One step inside any store in the United States this time of year is guaranteed to send you into sensory overload. This is what advertisers work on all year…the end product of their formula is to get you to buy. They accomplish this by overwhelming your senses and thus activating your primal brain.
When you operate from your primal brain, you step out of conscious choice and move into reacting – otherwise known as survival mode. The constant pop up ads (like the annoying kid that will not leave you alone when they sense you are overtired) bombard us with their relentless pleas until they get what they want. Their mission is to wear you down, slowly but surely disconnect you from your logical self. The self knows they are full of shit and you have enough…that you ARE enough. They get what they want and you are left to pick up the pieces.When you operate from your primal brain, you step out of conscious choice and move into reacting - otherwise known as survival mode. Click To Tweet
When you hang out in the reactionary part of your brain too long you start to make decisions that aren’t sound or based on your own value system. As much as the songs say this is the happiest time of year, it is not uncommon that people feel particularly sad, lonely and disconnected this time of year.
The following THREE RITUALS are guaranteed to get you back into the driver’s seat of your life, allowing you to reclaim you and create a holiday that is meaningful, intimate and filled with a deep sense of connectivity. Because the advertisers are working overtime, you will need to up your game and work a bit harder this time of year to move from your primal/reactionary brain to the part of your brain that allows you to make conscious choices. Just like regular physical exercise increases your energy levels, operating in a place of present moment awareness saves you time.
Tools you will need:
- A personal growth and/or spiritual book(s) that will be a supportive read this time of year
Go to the library, to your local bookstore, or online and choose what captures your interest.
- A journal and pen/pencil or, if you prefer, a device that you can carry with you throughout the day
1. Start the day in silence and design your day
Yes, this might mean getting up a half hour earlier than you typically do. But, I promise you, in the end, you will be gaining time. Claim at least a half hour and know you will benefit that much more if you claim an hour.
5 to 15 minutes of meditation:
If you don’t know how to meditate, no worries. Two Apps that people often find helpful are Headspace and Insight Timer. They are free and take you through a guided meditation. I am sure there are a ton more. Experiment and choose what speaks to you. And of course, when in doubt, YouTube is often a fabulous tutorial.
10 minutes to 15 minutes of reading:
Not just reading, but contemplative reading from your chosen book!
10 minutes or more of journaling:
For the first few days or week play with your dream holiday and allow for fantasy.
Maybe a deceased relative is alive, you are a billionaire and a well-known philanthropist or you really do hang out with Santa. Pretend that time and resources are not a concern and allow your imagination to fly!
After a few days, morph the writings of your ideal holiday into being more reality-based.
What type of holiday would bring you peace? Do you want to incorporate a spiritual/religious tradition? Is there a holiday ritual that makes your heart sing? Is there a new tradition you want to create? A certain movie to put on your list that brings back lovely memories? Do you have a holiday budget? What would be a meaningful gift to give someone? Who is on your list? What do you want to wear for the holiday party this year? Do you want to go to a holiday party this year? Do you want to host one? Do you want to send holiday cards this year? What do you want to say yes to? No to? What do you need to keep you peaceful and easeful?
Revisit your dream holiday daily and see how you might incorporate the dream into reality.
Perhaps it might be having a picture of your deceased loved one in a special place with a candle next to the photo and you light it each morning during your contemplative time. Although you might not be a billionaire, perhaps you choose a specific charity that tugs at your heart and you set aside a certain amount of money every day until a few days before your holiday and send it to them. Maybe you write a letter to Santa and send it to the north pole (seriously Santa’s address is online!), take a photo with Santa at the mall or even buy a Santa suit and play Santa for children in need. Our dreams/fantasies/imagination embody our core values. Listen to them.
Write an intention for your day.
Intentions are goals with a gentler twist. They are things you want for yourself…intend for yourself…strive for. Something that keeps you focussed. It can be broad or detailed. For example, my intention is to be present today. My intention is to embody love and peace. And more specifically…my intention is to reach out to three friends today and tell them I love them. My intention is to work out today. My intention is to refrain from sugar today.Intentions are goals with a gentler twist. They are things you want for yourself...intend for yourself...strive for. Click To Tweet
2. Have a contemplative lunch date with yourself…once a week
Claim ten minutes to a full lunch hour and spend it alone. Check in with yourself.
Where are you now? How has the week been? How are you feeling? Review your intentions. What is working? What’s’ not working? What do you need? If you choose to dine alone, consider reading some excerpts from your personal growth book. Or take yourself on a date…Perhaps visit a gallery close to work, go for a brisk walk, take yourself to a festive dinor for lunch. Maybe create a lovely healthy lunch the evening prior.
3. End the day in silence
Pull out your journal and write the top three things you are grateful for.
Create a technology-free zone for one hour prior to going to bed. Consider leaving your phone/computer in another room. Review your day. What worked? What didn’t work? What brought you joy? What did you learn about yourself? What took you away from the easeful/peaceful feeling? How can you feel more prepared tomorrow?.
Read your chosen book(s) for at least ten minutes. Lights out.
As the weeks roll on notice the impact. Does this season feel different? Do you feel more connected to yourself? Others? Do you feel more grounded? Do you feel like you are in back in the driver’s seat? Making conscious decisions that feed you…nourish you?
The world needs more of you. An authentic you. A peaceful you. A mindful you. You are a gift to the world. May you honor that gift intimately this holiday season and cherish, adorn and savor YOU.