I love the holidays. No matter what is going on in my life or the world, they remain celebrations of light for me. Years ago, when my life changed, after a divorce, quitting my job, losing all but one of my old friends, and becoming an intuitive, I faced my first Christmas alone. I knew it was up to me to create the spirit of the season and that I’d have to do it differently. I bought a tree and put it up in my apartment. I found pine cones and painted them gold. I picked sprays of white flowers in nature and stuffed them in among the greenery. Inexpensive red plastic bulbs and hand-made ornaments completed my little masterpiece. My tree was decorated with love.
I made myself a traditional dinner and ate it to the sound of Silent Night. I went into meditation and spent my Christmas Eve in the same silence that was present in a manger so long ago. I held a quiet vigil and connected with the Christ energy in a way I had never done before in all my years of church and social gatherings.
On Christmas day, I woke up and opened the presents I had bought and wrapped for myself. It felt fun and somewhat liberating in a way. That finished, I made pancakes. I didn’t know what to do next so I sat until a local mountain popped in my mind. Bucking tradition, I put on my hiking clothes and headed for the hill! On top of a mountain, I met the kindest families. I was even serenaded by a kilt-wearing, happy, humorous Scottish exchange student whose friends had dragged him to the top, bagpipes and all! It was definitely not a traditional Christmas day but it was oh so much fun.
Over the years, I’ve recreated the holidays with my own traditions. Once a year, on Thanksgiving, I cook a twelve-course meal with all the trimmings. My house is filled with lights, greenery, and handmade decor. It smells of simmering cinnamon and orange on the stove, while outside, the yard is vibrant green, roses are blooming, lemons are ripening, and my late-season watermelon is still trying to decide if she will come to fruition. It is a beautiful time of year. The Presence of light fills my heart and home.
I’ve not been handed this on a silver platter. I made one choice at a time. I planted one plant with love at a time. I put in one tree at a time. I cook one dish at a time, and I put my trees up one ornament at a time. I love one client at a time. I save up for the gifts I want to share one day at a time. I sit with the Divine and receive love one minute at a time.
The world can get us down if we let it. People can be hurtful. Many of my relationships have changed over the years. Some have become brilliantly beautiful and others have sadly left. I’ve been loved, judged, praised, and crucified, but one thought at a time I choose to live in love. It is a lovely way to live, not only during the holidays but every day that we can.
Here are a few tips to help you add more love to your holidays…
1. Ask yourself what matters & be honest
No answer is more right, holy, or pleasing to the Divine when you ask yourself, “What matters?” than an honest answer. What matters to you may not matter to me. What matters to me may not matter to you. It is OK. You do you.
There is always a heaping list of expectations around the holidays, so before they get in full swing, stop, and ask yourself which activities really matter to you. Which make your heart and soul sing? Which feel like drudgery. No guilt here. No self-judgment. Just honesty.
Then resolve to either do what brings you joy or bring your joy to the things that usually don’t. You are in charge of your life. The external expectations may be huge, but ultimately those who truly love you would rather be around a happier version of you.
2. Be in the moment
If you’re going to enjoy something, bring your whole self to it. Focus on it or the people involved. Make your to-do-later lists if you must, but bring your focus into the now. Focus on the good. Focus on the beauty in the people around you. If people present something less, ask better questions of them. “How have you had fun this year? Have you don’t anything interesting? What is the best thing you learned this year?”
While I prefer having elevated conversations with others who choose to feel good, the angels have taught me that, with diplomacy and love, I can bring out the good in others. If I cannot steer a conversation towards greater love, I remain silent and imagine the light pouring from my heart to the other. That vibration, in and of itself, often shifts and elevates conversations.
3. Do more of what gives you joy
If a cup of hot cocoa, a warm blanket, and a movie bring you more joy than a holiday party, enjoy being authentic and cozy at home. If you want to attend a gathering but aren’t invited to one, create one of your own. Invite neighbors or people you find interesting. Do what calls to your own heart.
If you are grieving and missing a dear one, you may not feel like doing anything remotely related to what you once did. Drop into your heart and see what feels right to you right now. Sit quietly and allow your dear one in spirit – in their glorious, loving, light-filled reality – to embrace you. There is no more beautiful way to feel the spirit of the season than to allow a loved one in heaven to surround you and fill you with the love they live and abide in daily. You will miss what has been, but you can surrender to who they are now. You can sit, breathe, receive, and like that cold lamp or the empty manger, wait for their light to fill and illuminate you. You can create new traditions that honor their spirit and your eternal relationship.
It is not always easy to be true to yourself when there are so many long-standing traditions and expectations, but ultimately the holidays are about birthing the light within, and brining that light into a world in need. During the upcoming season I wish you a heart filled peace, joy, and the spirit of the season.
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