5 Steps to Surviving the Holidays (with an open heart)
The holidays are a polarizing time for many of us - and can be a quite challenging period to stay connected to our loving, present, best selves in the face of family drama, pressures and forced festivity.
Here is my quick guide to keeping your heart open and warm at this time (and any time) of year:
Step 1: Prepare yourself first. Before charging into a tense or (in)tense holiday gathering, take a few minutes to breath, center and set an intention. Build an imaginary energetic bubble that will protect you from negativity. Ideally, engage when you're feeling rested and in choice.
Step 2: Practice generating a warm, connected feeling in your heart. You can practice this alone or with strangers or people you already feel connected to by letting your heart smile when you see them or bringing their face to mind and feeling your heart open. I like to focus on compassion when dealing with individuals that challenge me: Remembering that they too suffer and want to be free from pain. Mantras are really helpful, such as "You matter. You are important to me. I want you to be happy."
Step 3: Work at your capacity. We all have situations and individuals that aggravate and irritate us and knock us out of balance, disturbing an otherwise peaceful mind and heart. The holidays can put us smack dab in the center of our Mount Everest of disturbance, so work at your capacity. Engage only so long as you can stay peaceful. Excuse yourself to the bathroom to take deep breaths, or leave the gathering early to get back to center.
Step 4: Set boundaries. Open heartedness is not a carte blanche for being a doormat, or letting people and patterns that are unhealthy for you run the show. Practice loving the people you are around AND standing up for yourself, walking away or saying no. Know your own limits them and honor them while keeping others in a positive light.
Step 5: Send yourself love and compassion. This work is hard, and yet using our holiday gatherings as a chance to practice compassion, patience, love and connection inside ourselves - regardless of the external happenings - is the best gift of all. Give yourself ample time to recover and acknowledge small wins and the progress as you shift and change.
Wishing you strong open hearts this holiday season.