Sunday, December 18, 2011

'Tis the Season

Alot of people love this time of year - the Holiday Season.  I love this time of year.  I love the way stores & houses look decorated in lights as you pass by at night.  I love the smell of evergreen & putting a tree up in our home.  I enjoy the spirit of the season - goodwill & peace & giving.  I enjoy spending time together with friends & extended family members that, in some cases, we only see once or twice a year.  I love the anticipation of the first snowfall (or in the case of this year - the second snowfall).

But for other people, this time of year is very challenging.  Feeling the loss dear friends or close family members make it difficult to embrace the joy of the season.  Having family members or friends serving in the military & overseas also make it hard not to worry.

As a yoga teacher, I've always tried to be mindful that different significant days & times of year mean different things to different people.  On any day, you can never know what someone is thinking or feeling (unless they share it with you) and I've found that Holidays heighten that.

The holiday season serves a good reminder to never assume anything about others.  You can't know why someone dislikes a holiday...even when they give you a reason, there may be a bigger back-story that they aren't sharing.  When someone cuts you off in traffic, or "takes" your parking space - it probably has nothing to do with you.  Maybe they're on their way to the hospital to see a loved one for the last time.  Maybe they have to get home in time for their babysitter.

In the spirit of the holidays, try reserving judgement of others & how they act.  Actions taken by others are not necessarily actions against you.  And often the people that we are quickest to judge are actually the people that most need our love.

This season, when you find yourself forming a criticism of someone or their actions - whether it's someone you know or a total stranger - pause for a moment.  Instead of thinking, or speaking, or acting harshly - offer loving thoughts, kind words or a generous gesture. Remember that you don't know what's going on in another person's head or their life.  And what they might need most, is kindness & love from you.

Sound crazy?  So crazy that it might work.  You might not see it work. You might never know if it works.  But you will feel it.  You will feel better.  You will be part of spreading the spirit of the season.

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