Happy December! Welcome to the season of lights. We look forward to the holidays as a time to inspire joy, gratitude and generosity in our lives. We celebrate our friends, family and close connections. For many, though, this time brings up feelings of fear and loneliness, something few are comfortable confronting.
It’s easy to distract ourselves from these feelings by engaging in the shopping frenzy encouraged by the commercial side of the holidays. Many of us purchase well in excess of what is needed. We have bought in to the notion that the number of gifts or amount spent expresses our level of love and gratitude. We worry if the gift(s) is enough. We are afraid to disappoint. We look at the gift as a reflection of our love and fear being judged for not giving enough. This fear gives rise to the fear of being excluded. We worry about not being invited or included in holiday events. So we purchase more in order to avoid being left out. I might point out that all of holiday gift giving is a construct of our culture. We could agree to stop all gift giving and love our friends and family just the same. But the pull to participate is a great force, equally fueled by the fear and love that drives it.
By recognizing this we can see the holidays as a ripe opportunity to confront these deeply rooted fears. These fears keep us from being joyful and free. To face our fears is one of our life’s missions. The key to the journey is giving these fears our undivided presence by feeling them until they flame out. We need to feel the fears, wholly and completely, without engaging the story. In the spirit of the holidays, this is one of the best gifts we can give ourselves.
You might wonder why so many opt not to confront fears. Or why so many people stay stuck in old, unhealthful ways. What we aren’t told is most of our fears have roots in our childhood. When a current life event activates a fear originating from our childhood, we tend to feel and react as we did then. They still feel very scary. We forget we are grown up now, able to handle things differently. How do we teach our own children to process fear? We show them by facing our own. If you find yourself blaming others for something you are unhappy about in your life, odds are pretty good you are avoiding your own deeply suppressed feelings.
I am filled with so much gratitude for this time and the year that is almost over. We are so close to bidding 2015 farewell. Much has been experienced and much has changed. Be still and listen. Be bold. Face your fears. They were never meant to stay with you your whole life, merely responses to situations once beyond your control. Face life. Be kind and love whenever possible. Kindness is the footprint of the divine. I hope you feel inspired to adventure greatly this month and in the coming year. You and each in your family are a gift to this world. Remember this well and go for it. Be the most amazing gift you can possibly be.
Wishing you the brightest holiday season ever.