12 Stepping through the Holidays by Karen Casey
Make a plan for maintaining balance in your life through the holidays. And beyond. Take a few minutes every day to sit in silence, praying or meditating or just listening to the stillness of the moment. Make a plan for eating healthier and smaller meals every few hours throughout the day. Make exercise a regular part of your daily regimen. Make a call to at least one other person who shares your spiritual journey every day. Acknowledge with a smile someone who is in line in front of you or the clerk waiting on you at the grocery. Any connection with another human being begins the process of healing that we all deserve.
Make a gratitude list. I find that making a gratitude list, at the end of each day, kick-starts the next day too. When I see the very concrete evidence of “the good in my life” on paper in front of me, my expectations are heightened. For instance, how many people did I have a chance to show support for today? In what way did I show it? What unexpected pleasures were showered on me? Perhaps I received a call from a friend, a bouquet of flowers from a loved one, or a simple smile from a stranger. All are worthy of being on a gratitude list, and treasured as preparation for tomorrow.
Make a plan for making the holidays better for some one else, a family perhaps who is struggling. There are dozens of tiny ways to help others in the holiday season. Donating your extra canned goods at the local food bank or neighborhood church is a simple contribution. Baking cookies and distributing them at a nursing home in your area is a way of bringing smiles to many who may feel forgotten. Taking a meal to a local homeless shelter is an easy way to reach out, too. Making a financial donation might be the easiest for some, and the Salvation Army bell ringers you see around the holidays make that easily possible. “Adopting” a family through your church and anonymously shopping for them is a way to touch the lives of many, yours included. There are as many opportunities as you can imagine. Be creative. And be committed.
Practice the sacredness of the moment, and then write a very brief reaction to one or two specific experiences you have had. Fully appreciating the sacred “now” takes willingness and intentional focus, but the gifts offered are immense. Watching two dogs at play out my study window fills me with joy every day; they have not a care in the world. And hearing the giggles of a small child as she chases after the monarch butterfly who has landed on her sweater takes your breath away, doesn’t it? But even more special is seeing the elderly gentleman helping his wife get into the car after an outing at the grocery. Their loving glance speaks volumes, and you have been blessed by it. In the moment, all is sacred. What are you seeing? How deep is your appreciation?
Reflect on the evidence of your Higher Power’s presence, or intervention, so to speak, in your past journey. This will make the next “leg” of it even more exciting. I was saved from suicide, more than once, because my work had not been completed. I understand this completely now. And my higher power provided the words I needed when I was defending my dissertation. I cannot doubt that’s how it worked and I am doing what I have been called to do right at this very moment as the result of that intervention. What evidence exists for you that the God of your understanding has always been present? He has, you know.
Make a plan for reaching out to others from the past—to say thank you, perhaps. Or I’m sorry. Or let’s get together and catch up. Mending the fences or simply reconnecting is a wonderful way to end one year and begin another. It keeps all parties humble and helpful and leads to our healing. We help others heal too, in the process, because healing doesn’t happen in isolation—it requires connection. Ending one year and beginning the next making important connections will enhance the potential for peace in all of our lives.
Karen Casey is the author of 19 books, including the recently released Codependence and the Power of Detachment. Her book Each Day a New Beginning has sold more than 3 million copies and she is a sought-after speaker at recovery and spirituality conferences throughout the country. She conducts Change Your Mind workshops, based on her best selling Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow.
You can purchase Ms. Casey's books on Amazon.com.
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