Mindfulness truly is a way of living more than simply a practice or intervention. Though reaching a heightened state of awareness allows for acceptance and value in the present, it isn't always the easier or most accessible route in every-day living, especially if you're just starting out in your journy toward mindful living. Unfortunately, the holiday season has become known for obligation and speedy chaos almost as much as, if not more than, the spiritual context and/or connecting with others in a positive and meaningful way. Thankfully, this interpretation of holidays is just that, an interpretation. We have a choice in how we perceive Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, etc. (my apologies if I've left anyone out). Rather than placing emphasis on getting or recieving the perfect gift, insisting that others celebrate or recognize this time of year the way we do, or desperately trying to fit in all the family members so not to upset them, I challenge all of us to simply be in the moment and enjoy the present. Whatever this season means to you, even if it has no significance, allow yourself to be open to enjoying and being thankful for what you do have, whom you can see, and what you're able to do. This shift from what's missing to what's here will free you up to really enjoy yourself and others.
Again, being mindful is a wonderful concept that we would all benefit from seeking; however, let's acknowledge the difficulty. The reality is that most of us will receive pressures from families of origin, in-laws, children, friends, employers, etc. Many of us will also feel the pressures of facilitating the "perfect" holiday for our families. Thanks to Hallmark channel, and others like it, which frequently air shows of how the man or woman with a dysfunctional family turns everything around by returning to their hometown to rekindle an old flame and have the perfect Christmas, many people strive to live vicariously through the ideals of these TV movies. What a great aspiration, but what's wrong with finding what works in our own lives in the here and now?
Take the opportunity to give yourself and others around you the gift of mindful living. It will be the best gift you've ever received, as well as the gift that keeps on giving. You can even make it the New Year resolution that you actually keep, and it's free. Below, I have provided a link to an online mindfulness course. Do youself the favor of checking it out and actively participating. Putting off good intentions only hinders the intention from becoming a reality. Please accept my generalized wishes for Happy Holidays, not to leave out any spiritual or religious beliefs, but rather to include them all.
UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center: http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=112