Surviving the Holidays

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Photo by: Susanne Nilsson at source.

I know it’s only November and some might question my sanity, because it’s too early to even think about the holidays. Well, I’m pretty certain I’m not the only one thinking about the dreaded month of December. This very merry month is almost upon us. For most of us it’s a time of tiresome visits to the shops to buy presents, baking cookies until your back can’t take no more and then cooking a really big dinner and eating leftovers for the remainder of the week. We’re usually tired and happy to say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new one. Let’s face it: the holidays can be a b*** and that’s when you’re lucky enough to be able to afford all the material things capitalism makes you think you want. I want to try to inspire us all to take a step back to see that the holidays coming don’t have to be this stressfest. Why do we let ourselves be consumed by consumerism?

I guess I’m here to remind us to truly think about what we really want to achieve with this year’s holiday time? Do we want to devote all out time to shopping and glitter that only shines the outside of our lives? Or do we want to spend as much time as possible with the ones we love? I’ve spent quite a few Christmases doing the typical: stressing about money, about what to get everyone, baking cookies and cooking … Granted, it all looked nice and I thought I was happy. But I was just so tired. I don’t remember playing with my niece or nephew, I don’t remember sitting down with my sisters or friends or my parents and have a mind-of-everything-else conversation and I don’t remember much of how it felt, but I sure remember how it all looked. I don’t want to have my family around for the holidays and miss them at the same time. That’s ridiculous!

This little confession does not mean I won’t be baking cookies, but it does mean I won’t be baking as much. It doesn’t mean I won’t decorate our house and it does not mean I won’t buy presents for my family and friends. I just won’t be as worked up about it, because I’ll do my best do devote time and not material stuff. It’s ridiculous how frantic we get. I look at the faces of the people in the shops and I hardly ever see a person with a smile on their face. What’s the point of a holiday if you can’t even crack a smile and be happy? Maybe we should bring the holidays into our hearts a little more. It doesn’t mean to instantly become religious and all that jazz if that wasn’t your thing to begin with. Just let yourself be happy and express a little gratitude for all your blessings. If you’re anything like me, you have a lot to be grateful for. No one has everything, so don’t wait to own everything to make you happy. Life’s too short.

I always say that we’re responsible for our own happiness and we usually tend to make our lives a heck of a lot more complicated than they really are. We seem to complicate ten fold before and during he holidays. I suffer from the same condition as most: the stores start selling Christmas items in November and I find myself already planning and contemplating … Well, this year I chose to let go just  little bit and instead of all the stuff I would usually plan on buying, I’m now contemplating the experiences I’d like to have. I can choose not to be the typical consumer and I plan on doing just that. It’s not easy for me, I’ll admit that. 

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Photo by: Roy Chan at source.

I’m grateful to be able to make such decisions. I’m grateful for my health and for the health of my family and all though I have my share of worries and stresses, I’m grateful for all my blessings. It’s so easy to take them for granted and only find reasons to complain. It’s like we’re worry robots and all we do is solve problems. The moment one problem is solved, we jump on to the next one. The sad part is that we’ve let this mentality seep into the time of the year when we have a chance to let it all go and find inner peace. We need to wake up. We need to realize that the people we love in our lives today may not be here to see us for the next holidays. This is life and it’s unpredictable. I like to believe I have control over my life and I tend to over-plan things. I have to actively remind myself not to take the people I love for granted. It’s not about the things in my life, it’s about the people in it. 

However you choose to spend your holidays and the upcoming month, I hope you find peace and love in your life. I wish for you to notice not just the lights shining around you, but to light the flame inside you and pay it forward. Share your holiday kindness and patience and a whole lot of love. 

Karma Questions

What do you do when you REALLY don’t want to be vindictive toward someone or cause trouble in their life, but there’s really no other choice?

 

KARMA: The Buddhist belief that whatever you do comes back to you, e.g. if you do something good, something good will happen to you, and vice versa.

I’ve always been a believer of actions and consequences. I believe that my good actions will bring forth good fortune for my life and I believe in the bigger picture of the Universe. I know if I spread positivity, I’ll get some of it back and I know that if I work hard enough, I’ll find what I’m looking for.

 

LAW OF ATTRACTION: The belief that positive thoughts are magnets for positive life experiences and negative thoughts (i.e. the very cynical definition previously provided for this term) are magnets for negative life experiences.

I try my very hardest to be kind and to respond graciously to negativity and along with that I surround myself with people who share my viewpoints or at least try to respect them. Other people might be mean and negative and that can bring about negative behaviour or behavioural patterns. I always say that I don’t have to live like that, but not only this: I say what feedback I give such a person. I don’t have to let other peoples’ negativity fester in my soul and make me unhappy and cynical. I choose the way I respond to these people and my life is better served being positive. So that’s what I try my very hardest to do.

Not everyone lives this way, though. Some people might not wish me well and some people might even try to bring me or my family down, or cause a disturbance in my way of life just because they don’t like me.

I’ve been making sure my actions lately reflect my mental predisposition. Things have worked out and I’m happy to say that I’m proud with the way I’ve chosen to deal with haters in my life (the number of those is very low, but they’re still bugsome). They’ve tried to manipulate and coerce me into doing things that are so very not me and not at all the person I wish to be, but I’ve tried to maintain my peace of mind and have tried to at least shorten the time it takes for me to get over my anxiety when something bad happens and the way I react to bad news. I won’t go into detail about what’s been going on. I feel like I don’t want to send any sort of negativity out there into the universe, or blast someone on a platform I want to build as something positive and encouraging. So, no blasting people with detailed stories. Let’s just say that someone in our family did something kinda crappy. This is now all over, but now it’s my game. What do I do? How do I finish this? This person has caused me and my family quite some emotional (and economical) problems and now I have to finish what they’ve started.

Just think of any negativity that comes at you as a raindrop falling into the ocean of your bliss.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

 

The difference between my actions before and what I have to do now is that I wasn’t the one causing distress and was merely the one fighting off crappy, negative actions from other people. Now I have to be the one who causes some distress and I don’t like it. It makes me sick. I just want to live in peace and hope others find it too. Even though this person was mean, I don’t want them to suffer and am honestly not enjoying what I’ll need to do to end what they’ve begun and make it so there are no losers in this situation.

So my question is: If something is legally necessary and morally sound, why does it feel so wrong? I’m reading back what I’ve written so far and right now it just seems like a load of excuses. My brain is telling me to do what I need to do, but my heart’s not in it. But I guess that’s life. Sometimes we have to push our hearts aside and do what needs to be done. The only difference is that I can do what needs to be done with as much kindness as possible and make sure there’s as little damage done as possible. I don’t want heavy burdens on my heart and it’s no secret that this world is riddled with heartache. I won’t be one to cause more, but I sure as heck will fight for what’s right.

 

We have to transcend our own negativity and vulnerability and work from our own inner security.

James Redfield

 

Bucket List Problems

Have you ever heard of a person struggling to find ideas for their bucket lists? Well, you’re just come across one. People around me usually just shoot ideas about their wonderful life plans and goals, but I sat down the other day thinking about the stuff I want to do before I keel over and had a blank mind! That scared the living daylights out of me. Am I THAT boring? Am I THAT lifeless? Am I THAT afraid of life itself?! Well … probably :D.

BUT!

I don’t have an adventurous bone in my body and you won’t see me bungee-jumping off of some bridge and then asking if I can go again any day soon. See, I think this is the problem with bucket lists in general and the way people look at them: we want these seemingly big acts of courage to prove to us that we lived. We need that incredible adventure and possible photo to show we lived. Sure, that’s great. IF YOU’RE THAT KIND OF PERSON. I’m not. And guess what? That’s okay too!

So today I chose to think of what’s important to me and what I want to accomplish in life. Here are the first few points of my bucket list (I could honestly manage so much, because I stayed focused on the idea of the person I am and who I want to become):

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Now I know my list is kind of short. But I’m proud of myself, because it was really hard to think about my life and see what I want to do. I could have written anything dangerous and highly entertaining to the outside world. But it wouldn’t be me and I’m really trying to be my little ol’ self at any given moment.

Who gets to really say if you lived your fullest life? If you don’t have adventure after adventure planned for your life, are you not living it to it’s full potential? I guess I was embarrassed because I thought that if I put my bucket list into writing I’d be disappointed, because I probably won’t end my life as this big adventure. And that’s just silly. We’re all so very different from each other and my adventure might be something so inconsequential to one person and the adventure of a lifetime to another. As with all things in life, it’s all a matter of perspective, who we are and our choices.

The idea of a piece of paper with life’s goals written on it has always had an appeal to me. I guess I just like to make lists and like to think I can be ahead of life. Joke’s on me, I guess. Writing down your life’s wishlist won’t instantly make you more interesting or fun. Life itself is hard work and making your wishes come true takes time, patience and a whole lot of self-sacrifice. Why let ourselves be bought into the idea of other peoples’ lives being bigger than ours just because their bucket lists have more written on them and it all sounds exciting?

Maybe I’ll find my inner thrill-seeker one day and maybe I won’t. I choose to be happy with both.

When I’m Sad

I’m sad today. I feel alone, down and helpless. Tears won’t stop flowing today. I’m restless and insecure. I feel like I’m alone and my guard is still built way too high for anyone to see real weakness and see me less as a machine and more human. It’s all my fault. It’s Tuesday, eleven a.m. and I feel like I want the day to be over. Hit the refresh button tomorrow and let the woman waking up in my body deal with what’s left. Where’s my higher self-standard today? Where’s the “it’s-all-in-your-head” and “only-you-can-make yourself- happy” girl now? I’m a hypocrite.

I guess what I’m writing now is a transcript of my mental process. I hope it will make some of the anxiety go away and I also hope I can ease some other soul out there by reading about the way I choose to deal with days like these. There’s this part of me that just wants to go to bed and drown in my own sorrows. But there’s also this little voice inside me trying so very desperately to tell me to remember what I’ve learned and what I believe in. I believe in the power of my own brain and choosing what to make of my thoughts. I have to hold on to it. I don’t want to regret not making the right choice for myself today.

So here I am. I acknowledge my sadness. I welcome it for just a little bit. It’s my best friend for just a few precious minutes. I recognize the procession of names for my sadness: Loneliness, Fear, Self-judgement, Failure. Over and over. Walking in, flashing over my eyes, going away and coming back. Coming back too fast for my liking. I’m going to let them linger and not let them go away just yet: I’m alone because I fail to open up and am not interesting or fun.  I’m ugly and stupid, nothing good will ever come my way and I will never be who I want to become. I’ve failed myself, I should be someone by now. When will the people in my life realize I’m not worth loving and not worth their time? Will I live my life being afraid and will I spend my last breath on regret?

Welcome, dear thoughts of self-deprecation. Have your moments in the spotlight and bask in the glory of my tears. You’re all a part of me.

Today, more than ever, I have to choose: I love myself. I’m with me for better or worse. I love those ugly-named friends because they’re all a part of me. I love them like I love winter: sure has it’s charms, but I wish it would last for no more than a week. I love them like I love olives: an acquired taste. I love them like I love laying tiles in my house: the end result is great, but every bone in my body hurts from the effort. I have to love the pearl that comes out of the suffering without ever really knowing what the pearl will look like. What’s the point otherwise?

I’ve acknowledged your existence, I’ve given you fuel and opportunity to state your peace, dear Negativity. And now I have to say goodbye. I need to make a little room for Partnership, Happiness, Self-love and Accomplishment too. I love them just as much as I love the smell of freshly cut grass, the chirping of birds very early in the morning and as much as I love freshly-baked bread and how the smell of it turns our house into a home. It’s all a part of me and demands to be loved.

So, I’ll let myself be sad today. I’ll tread lightly over my existence and be patient with my moods. But I won’t wallow. I’ll be kind to my heart and love it unconditionally and let it be broken and healed all at once. I’ll choose to wait in inner silence and make sure the woman that wakes up in my body tomorrow feels a sense of accomplishment, pride and anticipation. I’ll then let those bad boys reeking havoc in my brain right now rest for as long as I can allow.