“If you think you’re enlightened go spend a week with your family” Ram Dass
Tis the Season — don’t fight it! Lower your resistance and get more out of it!
My favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, is here and this heralds the many ends of year celebrations we can enjoy.
But despite the good cheer, goodwill towards others, and copious amounts of food and alcohol consumed from now until after the New Year, the holidays can also be a stressful time.
Beyond gorging and imbibing too much, spending too much time with estranged family or stranger relatives in crowded conditions may cause people to regress and act in ways they would rather not. We may fight with each other, try and force things to be something other than what they are. We resist what is, we struggle to make things conform to our ego rather than appreciating the beauty that is inherent.
Resistance steals energy away from us and our loved ones.
Luckily there is a recipe I developed that may help you thrive and not just survive this holiday season. We can lower resistance by adding more of the four Flowgates from my book Let Go, Let It Flow and these are:
Presence, Acceptance, Thankfulness, and Helping
Why these “ingredients” are important and how to cultivate these in your life is as follows:
- Presence: How are you showing up, are you really here? Or are you fixated on some past wrong or are you worried about some future event? In either of these cases, your mind is elsewhere and you are diverting energy away from the present moment. To be fully present we must care for and attend to our bodies, minds, and spirit. Our physical well-being is the cornerstone of being present, so we need to be mindful of our sleep, diet and amount of exercise. Masking difficult emotions with too much food and drink does not change the reality of things. In fact, often this makes you suffer as a result. Peace and contentment are available to us at any time. We can connect more fully with our source by doing the following:
- Practice Box Breathing: My favorite breathing technique. Brings about a calming responses and allows your mind to focus on your breath
- Take a walk outside: Connect with mother nature and experience the immense living world that resides outside of your home. Get some sunlight and breath in the fresh air.
- Drink Plenty of Water: Our bodies are mostly water and we often we do not drink our recommended 8-12 cups of water per day.
- Acceptance: Instead of wishing you were someplace else, embrace where you are and who you are with. Suspend your desire to judge – either yourself or others. Releasing the judging nature further frees us up to more fully experience the present moment. Notice emotions without reacting to them. A couple of techniques to cultivate Acceptance are:
- Journal – spend some time each day with a journal and just write whatever comes into your head.
- Name it – If you are experiencing an emotion, observe this to yourself as it is happening. Like watching a movie, your experience of emotion is putting on a show for you. Give it a name and then watch it fade away. It may come back for many sequels but likely not as strong a showing.
- Thankfulness: Expressing gratitude can allow you to transcend an ordinary experience. Life is a gift and the fact that we are alive is cause for celebration. When we are grateful we can’t feel angry or scared. We are open and receiving to the flow of life. My mainstays for cultivating an attitude of gratitude are:
- 5-Minute Journal: A simple, well-designed app that allows you to record 3-things that you are grateful for – with entries in the morning and evening if you wish. A print version is also available but I prefer the app as my phone is usually with me.
- Blessings Before Dinner: Whether with family or not. I stop myself before eating and give thanks for the nourishment I am about to receive.
- Helping: Suspending our ego and serving others is the ultimate flowgate. We lose our selves in thinking of others’ needs and then taking action. During the Holidays, instead of getting caught up in consuming and materialism, donate more of your money to worthwhile causes or better yet, volunteer say serving food at a homeless shelter. If you need help finding a worthwhile cause or want to be sure that your resources are being best utilized, here are some ideas:
- Donors Choose: Help make a difference to students by supporting their classroom needs. Helping the next generation is a great way to put your altruism into action and make the world better.
- Crowdrise: An online platform that leverages social networks. You can create and fund your own cause.
- Charity Navigator: A site that provides rankings and information on charities in terms of effectiveness and financial management.
By opening up the 4-Flowgates we are simultaneously lowering our resistance. We allow life to flow more freely and we have more energy as a result.
Enjoy this season, love your family and friends and cherish the “small moments” that this wonderful time of the year affords us.
Wishing you and yours – Peace, Love, and Joy!