How do you celebrate the winter holidays? For many of us it's a time to get together with loved ones...eat, drink, and make merry...give and receive presents with joy...take a vacation to a special getaway...meditate on the spiritual significance of the season...entertain loved ones in our homes.
And, typically, it's a time to entertain other not-so-well-loved ones...thoughts like:
"I can't afford Christmas (Chanukah, Kwanzaa, a winter vacation) this year."
"The holidays are so depressing."
"My brother gives chintzy gifts to my kids."
"If s/he really loved me s/he'd know that what I wanted was a (insert ideal gift that you didn't receive here)."
"Thanksgiving is cultural propaganda."
"I should have more 'Christmas spirit.'"
"There's too much rich food (too much alcohol), I'm going to gain weight (fall off the wagon)."
"I have no one to kiss on New Year's Eve and it means that...."
"Oh, God, not another business luncheon."
"I'll never get all my shopping (cooking, housecleaning, holiday cards) done."
"I have to make and stick to my New Year's resolutions."
When we attach to thoughts like these, the holidays become the "hellidays." The end of the year is a great time for self-inquiry, as holiday thoughts rise to the surface like whipped cream in the eggnog.
Lost your job and your huge family expects to exchange gifts with you? Inquire: what's the worst that can happen if you cut back this year? Think your yearly bonus wasn't enough? Is it not enough in reality? You should not be depressed, is that true? How do you treat yourself when you attach to that belief...and how does this help to alleviate your depression? Don't want to take your mother to church this year? Judge your mother, write it down, ask four questions, turn it around. The holidays are too commercial? Try this turnaround: "My thinking is too commercial." Can you find three ways that this is equally true, or even truer?
The gift of self-inquiry costs nothing, knows no season, and you can give it to yourself, whenever you like and wherever you are. The result? Peace on earth.
©2006 by Carol L. Skolnick. All rights reserved.