That Holiday FeelingBy Suzi Korsak
December 24, 2011
Do you suffer from the holiday blues? Read on to see how the six steps of Inner Bonding will help you find your source of the blues and loving direction to find your way to joy!
Leading sources of the holiday blues are:
- Unrealistic Expectations
- Financial Stress
- Inability to be with one's family and friends
The other night after dinner we were all sitting around the counter when my daughter said "I have a heavy feeling and I'm not sure where it is coming from" and turned to my son and I, as my son chimed in "me too" and they both looked at me. I was aware I had been feeling very tired lately and had chalked it up to the early dark nights. I could feel the heavy feeling, and none of us could come up with the source....so we decided to let it go and watch a movie. The awareness was enough for me to ask, but compassion allowed me to give the space needed to be open to the information.
The next couple of days I noticed I wasn't happy, the kids were in their old habits of sleeping all day and up all night chatting with each other and friends. I was feeling the loneliness and heartache of what felt like "missed connections" with my kids. I became aware that be it the holiday, or be it that I hadn't seen them in months, I had great expectations for our reunion. I had plans for baking cookies, dinners together and shopping. I found myself doing all these things alone, not even thinking that it was bothering me. I was telling myself that I had no control over their choices, yet I wasn't fully expecting or accepting their choices. This was my contribution to the source of the heaviness in the house.
Unrealistic expectations invade our beliefs about how family gatherings should look like, purchasing the "perfect" gifts, the added financial stress on an already stressed budget, work keeping us from parties and gatherings add unnecessary stress. Just turn on the television and it reminds us that there are so many days, hours and minutes until Christmas, leaving us feeling we need to pick up just one more thing. The idea that we can never do enough for those that we love. The problem is we are hypnotized into thinking that it comes in the form of material goods, that somehow we are not enough.
After moving into Step One of Inner Bonding, moving into my body for feelings and sensations...I discovered a heavy feeling accompanied by the blues. I was very aware that this feeling was familiar. It was the holiday and as I moved into Step Two, I decided that I wanted to learn about why this was such a familiar and accepted feeling for the season. Step Three - I became aware of the expectations in the form of a "to do" list I had given myself every year. As I asked into the feelings for the information I received this answer "and you put your focus on everyone else's happiness as if you were the source" and "you don't pay attention to how all those expectations leave you feeling lonely and heartbroken." Oh my goodness I thought, how could I still be unaware of this fantasy, why was I still making my actions the source of other people's happiness...most notably my children. I moved into Step Four and asked my guidance the truth in these beliefs. Guidance answered "You expect people to magically be cooperative during the holidays, and don't see things and people as they are....why not choose what really brings you joy and share that with your friends and family?......isn't that what you were doing when you made the cookies?"
I listened to this and realized that most of the time I was choosing what I loved, but at times took it up a few notches trying to meet my unrealistic expectations, thinking I could never do enough or be enough to let people know how I cared. "Ouch"....I was doing it again.....but this time with awareness and compassion for the part of me still on automatic pilot for the season. The new awareness allowed the space to feel the feelings of heartbreak and loneliness, more of my own creation than my circumstances. Which again gave me hope, if I was causing most of the pain and stress...I was the one to bring me out.
I could then ask my Guidance, "What is a loving action that I can take?" and I discovered the first was to have awareness with compassion, allow myself to feel the heartbreak and loneliness of my choices. I could also embrace the heartbreak of not having the connection I had expected with my children. The next was to choose to let go of wanting to be "perfect" in my gift giving, my holiday preparations and letting go of the idea that I was the source of happiness and unhappiness for anyone but me.
As I embraced my feelings with compassion, and let go of expectations the heaviness dissipated and I noticed small shifts in the children's schedule and willingness to hang out in the kitchen as I baked. I moved back into my joy, aware that if the joy or peace wasn't present I had slipped into a different intention than to be loving. So far....in my evaluation of Step Five for Step Six....I am feeling the peace of awareness, it is so much more peace to know what is behind my blues than to just chalk it up to "this is what happens this time of year" as if it is something that happens to me rather than something that I have been participating in for years. I can choose to operate differently this season and find my peace and joy.
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Pain and joy are in the same place in the heart. You cannot put a lid on pain without putting a lid on your joy as well. Are you opting for the flatness of the illusion of safety, or are you willing to experience both the lows and the highs of life? Today, cry and laugh with your whole heart.
By Dr. Margaret Paul