Holidays give you an opportunity to look at the bright side of things, give thanks for the blessings in your life and cherish the loving relationships that fuel you, including your relationship to a Higher Power. However, if you are dealing with a stressful situation or significant loss, the positive gets buried beneath inner turmoil and negative emotions.
I am sensitive to people who may be struggling with stressful situations or a life crisis during the holidays. For the past two holiday seasons, I grieved the loss of my parents. In their early 90s, they died around the beginning of December one year after the other. At first I thought.”How could they do this to us?” I soon realized that the holidays were their favorite time of year, and they left us in a festive atmosphere with sparkling lights and colorful decorations. They seemed to be telling us not to grieve for them because they had a good life.
The Christmas cheer did lift me out of my grief at times and wiped away my tears. I felt carried by grace in a quiet state of protection.
When you are stressed by some life challenge or coping with a life crisis, it may be difficult to focus on the positive. If you are able to shift your awareness and see the simple treasures around you for even a few moments, you will find yourself feeling comforted and uplifted.
Here are some ways that helped me through the last two holiday seasons:
- I let the love of my family and friends wrap itself around me. I did not feel alone.
- I felt deep gratitude that neither of my parents experienced a severe decline in the quality of their life. My father shopped in the grocery store four weeks before his diagnosis and death, and my mother was out celebrating her 92nd birthday the day before she died.
- On occasion I allowed the music, sights and sounds of Christmas to lift me out of myself. I went shopping and found a fun dress for my granddaughter. In my sorrow, it gave me pleasure.
- After my father’s death, our family had Christmas dinner together. We started a sing-along in a restaurant filled with strangers. My father loved to sing, and my daughter is a professional singer.
As you focus on your blessings instead of your challenges, you are open to the gift of grace. As you appreciate what is working in your life, you are filled with gratitude. And, as you let the holiday spirit lift you, you may notice a smile on your face. Life is constantly inviting you to change your perceptions. While you cannot change circumstances once they have shown up in your life, you can choose how you will deal with them. In this season of celebration, I wish everyone moments of hope, love and peace.