The holidays are here! A time of excitement and joy correct? Only if you have the present of presence.
For many of us there is a strain that follows right behind the joy. The kids are out of school but our work schedule continues. We should have the house clean & decorated, presents wrapped with care and everything just so! Joy will only find its’ way into a clean perfect house, or so we think!
We feel pressure (from whom?) to get everyone the right present and sometimes we end up giving a gift card. Is that a bad choice? The person gets to choose what they want.
And that’s where we get messed up. We feel that we ‘should’…
should decorate the house
should make everyone around us happy
should buy certain presents
should make others’ happy
should be happy the whole time
The ‘shoulds’ don’t have your in-laws. They don’t have your boss or mortgage. So who are these ‘shoulds’? They are the expectations that we have of ourselves and what we feel others’ have for us. But are they really important?
The ‘shoulds’ take us away from what we are experiencing in this moment, delightful or challenging. They distract us from being present with what is happening in the moment and that’s where we get off the rails. We disappear down the wormhole of a thought or emotion and miss what’s happening right in front of us. If we are in a group, our physical presence remains but we aren’t present with what is going on. And if we’re with our dearest people, they know we are not connecting.
So what do we do to come back to this moment?
We focus on our breath. Quite simple, but challenging to remember in the moment.
When it comes down to it, do you want someone’s presents or presence?
When we are given the choice between a fancy piece of jewelry or time with our favorite people, we all choose our people. It’s where our sense of security comes from. It’s an innate awareness as animals, a leftover from our pack mentality. If the pack is safe, I am safe.
In the presence of our people, how do we feel? What does it feel like in your body? This calm and peaceful moment of just being. No one judging, all our quirky personality traits allowed to be present and maybe even celebrated! What does that feel like? Maybe we’re in our favorite spot in the house or back yard. Maybe at a holiday destination of great beauty.
Pick a place that you last went to where the worries faded and a sense of ‘ahhhhhhh’ took over for a while. What are the senses here? What are the colors, tastes, smells, sounds & sensations? This is your inner resource. Yours. No one else’s. Where you get to be. Just be for as long as you can stay. What does your body feel like? What does your mind do or not do when you’re here? This is your inner resource.
Try finding your inner resource in those moments when the joy of the holiday eludes you. Or any time you feel the need.
It’s only a breath away.
Written by O2X Human Performance expert Annie Okerlin.