Reclaim Christmas for your Soul!By Sylvia Poareo
December 05, 2008
Do you sometimes feel like you can't get into the joy of Christmas? Does Christmas bring back too many bad memories or overwhelming feelings? By recognizing and responding with compassion, you can free yourself to reclaim the spirit of Christmas!
Emotional triggers and wounded thinking can get in the way of our truly enjoying the holiday season. With awareness, compassion and loving action, we can reclaim Christmas from our past, and revel in the many gifts the season offers our souls.
Recognizing and Healing Grief
This time of year is very challenging for many because it stirs up the grief of our childhood. The messages touting the ideals of Christmas (joyful family get togethers, peaceful relationships, celebrations, gifts from loved ones, etc.) can point us starkly to what we did not experience growing up. Christmas may not have been a 'happy time' due to family dysfunction, financial stress, and /or specific traumatic events that occurred. Or we may grieve the memories of holidays shared with loved ones who are no longer physically with us. It is helpful to recognize that this is grief and make time and space to be with your soul, allowing the grief to flow and release.
I used to be very triggered into grief when I saw how others took for granted that they would be celebrated, watching friends open gifts from their parents or hearing of sweet family traditions. I would go find a quiet space, usually a bathroom, and just let my little girl cry, while I held her and brought Spirit in. Even though you may need to do this many times, you will soon become familiar with the process of being present, honoring the grief and watching it wash away, like a wave crashing.
Sometimes, you may also need to have a safe place or safe people with whom you can share your grief. The grief of the past melts away as you hold onto your child and listen to her experience, then take loving action to give him/her the love she needs.
Releasing Wounded/Limiting Thinking
On an internal level, there may also be sadness because our wounded thoughts keep us from celebrating the joy of the season. These may be false beliefs that limit our joy such as: “I don’t deserve to be celebrated” “I don’t have _________ in my life, so I can’t be happy” “There isn’t enough love, joy, peace, ________ to go around.”
Or they may be ‘wounded’/controlling thoughts specifically about Christmas. “Christmas is a holiday for money making” “Christmas is an ideal I can never live up to” “How can we celebrate when there are people starving in the world?”
For many years, I scorned the consumerism of Christmas based on what I feel, are valid concerns about exploiting people and our world. But I was throwing the baby out with the bathwater. From this wounded state my energy was so oppressive and controlling. My soul was sad and did not have a connection to the Joy of Christmas.
These thoughts are normal thoughts of our wounded self who would not know the love and joy in Christmas if never fully experienced. It is essential to move into Compassion first. Then, instead of being this wounded child holding onto the pain of the past, reconnect to Loving Adult presence with Spirit, in the NOW. In this moment, you can bring in Truth and Love and celebrate the power you have to transform your experience of the holidays.
I moved from being the wounded little girl that never got Christmas and does not know how to make it blessed, to being the Loving Adult who embraces my child and says “Christmas is wonderful. Let’s celebrate! Tell me what would bring you Joy?” Together with Spirit, I have learned to celebrate her and embrace the deep love and joy within and around us, that Christmas calls us to remember.
I still do not engage excessively in the consumerism, but now it’s from a lighter place of joy and delight in the way it reminds me to celebrate the priceless aspects of Christmas: sharing love, peace, joy, compassion, and being truly present within and with each other.
Imagine yourself holding your inner child’s hand as you walk through the streets, taking in the love and light that Christmas holds. Drinking in the light displays, seeing the beautiful decorations, feeling the excitement in your community, celebrating the magic of Santa, the meaning of Jesus, reconnecting to light and so on! Though he/she may not have had parents in the past who could show her this beauty and magic, he/she can now.
Honor the grief of not having the Christmas your soul longed for and look at how to create it for yourself now. I have learned that my soul has many ideas of how to feel the blessedness of this the season. She loves to sing and dance to Christmas songs, make decorations from nature, gather with friends and family in meaningful ritual, and simply bask in love and light with my (outer) children, to name a few. What is your soul’s Christmas bliss? Follow it and make this Christmas yours!
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Today, notice what you do when pain comes up - especially the pain of loneliness and heartache when someone is being unloving with you. Do you get irritated, angry or judgmental? Do you resist or withdraw? Do you people-please and give yourself up? Do you numb out with food or other substances, or with activities such as TV? Notice the ways you might be avoiding your feelings rather than compassionately attending to them.
By Dr. Margaret Paul