In the Northern Hemisphere we have entered the time when the light is dwindling and the night is getting longer. Many of us feel a pull to hibernate or cocoon. We are moving a little slower and our focus is drawn inside as we spend more time indoors. The overall tendency is to pull inward. We feel this contraction because it is the natural cycle of our year and it mirrors the natural cycle of the Human life.
And then there are the Holidays! What ever Holidays you celebrate, we are called to be more social at parties, bring family together for good or for bad, shop if you participate in gift giving, and maintain the rhythm of our normal daily life as well.
There are some people who just LOVE the Holiday season. Enjoy! And then there is the rest of the world. I have pondered this for many, many years and wondered why a sense of dread falls on many of us instead of experiencing the joy and fellowship that this time of the year is said to represent.
Well…. there are a lot of expectations, spoken and unspoken. For many it means spending beyond their means, spending time with people they do not find uplifting and running themselves into exhaustion. And each year many of us just grit our teeth and endure it. We hold our breath until it’s over and hope that it won’t come so fast the next time.
Lately, I have been bombarded by the concept of fearlessness in my yoga studies. I think it applies here as we approach the Holidays. Again, if you love the Season and are full of Joy in all its traditions, be grateful. For those who are less than joyful about the coming Season be Fearless.
Ask yourself why you continue traditions that no longer serve you? Is it out of guilt or fear? Are you worried about approval and acceptance from people in your life?
It is one thing to be able to do something for someone because it makes them happy and you are neutral about doing it or better yet enjoy it. It is another thing to continue to do something that tears you down or effects your soul negatively.
Our journey is about taking care of the Self. You have to be healthy and happy to be able to give anything to someone else, especially LOVE.
There are a couple ways to approach being fearless at this time of the year.
You can go through the season as usual but change your perspective. Look at all the people and situations as an opportunity to grow and expand. Be in yourself with open awareness and compassion. You might find that the annoying relatives are not quite as annoying.
Or if enough is enough, start to change the traditions and start new ones. The first year of this approach is the hardest. But you might find some of the people in your life will be grateful that you spoke up.
If the Gift giving is a financial burden on you, let people know. Reconnect with the true meaning of the Season— and enjoy time together.
My partner and I live in a house that’s been in my family for about 110 years. My brothers have spent every Christmas Eve of their lives here. After my mom passed, it was not easy for me to continue the exact same traditions. I tried the first year and it was too painful. So we agreed to shift it. We don’t do a sit down dinner or exchange gifts. Instead we do heavy appetizers and have included a few friends of the family. The Energy is Shifted. My mom’s presence is still there (especially through her eggnog) but we have made this new tradition work for us. We have joy and no pain.
As a result, my brothers and I stopped giving gifts and started planning a dinner out in February. We extended our time together by planning another event and the cost of dinner is much cheaper and less stressful than buying gifts. Our time together has become the gift we give and the whole process is more meaningful.
For some it might be that you have to separate from your family and traditions altogether if they are tearing you down rather than building you up. In this case, fearlessness is going with what your Soul needs. We must fan the flames of our divinity because ultimately that is what sustains us.
I came across this quote from Brother Priyananda of the Self Realization Fellowship founded by Paramahansa Yogananda (author of Autobiography of a Yogi) that helps me focus on my journey to fearlessness.
“Fear is of the ego. Fearlessness is of the soul. When we give in to fear and worry we are subject to moods, negativity and self-centeredness. We are trapped in our own fearful thoughts and reactions- subject to maya or delusion. Our soul is not able to express its true divine nature, remaining behind the prison bars of the ego.”
So be fearless and begin to create traditions that fill you with Joy and Happiness. Fear is our ego worried about approval and acceptance— fearlessness is about being true to who you are and what your soul needs to thrive.
You can be kind and fearless at the same time. Approach this season from your authentic Self. You will find a sense of relaxation in knowing, that no matter what, you are where you need to be and have what you need to be fully present in the moment. With that knowledge —- Relax.