I have been feeling increasingly excited over the past few weeks, knowing that Christmas is not far away. I love Christmas; the music, the lights, the creation of special food, excitement of seeing family and friends, and child-like anticipation of an enchanted time. And of course everywhere you go are reminders of the upcoming event. Shops play carols, display beautiful decorations, entice us to buy gourmet puddings, presents for our loved ones, with the promise that there will be something magical about our Christmas this year.
But Christmas can also bring sadness and worry. Along with the excitement and anticipation can be anxiety about things going to plan, about having to face certain people, places, memories or fears. Often the wonderfulness of Christmas brings great pain for those whose lives do not fit the mould of happy families, one that is full of love and joy. Christmas can turn our focus to the pain in our lives. The grief that come with many possible losses; the loss of loved ones, life not going to plan, things having changed, loss of a family home or bond, or a loss of certainty in the world.
All of the things that can bring excitement and delight to us at Christmas can also bring distress. This is when mindfulness can help. Just as we have talked about previously, mindfulness is about being open to the full range of human emotion. Rather than trying to avoid the negative and distressing thoughts and feelings, we can accept their presence in our lives, knowing that they will come and go, and that we can re-focus our minds and bodies on the present and what is truly important to us, those things that we value beyond all else.
So this Christmas, amidst all the wonderfulness, I know I will also experience great pain, but that it will be OK. I know that what is important to me is love, compassion, and an open perspective. Instead of getting hooked into my worries and pain, thinking about all the things that are not right about my life right now, I can allow myself to breathe calmness into my body, focus on my values and what is happening here, right now. I will be able to hear the beauty in the music that is being played, enjoy the conversation with the people around me, despite my desperately missing those who are not. I will allow myself to Have a Mindful Little Christmas. I hope you can too!