The Holiday Season (Pdf version)
The month of December is the holiday season around the world. It presents us with many opportunities to feel and experience happiness and joy.
The Secrets to Managing Holiday Stress
To feel happy and joyful during the holiday season we need to manage our stress level. Not creating too much stress for ourselves can be a holiday gift we give to our Self. Why do we get caught up in stress? Some answers: lack of awareness of what we are feeling, lack of strength to say “no” to unreasonable expectations—“holiday expectations”, guilt when we don’t live up to these expectations, and a belief that more is better. All of this adds up to a situation where we cannot feel happiness and joy due to stress.
Practice: Tune into the feeling of stress. Decide that you won’t create avoidable stress or let it make you unhappy during the holiday season. Say “no” to whoever (including yourself) expects you to take on unreasonable stress.
Ability of the Month: Feeling
To feel happy and joyful (full of joy) we need the ability to feel and the willingness to experience those feelings. We have a natural ability to perceive sensations within our body that we interpret as feelings. Feelings have two fundamental aspects. They are our experience of life and contain messages for us. Without feeling our feelings our life would be empty, void, non-existent, and robotic.
As messages our feelings provide us with information about our Self and about situations in our life. We then act based on how we feel. Here are some examples of possible messages our feelings send us:
- Joy This situation brings me joy.
- Happy This situation brings me happiness.
- Sad This situation brings me sadness.
- Anger This situation brings me anger.
- Frustration I am not getting what I want.
Sometimes it takes courage to experience our feelings because we want to deny the message that our feelings give us. At other times, we deny (refuse to feel) our feelings because we are afraid they will overwhelm us.
Point of Empowerment: To feel happiness and joy we need the courage to feel our feelings no matter what they may be.
Practice: Spend time tuning into the sensations in your body and decide what you are feeling. Look for happiness and joy. **(Additional reading: The Operating Manual for the Self—feelings, resistance to feelings, defense mechanisms, and coping with feelings.)
Happiness is a soft, comfortable, pleasurable feeling that lifts our spirits and sends us the message that all is well with our world. When we find ourselves with a smile on our face we may be feeling happy. While there are many sources of happiness, a major source of happiness is when we fulfil our needs. (The seven categories of our human needs are: survival, safe/security, belonging/loving, self-esteem, to create/produce/know, self-actualization and beauty/mystery/transcendence. See The Operating Manual for the Self for a full description and discussion of our needs.)
Point of Empowerment: Fulfilling our needs brings us happiness.
Practice: Write down a need that the holiday season brings a special opportunity to fulfill, and create a strategy to satisfy that need.
“If you are happy, happiness will come to you because happiness wants to go where happiness is.” Yogi Bhajan
In self-appreciation say to yourself: “I appreciate my Self for my ability to feel happiness and joy.”
As a gift to yourself, seek to feel happy.
Joy is a bursting, ebullient feeling, full of energy, enthusiasm, exuberance, and excitement. Joy sends our spirits soaring telling us that our life is full of wonder and amazing things. In feeling joy we have suspended the boundaries of our self-consciousness Self, and created within us a touch of the transcendent. We have challenged ourselves to go beyond our usual levels of experience into a very special realm.
A few sources of happiness and joy during the holidays:
- Spending time with loved ones
- Giving and receiving gifts with gratitude
- Sitting around the fire
- Laughing together
- Enjoying a holiday meal
- Absorbing and experiencing the holiday spirit
- Experiencing the transcendence of the holiday spirit
Practice: Create situations that bring you happiness and joy, recognizing when they are present. Allow yourself to experience happiness and joy’s gifts.
The Operating Manual for the Self is
The wave of the future.
The future of the totally empowered self.
Point of Empowerment: Balance and harmony set the stage for happiness and joy. We need to learn the skill of responding to disharmony and being out of balance to find peace. Then we can flow (as the infinity symbol suggests) among these three states of being: happiness, peace and joy.
Practice: To recover balance and harmony (and reduce stress) practice breathing and relaxing your body. When you find yourself out of balance and in disharmony you can breathe deeply and relax your body becoming centered within yourself. This recovers balance and harmony and reduces stress.
Let’s unite in developing our human potential.
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