DEAR READERS: I want to wish you the happiest of holidays as we enjoy this special season.
Whatever your spiritual practice, this is the time that family and friends gather and share love, great food, gifts and connections. It is a time that many of us look forward to for months. We carve out space for being together.
And this year is especially important because many of us did not get together over the past two years due to the pandemic. We missed the heartfelt hugs, the hot cider, the plates piled high with once-a-year treats, the floor scattered with wrapping paper and discarded boxes.
Isn’t it fascinating how much more valuable we find moments to be when we have missed them? Every year since I moved away to go to college when I was 19, I have gone back home to Baltimore for Christmas. Even after I had my own family, my steps have always led me home. And the blessings are bountiful once I get there.
My mother, who shines in her bright red lipstick and matching red sweater, is 93 years old and still sharing her joy and exuberance with all of us. And now she has a 2-year-old great-granddaughter who reminds us that the legacy of family lives on. When we gather with my sister and her family and various cousins and friends, we relish the fact that we can be together.
What about you? What are your rituals? Are there special dishes that you prepare? Decorations that you put up? Calls that you make to connect with people who didn’t make the trip? What do you do during this season to access joy?
And what do you do to balance out any challenges that may arise? I ask that because negativity can be as plentiful as joy when loved ones get together. And I do not want you to find yourself stuck in a negative swirl that takes you back to your childhood. Resist going there. Instead, make the conscious decision to see through a joyful lens as you look out at your family and inward at your own life.
Whatever is going on — and right now people are going through a lot — don’t allow circumstances to drown out your joy.
Please know that how you react to the moment is what you have control over. So make the most of it. When you sense old feelings of insecurity, fear, frustration or even guilt bubbling up, take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to reset.
Remind yourself that you are not a child. You have the capability to look at a situation differently than you may have when you were young. You have the wherewithal to navigate anything that happens. You can be fully present and stay positive, even if someone starts pushing your buttons.
You can focus on the positive things that are surrounding you and refuse to fixate on the one challenge that is standing in your path. It is possible. Take a walk. Go in the bathroom and splash water on your face. Then go back out there and be your best self.
Give people a chance to be themselves as you do the same for yourself. Choose to have fun. Allow the blessings of the season to support you!
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to [email protected] or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)
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