This time of year is full of meaning. For many it is a time for gathering in family, community and celebration. For many, this time tinged with loneliness, disconnect and stress. This time of year can feel like a balancing act between holding the truth and light of ancient traditions in balance with the rampant pressure to consume and buy and stretch ourselves beyond our means to fit an impossible standard of perfection.
The truth is, family is a mix of messy and joyful. Discomfort and comfort. Mundane and transcendent.
To me, this is also a time when I get to practice giving and receiving. If I am mindful and conscious. this can also be a time when I can look closely at my patterns of martyrdom, stinginess and over-extension. Where in my body do I feel the impulse to be generous? Where do I feel an impulse to turn inward and give back to myself? How does it feel to receive?
So, where do YOU draw from to keep yourself full? How do YOU find your authentic ground inside of yourself so that you can keep giving from a place of integrity and fullness?
I consider myself a pleasure activist, which means that I believe in consciously practicing and making space for pleasure in our nervous systems. Not only as a way to personal well being but planetary well being as well. Humankind has evolved with a negativity bias. This is a good thing because it has kept us alive. But this means that our brains are much more practiced at holding onto and remembering negative experiences and turning them into patterns. In order to absorb and integrate positive experiences, it actually takes more focused attention and more time for the neuro-chemicals associated with these positive experiences to release and change our internal state.
So, my invitation to you is to is to actively seek out and find pleasure in your days. Especially when the patterning might tend towards stress and overwhelm. When you find pleasure in yourself whether it is in the fragrance of a food you are preparing, a deep breath, a hug from a loved one or receiving a gift, stop and notice and take a moment to make this feeling bigger. Breathe into it and let it grow. Notice what happens when you do this and how it may change your internal state. Do not pass it by as quickly as you might be accustomed to doing. Let pleasure be the measure of your days, your relationships and your interactions during these coming days.
May you remember that you are the gift and may you be deeply sourced in the authenticity of your own perfectly balanced generosity and gratitude.
*Beautiful art by Meganne Forbes (check her out meganneforbes.com )