Such and fun and uniquely challenging time of year. Last year, I skipped the whole thing. I went to India to study Yoga before Thanksgiving and I came back after Christmas and literally missed the entire season.
This year, I am here and looking forward to this special time we have, even with the overindulgence and “too-muchness” in our culture. As I talk with members of our tribe before and after class, I hear some angst and stress. I hear stories of trips planned due to family obligations and guilt, and gatherings that will be stressful, and unease about spending time with certain people who cause tension. I have some of that too. This is how I navigate:
My first tool is a gratitude practice. I love how November, gratitude month, is also the month we really need this in our toolbox to get through issues and triggers. When you are feeling internal tension, step right into a gratitude practice. If you don’t have one, get googling, find one, and start now. Here is the next one:
Step into your power.
You, and only you, can choose how you feel and react in any given moment. No one makes you feel a certain way. This can seem radical, but it’s the truth. I experience this with my Partner, Berk. "When you do X it makes me feel Y so stop doing it!" But that’s ridiculous. The way I feel is inside me. It is not his fault I have a stuck emotion. It is my work to identify and transcend the emotion, or urge, or anxiety, or whatever it is. It is not his job to change and tiptoe around me. It is my job to identify my internal issues and do the work to not let this thing inside me have power over me anymore. This is what I do:
When I feel the stress, that anxious tightening inside me, I become present and connect to my breath. Then I resist the temptation to complain (internally or externally). That is a hard one, resist complaining. Then I feel what is happening inside and label it. Over time I see the patterns. Then I can stop the cycle.
When we identify an emotion, or urge, or anxiety, and name it. It stops having power over us.
This is an all-the-time practice, but one we get to use a lot over the next couple of months.
And, lastly, meditate each day. It will help you be calm and grounded as you walk into any gatherings. Even a few conscious breaths in the car before you walk in the door will provide a centered mind and loving heart.
Blaine Wilkes is the owner of Yoga Hive Colorado, and writes inspirational musings for our newsletter, which we post here, along with upcoming trainings and workshops. To filter, navigate using the links above to see the category you're interested in. If you have questions, or wish to get in touch with Blaine, drop in to a class, or connect online: