It was 2010 and I was ridiculous that holiday season. It was my first holiday in my new house and I decided that one real Christmas tree was not enough – I had to have two. A white pine in the dining room for the beautiful aroma and a Douglas Fir for the traditional Christmas tree decorating in the living room.
I had the outside decorated and had started my holiday food prep the first week of December. Between shopping, cooking, decorating, holiday parties, and the general busyness at work, the month flew by and come January 2nd I was exhausted.
That was the last year I decided to “do” Christmas. Ever since then I have chosen to “be” in the month of December.
Here is what I love about the gift of Mindfulness. Mindfulness shows us that most people are constantly “doing”, which means we are thinking or acting or somehow being distracted from the present moment.
To “be” is to literally just be in that moment. To pause and take a breath. To bring attention to your sense, what you are hearing, seeing, smelling, touching and tasting. It gives the gift of being in the moment and truly appreciating the experience as it is happening.
A regular Mindfulness practice has helped me become aware of my human tendency to “do” and gives me the chance to pause, “be” and appreciate.
Sometimes this “being” lasts for a few moments (sitting at traffic light and seeing the beauty in the trees around me) and other times I can bring this “being” state for many moments in a longer period of time (perhaps mindfully enjoying a meal with a good friend– bringing my attention to the tastes of the food and how I am feeling emotionally during that lovely connection).
It is now December 4th and I am in my fourth year of “being” during the holiday seasons instead of “doing”. This doesn’t mean I have given up all traditions, but it does mean that I have taken some time to reflect upon what is important to me, which is connecting with family and friends and telling them how I feel – because lets face it, we can give all the material gifts we want, but telling someone you appreciate them or care about them is the best gift that can be given.
The holidays are no longer stressful and I see each day in the month of December as a chance to be a present as possible.
My gift to you is a simple, yet powerful, five minute guided mindfulness meditation. You can download it to your phone and listen to it whenever you feel your holiday stress building up – maybe once a day, or maybe five times per day.
If you know someone who may benefit from this, feel free to tweet/facebook/email them the link here.
I hope you have the opportunity to “be” during your holidays – if only for a few moments at a time.
And true to my word…. I also appreciate and am truly honored that you are part of my community.
My best to your and yours this holiday season!
Have fun and be safe:)