Holiday Tips to Keep You Centered

Do you actually enjoy this time of year? Like, really? The outer expectations in terms of what we have to do or how we’re supposed to feel rarely line up with inner realities. This dissonance can leave many feeling a little left-or-right-of-center; a position which makes peace, joy and grace pretty much impossible to cultivate. It's like having all the lights set up on the house or tree and only sticking half the plug into the outlet.

Whether you feel like the season’s unofficial cheerleader or the furry-green antagonist of Who-ville, here is some EdibleSpirit™ guidance to help you survive and thrive during the remaining weeks of 2015.

  1. Take back the time – This year’s Winter Solstice occurs at 11:48 PM EST on December 21st.  The sense of disconnection that so many feel at this time of year is partly caused by celebrating events around the Solstice instead of on the Solstice. While most of the holidays are scheduled based on some kind of obscure calendric calculation, the winter solstice is a visible, measurable phenomenon in the sky. It occurs at the moment the sun enters the zodiac sign of Capricorn and it marks the official beginning of Winter (in the Northern Hemisphere). You don’t need to be a boobie-bearing pagan ritualist to honor the moment, but in order to take advantage of this wonderfully energetic opportunity to pause and reflect… ya gotta do just that: PAUSE, and REFLECT. Wherever you may be, about 10 minutes before the solstice is exact - turn off the lights, turn off your phone, light a candle, and say something like “I (or we) now observe the winter solstice. I ask all of the most loving forces within me and me to draw close now, honoring the longest night of the year and the return of the light.”  Then watch the candle, think about or discuss the year that’s passed, make some notes in a journal, or meditate on the traits you are working to cultivate through the holidays. About 10 minutes after the solstice is over thank your self and the forces within and around you for the opportunity to pause, unplug and reflect. The profound alignment of this small meditation will greatly aid in offsetting any holiday negativity.
  2. Honor the Feels - The holidays tend to call up a particular cluster of emotions that pendulum between peppermint-scented cheer and bloated resignation. All the while the pressure to be full of joy and gratitude looms overhead like a giant radioactive elf. We can get so caught up in what we’re supposed to be feeling or doing that we end up completely disconnected from what we’re actually feeling or doing. You will make the whole ordeal way easier on yourself by honoring how you feel when you feel it.  All you need to do is make that connection by calling it out as soon as things start to pop off- Just stop. Take a deep breath. That alone is a revolutionary act during the holidays. Now, be honest. Make a statement of presence. “I’m feeling x,” Once that baseline statement is made it can be adjusted: “I’d like to feel more y,” or “I’d like to feel less z. Don’t worry about how you’re going to get there. The initial statement is what gets you centered in the present, and the adjustment equations are a great way of course correcting. 
  3. Don’t Be a Jerk – Remember that we’re all feeling the feels at this time of year - so if there’s ever a time to not be a total dick, it’s now. Don’t worry about what button your relative is pushing, you don’t need to win and you definitely don’t have to engage. If you get caught up in the drama of what they’re doing or feeling you’re focusing on THEIR center instead of your own. The best way to combat someone else’s crazy is to rise above it (see Honor the Feels). If transcendence is challenging in the midst of Holiday Chaos I recommend following three questions which seem innocent, but actually contain negativity neutralizing thought-bombs. They are: “What are you grateful for?”, “Who or what do you miss?”, and “What are you excited about in the coming year?” The holiday season is at least partially about gratitude, nostalgia and hope; present, past, and future. It’s ok to reflect on all these things around the holidays. Often times we just need permission to take that space. 

Please remember that each and every one of us is a beacon of light for those we love and who love us. Staying true to you is the best way to be there for them. Secure your own oxygen mask before assisting your beloved’s. Safe travels and happy homecomings.

With love and retro-big-bulbed-x-mas light,
MD