Holidays here I come! I need to ring this year out the right way – with joy and love and all the light that shines this time of year! Honestly the end of 2016 has been a hot mess and I could just burn it up, but I’m going to head into the twinkle lights right here on the blog. 31 posts on things that matter for the season.
In no particular order I am going to write about:
- Kindness – It’s in this blog post
- Renew – Renew our Hearts on the Daily
- Believe – I’ve Got Santa Spirit
- Christmas Past
- Christmas Tree
- Deck the Halls (or hall, we only have one)
- Happiness – Grok Your Own Thing
- Cheerfulness – Combatting the Bad Vibes
- Together – We are All in this Together
- Listen – The Greatest Gift of All
- Oh, Bring Us the Figgy Pudding
- Winter Wonderland
Here’s the first: Kindness
Since the election I have been doing a guided lovingkindness meditation. If you aren’t sure what lovingkindness is here is a brief description:
You close your eyes and you center yourself on your breath – just to get yourself ready to think about something other than the laundry that just turned everything pink, the crappy email you just got, or the snarky comment you made and now regret. When you are ready you begin by thinking of yourself and say, “May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease.” You say these for a little while until you kind of feel ok about it.
Then you think about someone that you like. Someone who is easy for you to picture in a happy way. It can be a kid, an animal, a friend, or even just a place that is special to you. This is someone who when you think of them you don’t cringe a little. And you say, “May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.” You say this for as long as you like.
Then you think about someone who you don’t know very well. Someone that you see when you run errands, walk your dog, or briefly met. You don’t know anything about this person, but you can picture them in your mind and you say, “May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.” This is to help remind yourself that even someone you don’t know is worthy of your kindness.
Then you picture someone that you really don’t like. This person could be a family member who is awful to you, a friend who did you wrong, and annoying coworker, an elected official or anyone that drives you absolutely mad. You say, “May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.” This is hard. This is someone that you either feel has hurt you or could hurt you. If this causes you too much pain you go back to yourself, because at that moment you are the one suffering and need to know that you deserve to be happy and peaceful
Note: I use Sharon Salzberg’s guided lovingkindness mediation in the Insight Timer app most of the time. You can just search lovingkindness and there are a ton. These aren’t religious – they are just about centering. In fact, if you are religious you could bring that element into it if it helped.
So, anyway. Sorry that took longer than I expected to explain. It really just takes 20 minutes. I started doing it because the election made me anxious. I needed to gain perspective and ground myself. I know that sounds so hippy dippy, but the science of this kind of meditation is spot on! It has been proven to increase love, joy, contentment, gratitude, pride, hope, interest, amusement, and awe. That is some serious stuff. And it was working. I was feeling great.
I’m an idiot. I stopped doing it last Sunday. Why? My routine got jacked. I just didn’t do what I had been doing in the morning and now it is Thursday and I didn’t do this simple thing that is proven to make life better – and was working. What has happened? My week sucked. Seriously. It wasn’t anything big – just life and people – but it sucked. So, tomorrow morning I’m back. Back to practicing this. Back to giving it to myself, the people I love, and the people I don’t. Back to remembering to be kind.
Now, THAT’S the way to kick off some serious holiday celebrating. Right? 31 days of kicking the end of this year out with love, peace and a whole lot of holiday spirit!