Stay Happy Through the Holidays – Richard’s Commentary

Today, the holiday festivities all begin with the day we set aside here in the US to give thanks. I’ve been giving thanks, writing notes of gratitude in my “morning pages” this week. I began my thank you notes, giving deep gratitude for my incredible partner, wife and love of my life, Rosemary. And if you have been following our blogs and reading our posts you know what a talented and resourceful woman she is. Her advice for conscious living and spiritual evolution are profound and creative. And her advice for the holidays is no different! She suggests:

The first step to staying happy through the holidays is to do a realistic and honest assessment of this time of year for yourself.

This may sound superficial but do you move into this time of year with a perspective of staying happy? We have all heard the stories of people who are alone, who dread the holidays because they don’t get along with family, who feel bad because they can’t afford to give elaborate or expensive gifts, who party and drink their way through the season. Perspective is an all-important first step to be happy in every moment.

Next Rosemary suggests:

Consider a new way of operating through the holidays this year.

Everyone around you is struggling with their own life lessons. Somehow the holidays come with Hallmark Cards and Norman Rockwell expectations that nobody really experiences. If you put self-care at the top of your agenda, IT IS NOT SELFISH!!!! Let me repeat that – Self-Care is not being self-ish!!!

Self-Care – in other words, give yourself the gift of looking out for you! Attend to your health, prepare wholesome meals for your celebrations, if you drink alcohol moderate your intake, stay warm and especially keep your neck and throat protected and warm, keep moving with yoga or qigong or another body practice, take time to meditate and if you don’t meditate this season is a great time to start, celebrate the special holidays in your tradition – make them Holy, honor everyone you meet as learning their lessons just as you are – they are you!

Compassion begins with yourself. Taking care of you is taking care of everyone. Recall Rosemary’s question in her inspirational video posted Tuesday: “can compassion for yourself equal compassion for them?” She goes on to suggest:

Look at your calendar for the rest of 2013 and decide what you will do for yourself. Rest. Relax. Pamper yourself. Watch movies that make you smile. Hang out with friends or go on a silent retreat.

As we approach the Winter Solstice, one of those special holidays we celebrate, it is a good time to go inside, to do the inner work of deep winter. The Ancients took this time to retreat, to look inward for the coming renewal. Deep inner work is another way to take care of yourself on the personal level and all others on the global level. This is true compassion!

Coming back to Thanksgiving I took Rosemary’s advice and turned inward to give thanks for me. I am grateful for my soul path, my spiritual journey back to myself, I am grateful for the health and strength to make this journey, I am grateful to myself for making the commitment, I honor myself for my discipline and I am grateful for all of the spiritual teachers and guides that hold me in their love and compassion.

Be grateful for yourself! I am grateful for you because I know you are supporting me on my journey.

Have wonderful, blessed and happy holidays!

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