I love the holidays.
In fact, right now, I'm drinking my tea, admiring my little Christmas tree that we put up just yesterday, with it's twinkly lights and ornaments that remind me of the places we've travelled, the loved ones who gave them to us, and it fills me with all the warm fuzzies.
This is a time of year when we spend more time with family, surround ourselves with great food, and delight as the little kids revel in the magic of Christmas. When this time of year comes around, I can't help but think of this quote by Ram Dass:
Kind of cracks me up, to be honest.
Family - the people who know you the best, and so, have a tendency to know exactly how to push your buttons.
This year in particular, we'll be having a quiet Christmas at home in Banff, with the rest of our family across the country in Ontario. But I wanted to share with you a practice that I often use when I'm visiting family that helps me to show up in a kind and compassionate way. This is a busy time of year - the stress can mount as we face the shopping malls and hustle to make sure we have everything ready. Even if you're not spending time with family, this practice can be a great way to bring more kindness to your heart... after all, isn't that what the holidays are all about?
This is a practice called Metta, or lovingkindness. When I'm practicing metta I notice my gratitude is amplified AND I feel more loving and kind not only towards those I know - but strangers too.
I recommend practicing this at night before bed. As you relax, cozy under your blankets, silently repeat these phrases, sending yourself love and kindness:
- May I hold myself with compassion
- May I treat others with kindness
- May I release anything that clouds my heart
- May I be at peace
You can repeat these over a few times and likely that will put you to sleep. You can also repeat these phrases, sending them towards someone you love, or even, someone who challenges you.
Not only does it feel good, but metta practices are shown to enhance our health, psychological well-being, relationships and sense of purpose.
Wishing you all a safe, happy and loving holiday season.
If you are in the Bow Valley, I'd love for you to join me for a metta themed practice at my monthly meet up "The Quiet Club."
Join me on December 20th, 8:45 - 9:45am at Etana Wellness in Canmore where we'll reflect on this quality of lovingkindness and compassion through a metta practice. These gatherings always include teaching, discussion, journalling and practice. Hope to see you there.