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The Holiday Project

candle luminaries photo for The Holiday Project by Annette Segal of The Valiant GroupWe yearn… for recognition, connection, meaning. And the holidays make that yearning acute.

  • Questions brim over the containers of our consciousness:
  • Are we remembered? Cared about? Included?
  • Do our greetings/gifts/visits matter?
  • What about the holidays is consistent with who we take ourselves to be? What isn’t?
  • Who makes up our “true” family?
  • Which gifts are meaningful?

And the yearning is heightened by the cultural messages that seem to intensify at this time of year – as though our very human needs are impacted by the calendar!

I find many of the folks I work with more anxious, more depressed or more withdrawn during December than the rest of the year. I sense a determination to make “the holidays bright” fraught with disappointment and stress.

What often happens during this time is attention seeping away from mindfulness practice and towards shopping, parties, vacations, hosting.

These events are wonderful – all – especially when they are approached with the mindset of paying attention to whatever is arising…”being with” it amidst all the “doing” required.

What is “being with”? It rests on noticing – noticing what is happening in the body, in the emotions and in the cognitive realm of thinking. Noticing is aided by slowing down, breathing and allowing the whispers of wisdom from our head, heart and bodies enough silence so they may emerge to guide us.

“Being with” includes treating ourselves with kindness, just for existing – without transactional
dialogues. Kindness in our thoughts, kindness in the way we treat ourselves can then infiltrate our actions towards others, the greater world.

“Being with” doesn’t preclude shopping, cooking, wrapping presents, sending cards or other typical activities. It invites deepening those actions by slowing them down so they are rooted in
caring, kindness, generosity – rather than obligation.

As we approach our activity from this place, we observe our own yearning in others and connect with them on the human playing field of recognition. We invite them into the present moment by inhabiting it ourselves – fully.

And so our holidays become holy days and whole-y days. Days in which we bring and offer ourselves in wholeness, neglecting neither our hearts, our bodies nor our thinking.

Taking on the holidays in this way is The Holiday Project – one that enriches whatever celebration we partake of – not just for ourselves, rather for each individual we encounter.

May your holidays fill with connection, meaning, recognition all held together by Love.