Christmas can be such an emotionally loaded season. There is pressure to buy things because it’s expected of us, visit family we don’t get along with easily and do a myriad of things in a short amount of time. It all adds up to STRESS. With a bit of conscious thought we can turn this season into one that is joy-filled.
Years ago, I stopped giving automatically because “they were going to give something to me.” I reconnected with the gift of giving from the heart. What did I wish to give? A gift that comes from the heart has no strings attached. It does not matter what the recipient does with the gift or how it is received. The point is that you put forth a heartfelt expression. That’s it. The ego wants recognition, feedback and acceptance. If you step away from ego, all that does not matter. You are whole, complete, untouched by another’s thoughts or approval.
The other thing that I began to do is to ask myself just what I could do that would give my heart joy. Amazingly small things, like a walk, petting my cat or gazing at something beautiful can give me a happy contentment, but true joy usually involves sharing.
Kids are masters at joy. Hang out with a few and you’ll see how they are experts at exuberance! I am fortunate to live next to four amazing children that I am always happy to be around. The youngest, who I often call “Susie Mary Sunshine”, perpetually wears a smile, spontaneously breaks into a dance or song with a sweet, angelic voice and generally lifts the vibration in a room twelve degrees. What a blessing!
Doing a Christmasy thing with kids can be such fun because of the joy they naturally bring to all they do. Vermont Farm Heart posted a recipe for making cinnamon ornaments and immediately I thought of my buddies next door. The eldest helped me make the batter, which we chilled on the back porch while we did other fun stuff. Later, after “SMS” joined us, we rolled out the batter and they cut the shapes out. We ended up with three cookie sheets of trees, snowmen and women, santas, hearts and various animals. It was a blast! Watching their faces, listening to their chatter, it was the epitome of what gives me joy. I am so grateful for their presence in my life.
So perhaps if you’re feeling the negative effects of the season, you might take a moment to just stop and listen to your heart and give it what it asks for. It may be a quiet walk, a phone call to a loved one or just a pause to reflect on the many blessings you receive on a daily basis. Gratitude and joy go hand-in-hand. May your holidays be truly blessed and joy-filled.