Holiday Thoughts and Contemplation

Autumn is nearly over, and the holidays are approaching once more. Holidays evoke different feelings for everyone. I was born on Thanksgiving Day, November 25th, and it’s always been a special day for me. When I was young, I found myself disappointed in how all holiday celebrations flowed.  We did not have a warm and fuzzy family. I found my pleasure in a day off from school, in the scents of holiday food cooking, in understanding that a kind word, a hug from my grandpa, time playing outside in the chilly air, was all I needed in order to feel grateful. I discovered that these were more precious than anything that came in a gift box. I learned to be grateful for the earth, the sky, the waters and the wind. I found my gratitude in the feelings of freedom and joy that I felt when outdoors…when the formality of the family holiday dinners and the intensity of the family dynamics ended, and my siblings and I could go outdoors.

Once Thanksgiving was over, and we entered the “holiday season,” my spirits plummeted. I have always wished that I could go to sleep the day after Thanksgiving and awaken the day after New Year’s! My heart could never reconcile with what’s become of the holidays. The meaning of the holiday somehow got submerged in the frenetic shopping ritual. It saddened me to see people spending more money than they had, creating stress for the entire year afterwards; children having far more than they needed, while others had nothing. I cherish the giving spirit, and how some people attend to others, giving time, money and gifts for those who are less fortunate.
Holidays can be a hard time for those who have suffered loss, are ill, feel alone, have difficult family situations, feel disconnected, or are in financial distress. Holidays can evoke feelings of sadness, isolation and pain in these and other difficult situations. Is there anything you can do to share with someone you know who may be suffering?

How do you spend your holidays? Do you exhaust yourself focusing on the shopping and the angst of figuring out what to buy? Do you spend more than you intended, and find yourself overwhelmed with post-holiday debt? Do you find yourself wishing the holidays were over? Do you feel connected, or do you feel lonely during the holiday season? Do you do things with love and good spirit, or do you groan and complain and feel miserable as you become overly busy and pressured?

How do you nurture yourself during the holidays? Do you take time for yourself to relax, to center, to regroup in between the tasks you feel you must accomplish? Are you able to find joy in a few moments of solitude, a warm bath or shower, time to read, listen to music, meditate, or simply sit and look out the window for a little while? Do you have patience with yourself and others, or do you get caught up in the frenetic energy in malls and other public places, without stopping to catch your breath? What is your holiday mode of operation?

If you are searching for ways to relax, Health Journeys has many guided imagery offerings for healing, for balance, for mindfulness, for spiritual growth and relaxation. I’ve created five journeys: Song of the Soul, Healing Circle, Gifts of Presence, Dancing in the Light, and Divine Alchemy, which assist you in connecting with your deepest self for healing and inner freedom. Each journey was inspired, and has been designed and offered with love. Each one is a wonderful gift which can help others, as well.

This year, there is a different energy. I hear people speaking thoughtfully about alternatives for the holidays…simpler, more down to earth celebrations, and conversations about generosity in the community and how to share joy with others. I see people recognizing that there is a world outside of themselves, and hear their desire to share gifts, from offerings of food, baked goods, and support, giving a neighbor rides to the store, or for medical appointments, or simply to get a housebound senior out for a ride in the Autumn leaves. This fills my heart with hope and joy for the holidays. The barriers are dissolving; the walls are coming down. The sense of Oneness is taking hold, and it is beautiful to behold. This is one of the precious gifts of the holiday season.

The song, Imagine, by John Lennon, resonates in my heart. During this holiday season, I contemplate these verses, and offer them as possibilities for focusing on relationships, communication, freedom from all the possessions that sometimes weigh us down, and above all, the peace that is everlasting, which is the most precious gift of all.
“Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one.”
John Lennon

May your holidays be filled with all that is important to you.
Love and gratitude,

Lynne Newman, M.P.S., Reiki Master Teacher
Spiritual Counselor/Healer