What is it that you want for Christmas? I want peace. Not world peace or political peace (I want that too) but peace within myself. I want to have a great few days without feeling crazy or disappointed if things don’t go as planned. And I want this peace to start immediately. I’ll tell you why.
Today I am distracted.
I have things to do.
I am trying to concentrate and my house is loud, my kids are home, there is stuff everywhere. I feel like the physical state of my house reflects the mental turmoil that is simmering, pushing against the walls of my consciousness, one minute away from busting through and creating drama and dissatisfaction.
I am second guessing the wisdom of waiting until the kids were home to do the Christmas baking, the wisdom of wrapping presents on the kitchen table so it would be easier on my back, the wisdom of choosing this week to run my 5 day challenge on Facebook.
But then I realize, this is how I always feel right before a big event. It’s not useful to blame the person I was last week, making all these decisions. She was doing the best she could. The truth is, maybe I don’t have to question the wisdom of all these decisions, maybe I can be so happy about them (I know this sounds crazy, even as I am writing it).
So here’s what I suggest, especially if you feel yourself getting wound up and crazed with ALL THE THINGS.
First, be where you are. Not sure what this even means? It’s really trying to constrain your thoughts and experience to what you are doing in the current moment, even if it’s vacuuming (which I probably won’t get to today). Dwelling on the past or thinking about the future, even the future of this afternoon, takes away the opportunity not only to enjoy what you are doing but to have peace WHILE doing it. We can’t change the past and if the immediate future holds something stressful,, thinking about it ahead of time just allows us to suffer twice.
This might be tricky for you to keep your thoughts with where you are. It is REALLY tricky for me today. But it uses the same basic principle of meditation, not to avoid distraction and empty your brain, but to kindly bring your brain back to an area of focus that you have chosen, often in meditation this is the breath, each and every time you get distracted. That’s what I am practicing here, bringing myself back to my writing and not thinking about the crumb cake I need to make and the kitchen I need to clean. The key is to bring your thoughts back to the present with compassion and not judgement. It’s not a “here I go AGAIN” energy, it’s a “come on back over here, love” energy. I’ve had to do it at least 3 times with this paragraph alone which is making me smile.
This idea of treating yourself with compassion is the second recommendation I have for this time. I love the concept of compassion, because it always makes me feel better, no matter the circumstance. Compassion is different from empathy which the Oxford dictionary defines as the ability to understand the feelings of another. It is different than pity which is the feeling of sorrow caused by the suffering or misfortune of another. Compassion is a combination of the understanding of the feelings of others and sorrow for their suffering, but its hallmark is the motivation to relieve that suffering. There are 2 life changing ways to use compassion right now, today, to feel peaceful.
Have compassion for the people around you, even the annoying lady yelling at the cashier in front of you or the sister-in-law who brought enough mashed potatoes to feed 2 people and not 20. Keep in mind that I am suggesting compassion because of what it will do for YOU (we are not talking about altruism here- that’s a topic for another day). Can you imagine what these people must be thinking or going through to do something so ridiculous? Can you try to understand what they are thinking or feeling? Can you be so grateful that whatever it is, isn’t happening in your life? Can you think about what you can do to make that better? Even if you do nothing, it will help dissolve your irritation.
Have compassion for yourself, I am not sure if this is easier or harder. Can you look at what you are feeling right now and feel compassion for your suffering (even if it’s of your own making) and be motivated to help yourself? Here’s a real life example.
You are running around trying to do all the things and feeling stressed. Can you have compassion for yourself that you are trying the best you can to do nice things for your family? Can you cut yourself a little slack that it may not be perfect, it may not all get done? What can you do to relieve your own suffering if this is the case? Can you stop for 5 minutes and have a cup of coffee and scroll Pinterest? Can you blast your favorite music from high school as you run errands? Can you try and keep your mind where you are? Here’s the real kicker, can you not judge yourself for being stressed? Can you avoid the phrase, “I should have”?
If this feels tough, know that I have compassion for you as you do all the things. I know that it’s all coming from a place of who you want to be in the world, and this is never a bad thing.
You’re doing a great job, even if it is messy.
Have a peaceful week, it’s all we really want after all.
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