom I do not agree.  I will consistently revisit my methods of going back to that place of peace within the storm, as I keep in mind what the upcoming holiday means for me.

It may seem like a stretch, but I hope this blog might help you re-examine your perception and enable you each to remain in the spirit of connection and love as well.  Remember, we’re all in this together, regardless of our beliefs, our lifestyles or how we look. I wish you each a tranquil holiday season.

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now. Love mercy now. Walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.  

-The Talmud