The Present

The lights are gleaming. The music is playing. The food is baking. It’s wonderful to soak in all the wonder and beauty of this holiday season. It’s also an unintentional training ground. A training ground for you to practice a calming, deeper peace. Old wounds may try to fester. Old hurts may be triggered. Let’s challenge ourselves to turn this from an unintentional training ground to an intentional training ground. I want to empower you with a few mindful techniques to guide you through the season’s uncertainties and to help you enjoy being present. 

While there are various, underlying reasons that family gatherings may be complicated, I want you to approach the gathering by focusing on being present. Maintain the goal of keeping yourself centered and allowing yourself to shift your perspective. Each person is on their own journey and, at times, some do not have the capacity to find peace. Do not let this deter you from finding appreciation and value in the season.  
 
When we begin reliving past moments, words spoken, and distressing circumstances, we remove ourselves from the here and now. We lose our center. As family and friends gather, take the time to practice your breathing. Adjust your posture by maintaining your confident position. Allow your body to return to the moment you are in and not moments of the past. Centering yourself gives you the ability to empower yourself. Centering enhances your clarity and allows you to see yourself through seemingly difficult moments. 

I would also like you to shift your perspective. We project many ideas on situations that may or may not happen. Cynicism steps in and we presume what words will be spoken from others and what actions may transpire. Nervousness and anxiety want to surface as we project. We may even project ourselves reacting! We give much power in our lives before we even interact with them.  
 
As we enter situations where history has proven unpleasant, let’s check our projections. Let’s project positivity. Let’s project a listening spirit. We cannot control how others act. So, having healthy boundaries is an absolute solution. When you enter a situation, understand your boundaries. However, take caution to not allow the projections we place on others to blur our ability to be in the moment. For example, a family member may begin uncomfortably discussing a topic that will inevitably bring about a lively argument. Don’t project the reactions and the words. Be present and follow your boundaries. If that includes calmly exiting the room to go help another family member, then do so. Just remember a mindful strategy always supersedes a defensive strategy. When we enter situations expecting to defend, we’re already in battle mode. Be mindful of what you’re celebrating this season and keep your focus on what brings you joy.  
 
As we journey through the final month of this year, I hope you remember you are in control of your joy. You have the ability within you to practice being in each moment. By redefining your family gatherings, you can usher in peace and joy for yourself. I hope you find that the greatest present you open this season is simply being present.  
 
If you need additional guidance or would like help with setting goals to get through the holidays, I would be honored to help you through your journey.  
 
Source and additional reading: https://zenhabits.net/dojo/ 

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