Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Mindful Holiday

I think this time of year is really a challenge for us working to remain mindful moment to moment. It is filled with distractions: bad weather, travelling, family visits, events, shopping. Our stress level goes up as the days to Christmas shrink. On one hand, it is filled with demands and pressures, memories (good and bad), warring and shifting emotions; it is our normal life plus a bunch of other stuff added on. On the other hand, because this time presents us with so many circumstances that aren't part of our every day life, it also presents an incredible opportunity to tune in to what is happening, just now.

One of the major obstacles to remaining mindful is habit. We all have our daily routine, and go about our life for the most part on autopilot. This time of year, our autopilot just can't keep up; that's why we get stressed out. So, there are incredible opportunities to embrace our life, rather than unconsciously check out, push it away.

For myself, I love lights. I can just stop and breathe and look at the lights and appreciate the color, pattern, background, setting, and know the joy of that moment. At our house, we have just one string of lights over the front porch, but in our forest setting away from other houses, it is marvelous. If I remember to stop and just enjoy.

So find things to stop and notice; look for the little things that you might otherwise pass by in all the busy-ness of the season. Take a breath and really observe; look, listen, taste, smell, and feel. Just this, just now.

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