Stretched | ItOne of the reasons the holidays can be so challenging is that we add so much more responsibility to our already very busy lives, until they’re stretched to the breaking point. It’s in these busy times of holiday stress that we often get sloppy and careless in the way we conduct our lives. We fall into grumpy old habits that don’t make ourselves or anyone else around us feel good.

It’s times like these when a purposeful personal check-in can be most important. When we have the ability to step back from life and observe how we interact with others, we are actually practicing a meditative state. This simple act of stepping outside of entangled circumstances allows us to make choices that release us from saying things we wished we hadn’t said or hurting people with our impatience and anger.

I often say to students that it is very easy to be kind and generous when life is skipping along happily, but what happens when life pulls the rug out from underneath you? Then what? Do you have the ability to stand strong, and understand that this too shall pass? Or do you subscribe to the disorder around you?

These simple questions pull it all in for me. Checking in makes it really easy for me to understand what my daily practice does for me. Basically, it makes room in my heart, mind, and spirit to accept and relate to whatever might show up, at any time. I guess that statement begs the question: Do I ever get thrown off course when life is stretched? And the answer is absolutely YES, but the difference now is that I know when this happens, and in most cases, I have the ability to take the space I need to resolve my confusion before I react.

How about looking at the speedy pace of the holidays differently this year? Offer yourself the greatest gift there is: self care. Treat your life with the sweet respect you deserve. Through that practice, you will shine so brightly that you will serve those around you by giving them an experience of happiness.

It’s occurred to me that self-awareness is the most generous gift we can give to the world.