The daily forces that make your life less than peaceful are magnified during the holidays. Holiday bustle is a nice way of referring to added stress, family conflicts, overeating, and enduring winter’s blast.
Yet if you can radiate peace, you will bring the joy and grace that the holidays are all about.
The first and most practical way to radiate peace is to remain open and mindful in your attitude. Here are four ways to do this.
1. Remain centered
The natural state of the mind is calm, quiet, and undisturbed. This fact gets lost under stress and forgotten when there is constant activity during the day. The return to being centered is simple, because you are aiding the mind’s natural tendency.
Don’t wait until you feel frazzled to regain your center. Make it a habit during the holidays, anytime you feel distracted or less than calm, to find your center again.
To do this, simply sit quietly by yourself with eyes closed. Take a few deep breaths, then place your attention in the heart area of your chest. Breathe naturally and let your attention rest on your heart. If your attention wanders, gently bring it back to your heart. Do this exercise for 5 to 10 minutes and repeat as needed during the day.
2. Take some bliss time every day
There is joy and bliss at the core of your awareness, but it is covered over by constant mental activity. Before you can follow your bliss, you must find it first. To find it, take some bliss time every day.
Bliss is easily triggered or sparked through memory. Sit quietly by yourself and take a few deep breaths. Recall something in your life that has brought you joy.
You might use a visual image, but the trigger might be music or recalling somebody saying, “I love you.”
Once you have your memory, put your attention on your heart. Feel the bliss as a sensation in your heart—it could feel happy, smiling, vibrant, warm, loving, a glowing of white light, or any combination of these qualities.
Don’t worry about how strong the sensation is. Even if it is just a glimmer, rest with it for 5 minutes. With practice your bliss moment will become more natural and stronger. But begin where you are; it will be the right place for you.
3. Put aside expectations
One of the prime causes of unhappiness is defeated expectations. Children expect to be happier during the holidays, and this expectation is not only powerful but a source of bliss for them. As adults, however, our holiday expectations have often been defeated.
Therefore, we enter the holidays expecting a repetition of old negative experiences. Sometimes it takes only the first sight of a difficult family relation to bring to mind all the misery of past holiday dinners.
This is where you need to stop allowing your memories to control you. As soon as you have a past image or thought that brings up negative associations, take a moment, close your eyes, and say to this phantom from the past, “I no longer need you.: Ask the image or thought to fade, and wait for a moment until it does.
This is one of the easiest and most practical ways to bring your mind back to the present moment, which is the only time that is real.
4. Don’t get put back in the box
When you see a friend or loved one, you automatically fall back on a default mindset. The simplest sight or sound of a person you feel connected to brings back the connection automatically.
But negative associations do the same thing. If you see an unpleasant relation at the holiday table, you put them back into the box of your mindset. Likewise, other people do the same with you.
No one likes being put back in the same old box. To stop this from happening to you, observe the following Dos and Don’ts:
- Give everyone a break—have the intention to let each encounter be fresh
- Make sure you are centered.
- Leave the room when stressful situations arise.
- Realize that everyone has a story, everyone believes in their story, and all stories ae equal. This maxim will help you when someone else disagrees with you or comes from a place you find hard to handle.
- Intend to be a source of peace and happiness in yourself.
- Let everyone feel that they are being heard by you.
- Bring up the past.
- Use the holidays to wrestle with relationship or family issues.
- Deliberately be a source or trigger of stress. This begins by not finding fault, reminding people of old bad memories, or joining in arguments.
- Pick sides.
- Play favorites.
Finally, and most importantly, see people for whom they are now. Don’t put others in a box, even in jest. People might smile, but everyone hates being seen only in terms of the past.
If you look upon the holiday season as a time to evolve personally, your attitude will bring out the best aspect of your desire for peace, harmony, love, and bliss. When you seek these qualities inside yourself, you will radiate peace in every situation you find yourself in. Peace on earth is achieved one person at a time, and the only person whose peace falls on your shoulders is you.