Oh Holy Madness

There are two things I’m sick of around the holidays. One, I’m not a fan of the over-marketed, consumer-hungry messages that are plastered everywhere, telling me that in order to have a happy holiday I need to give and receive lots of material things. Second to that are the exaggerated counter-messages that attempt to remind me that the holidays not about gifs and materialism. Both sides of the spectrum tend to leverage guilt and fantasies of what life “should” look like but never seems to turn out that way. 

If you’re looking to regain perspective this holiday season and live through it with less stress, more love and fulfillment, here are my few quick tips:

Don’t do anything till you know what you want. 

Now, I’m not talking about what you want for a gift. I’m referring to your genuine, honest desire. Many times in life we think we want something but that something is a cover for the authentic desire underneath it all. What do I mean? Well, let’s say you want your kids to get everything their little hearts’ desire.

You think you want that but what you really want is for your kids to feel loved, appreciated and affirmed. Because we all know that you can get your kids the perfect gift, only to have them express a level of disappointment, such as “that’s it?” or “I wanted to blue one…”.  

So before you make another move, get still. Recognize the underlying desires behind all the “things” you want. Some authentic desires may be to have peace, to fully embrace the season and take it all in or it may be to experience genuine connection with your loved ones. Once you know what you really want, then take a step forward. 

Nothing is worth your peace. 

Remember, nothing is worth your peace. If your inner peace is disrupted it won’t matter how perfect your menorah looks, how beautifully your house has a gentle glow from Christmas lights or how tasty the food is. Your peace of mind needs to be guarded as the top priority. That means you’ll have to let some things go. You may have to be quick to forgive the greedy person that cuts you in line or you may have to be ok with your sitter-in-law showing up an hour late, again. The thing about peace is that you can’t have it while holding any offense, judgment or selfish motives in your heart. If you feel your peace subsiding, you know something got in there doesn’t belong. 

Practice gratitude. 

Nothing sobers the mind better than giving thanks. In the midst of the craziness of rushing to shop, increased traffic and staying on top of the logistics, gratitude can help to quickly ground you when you find yourself sinking into frustration, despair and getting overwhelmed. If you don’t know where to start, start simple. Give thanks that you’re breathing, that your legs work, that you have family, that you have a house. When those don’t do the trick, go for the big guns — be grateful for your problems. This one will help ease any anxiety. When you begin to thank your problems for being there, they don’t know what to do except to start to transform into serving you. Another big gun is to reach out to those you love by calling or sending a quick text and thank them for being in your life. The giving of thanks to those closest to you will redirect your mind back on what really matters.