Wondering how you’re going to make it through a day of screwball family dynamics and holiday “cheer”? You’re not alone. This time of year can bring up a flurry of emotions, some ecstatic and some reminiscent of Chernobyl. Since the curve is broad, managing it all can be difficult. So, then how do we do this?
Taking an honest look at our expectations is a great start. We have them from our internal sources of desire as well as the implied expectations put upon us by the bottled cheer we see when we’re out in the world. It’s the holidays, we are supposed to be happy, right? Perhaps, but it doesn’t always go that way. We may find ourselves stuck sitting next to our biggest button-pusher, or suddenly engaged in a conversation about “what it was like” with a well-meaning member of the family. What’s important, at least for me, is the way in which to respond. It’s a great opportunity to be gentle with yourself in the face of adversity and a wonderful reminder to hold up those boundaries you may have set.
Something else that can be helpful is staying in the present moment. It’s easy to get locked into the stories of our past and sometimes difficult not to react to those echos. For me, setting an intention for my day, either in a quiet moment of meditation or in my yoga practice, is key. Sometimes it can mean acknowledging there may be difficulty, but finding a way to approach it differently; it could mean setting an intention to be kind to yourself and to approach others with compassion; or it could mean setting the intention to be in gratitude.
This holiday season, we have a wonderful opportunity to take contrary action and meet our pain with compassion, and our frustration with gratitude. Remember to laugh, take breaks, and enjoy each moment–you are amazing! As the Buddha said, “The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.”