I’ve read lots of articles and “pinned” lots of Pinterest pins about “reducing” holiday stress. Some of the common suggestions include: have a potluck, draw names for gift giving, have a homemade gift holiday, shop early, and/or eat lots of comfort food.
It’s clear that a lot of people are searching for something to make the holidays less stressful - or in some cases - bearable. In the past, I’ve heard friends and coworkers lament, “Why do we make such a big deal over this time of year?”
It’s a good question. The common answer, and the one I was taught in Sunday School as a child, is “It’s Jesus’ birthday.” I agree that’s one reason. I think another reason is that, despite the stress and the crazy families and the holiday sales, we all want deeper connection with the people we care about. I think that this burning desire for connection drives our need to continue the celebrations year after year.
I don’t think the answer lies in Pinterest pins or in comfort food. The answer is simple: we must find inner peace no matter what our circumstances. Practicing mindfulness is a great way to develop inner peace and hectic holidays are a great time to practice. Mindfulness means staying present in the moment: not depressed about the past, not anxious about the future.
You can work on being mindful with silent reflection or meditation. In the midst of crazy times, you can clear your mind by "taking a moment.” Take a deep breath and say silently, “This moment is all that I have.” Truly feel it. Feel how “completely gone” yesterday really is: like a candle flame snuffed out. Feel how intangible tomorrow actually is: like a beautiful painting not yet painted. This moment is all we ever have.
Affirmation: The present moment is all I have.
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