Holiday Boost

Holiday Boost

The tradition of holiday celebration is based on the human need for joy and fellowship in the darkest time of year. For most modern people holiday festivities are a mixed bag. Still in recovery from last year's fiasco when Uncle Bill went off on your political beliefs? Here's a pep talk to give you some perspective and support as you ride your sleigh into the fray!

There's a story about a yogi who meditated in a mountain cave for over a decade. He decided to go back to civilization to assess his progress on the touchstone of human interaction. It happened to be market day. As he entered the crowd someone bumped into him and he bellowed, "Hey, watch it." He immediately realized that despite all of his meditative efforts he still had a long way to go. Many seekers try to sidestep human involvements and employ strategies to turn their back on the world but our interactions with each other drive the wheel of life and existence As an ongoing life exercise try to remember that the other is us.

1. If this is your first holiday season without the company of people who were really important to you celebrate in your own way for them and you. The time of the Winter Solstice is meant to be a sacred time. Rock your practice, seek delight in simple things, and remember: when the Universe is present we're never alone.

2. Expect the worst from people (who don't meditate). Sorry but there it is. When we don't meditate regularly (every day) then our subconscious overwhelms our best intentions and petty passive aggression occurs. If we don't filter we're off kilter and everyone around us has to bear the brunt. Have you noticed that apologizing has become an accepted social norm for bad behavior? Embrace tantra not tantrums! Tantric yogis are non-reactive and understand context. Their only pretext is grace in being. While at holiday events open your heart to the human condition and be compassionate. Despite slings and arrows of unsolicited "stuff," simply smile and bear witness to the human drama.

2. Don't stress about spending too much or not enough. Your gift is your presence and patience. The best way to weather the holidays successfully is to have no expectations, emotionally or materially. Your undivided presence will often mean more to people than the most indulgent gift. If you really want to honor the important people in your life consider being electronically naked (turn off your phone) before party time.

3. If there are abiding issues in the matrix of family dynamics, holiday gatherings are not the time to revisit old hurts. Simply be nice and commit to keeping things civil. Defer any necessary discussions until another time. Some family members may come loaded (emotionally) for bear. Gracefully step out of the line of fire by making a pact with yourself to not engage (don't bite the bait).

4. Savor your time together. In retrospect all the petty stuff that families project onto each other will fade away via the passage of time. What will remain hopefully will be memories of good times that are all too fleeting.

5. Every day is a holiday for a yogi but not the calendar kind. Each planetary / seasonal configuration comes with its own set of observances. The days leading up to the Winter Solstice (Dec. 21st) and the 10 days after are a very special time yogically. On those days we're primed for a purification physically, emotionally, and karmically. Our night side is present with all its residue when the sun is in hibernation mode. Rather than indulge in dark brooding, let's throw a light on our mischievous shadow elves and enlist them in our cause: Growth, Repair, & Redemption!

6. Don't bring naughty food home from holiday parties. If your hosts insist drop off those goodies at a homeless shelter. The best alternative medicine was summed up by Guru Nanak: Eat little. The average person looks for any pretext to indulge. A yogi is always on the clock. Joyfully.

The sticky wheel may get the grease but make sure that you don't. That may entail that you bring a dish/dishes that you know are not laden with butter, cream, sugar, or sherry. You'll thank yourself the day after.

7. Get a running start into the New Year. Many people feel entitled to take a discipline time out during the Holidays. Be a conscious contrarian and do the opposite. Power up your practice and also your accountability to body and Being.

8. Be a Santa Claus of Spirit for all!