The pace of life generally becomes a bit frenetic, even chaotic, after Thanksgiving as holiday events with friends, family, colleagues, and community take over our calendars. That’s really saying something because even during the “non-holiday” time of year, our days are filled to the brim with “musts” and “shoulds.” Our calendars are full and our phones and computers chirp, ring, and buzz at us all day and evening, and we’ve trained ourselves to respond like Pavlov’s Dog, afraid that we might miss something important.
When was the last time you really relaxed? When have you enjoyed “unscheduled” time....taken time to sit with a friend for an impromptu catch-up session...read a book for fun...watched your children or grandchildren play or played with them? When was the last time you felt truly present...focusing on the time, space, and people you are in and with, instead of running through the list in your head of what you should do next? I propose that the most important gift you can give yourself, and those you love, is the gift of your PRESENCE, not a stack of presents.
I know, easier said than done. Somehow our society has set expectations so that we feel we must be busy all the time; that we must buy elaborate presents or many presents to show our love; that we must spend more than we have, etc. It won’t be easy to change these expectations in our society, but we can work to change them within our family and community....we can bring peace and calm to the chaos.
The ideal place to start is in our homes. Our homes can be a sanctuary away from the stress, noise, crowds, and expectations of the season. As a Feng Shui consultant, one of the first things I advise my clients to do is to remove clutter and unused/unwanted/unloved items from their homes. Clutter blocks the flow of Chi, or life energy, through a space which can leave people feeling anxious, frustrated, and overwhelmed. Each item in your home has it’s own energy and it sits in your space, affecting you. Decluttering is especially important during the holidays. Do you have an abundance of holiday decorations? Do they bring you joy and remind you of happy, loving times? Or, do you dread pulling them out of storage and only put them up out of a sense of obligation? There is no law that says that every room in our homes must be decorated for the holidays, or that every flat space should be filled with traditional family decorations. Decorate your space in a way that makes you smile when you walk in the room. If that means pulling out all your holiday decorations because you love them, that’s great...just remember to put away the day-to-day decorations, etc. so the space is not over-filled. Remember, if we don’t physically have space in our homes for life energy to flow, we’ll begin to feel stuck and overwhelmed and, there won’t be room for joy and fun when we celebrate the holidays with family and friends.
If you celebrate Christmas, another Feng Shui holiday tip is to stop and consider where you’ll put your Christmas tree. Christmas trees can take up quite a bit of space and we need to consider what is the best spot for them in the bagua of our homes. Before you put your tree up, think about what it means to you? Why do you put it up? How do you decorate it? Perhaps, the tree should be placed in the “family” area of the bagua because, for you, it represents the gathering of your family. Or, if you’ve traveled extensively and have purchased ornaments as a physical remembrance of those travels, perhaps the tree should go in the travel & helpful area of the bagua. Taking a few moments to reflect and consider the meaning and feeling behind these decorations and traditions instead of just doing it the way it’s always been done, can help you bring calm and peace to your holidays. Feng Shui can help you transform your home into a joyful, rejuvenating, and peaceful place during the holidays, and any time of the year.
Another way to bring calm to the chaos of the holidays is to play music that soothes you and helps you focus. This can be particularly helpful when we’re in the car and dealing with traffic. Rush hour traffic can be tough to deal with anytime, but during the holidays it seems that “rush hour” becomes rush HOURS. Because we can’t always find a route that bypasses dense shopping areas and the traffic that surrounds them during this season, it’s helpful to find ways to deal with the frustration created by traffic. One of my favorite CDs is Don Campbell’s Music For the Mozart Effect, Vol. IV Focus and Clarity: Music for Projects and Study https://mozarteffect.labelstore.ca/718795650422-music-for-the-mozart-effect-vol-iv-focus-and-clarity-music-for-projects-and-study-digital-mp3.html . I also like to play this CD at home while I’m working.
Another favorite is Snatam Kaur’s Grace for Peaceful Calm. This is my “go-to” CD in the morning when I meditate. (Free YouTube: https://youtu.be/wh0IuOXxKnA?list=RDwh0IuOXxKnA – note that the picture gradually appears and then disappears. The point is the music!) I find that anything she sings is peaceful. Do you have some favorite holiday or spiritual music that calms you and brings you peace? It can be any kind of music as long as you love it and it has a peaceful effect on you. I’m always amazed at how music can lift me up, help me de-stress, and bring joy. We can control what we listen to in our homes and cars, why not choose music that helps us get through the holidays in a calm and peaceful way?
Don’t forget to take time out to meditate. Meditation is always important, but can really make the difference between a chaotic holiday season and a calm holiday season. Even just five minutes a day of quiet or guided meditation can help us have a positive and peaceful day. It doesn't matter whether you take your time at the kitchen table, at your desk, in your driveway before you leave for the day, or in a designated meditation space in your home, those few minutes help immensely.
There are many “little” things we can do to help bring calm to the chaos of the season and those “little” things bring big results. It’s so important, especially at this time of the year, to take care of yourself. Meditation as I’ve already mentioned is one way. Taking regular breaks and getting outside for a brief walk in nature can help you “reset” and de-stress. Yoga is a also very beneficial and, if you haven’t tried it before, look for a restorative style class. Practice compassion and mindfulness towards yourself and others. Remember, we don’t know the burdens others might be carrying with them, just as they don’t know ours. We can never go wrong when we choose kindness when dealing with others. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself, too! Respect your limitations and don’t push yourself to do more because you feel obligated. Yes, you’re allowed and encouraged to give yourself a break.
Do you remember a time when the holiday season seemed magical? When you truly looked forward to the time with family and/or friends without the stress and pressure casting a dark cloud over the celebrations? We can create a new holiday reality...a reality that focuses on calm, not chaos.