Step 1: Intention
What is it that you intend to experience this holiday season? Deepen emotional connection with your loved ones? Or simply have oodles of fun? Once committed to your intention, count on it that nothing can stay in the way of fulfilling it!
Step 2: Bless the Event
The significance of blessing something or someone is more apparent in romance languages: “Benediction”, which, loosely translated it means “Speaking Goodness”. For any atheists out there: think of the power of your mind over reality, and think of the act of blessing equivalent with having something good to say about the event, and just do it in advance. For the spiritual soul who is reading this: the act of blessing is a kind of transmission from Spirit, or the infinite, eternal Presence, loving kindness and wisdom, through the medium of language. Just say: “May my entire stay with my family be blessed, and may everything that has to do with it, from preparation to travel to returning home, be blessed” – use your own words.
Step 3: Wake Up
If you haven’t reached the stage of Self-Realization yet, it is unrealistic to think you’ll reach it before Christmas. But thank God for States of consciousness! Place yourself into a higher state of consciousness through self-inquiry or any spiritual practice you are familiar with. All you need to remember is that fear, resentment and anger can only occur when there is a Self and an Other. By expanding your identity to include everyone else, including the annoying Uncle Harry, only love can flow. From the perspective of separate ego, another’s criticism, nagging, gossiping or complaining can affect you; at the perspective of Pure Consciousness, the most that can happen is “Criticism / nagging / gossiping / complaining is arising within my awareness” and “I am this awareness, which remains unchanged even as I witness finite objects (such as criticism etc.) arising and falling”.
The good news, remember: the more time you spend in a certain state, the faster it becomes a trait (stage).
Step 4: Shadow Work
By integrating the very disowned parts of your psyche which show up as annoying traits and behaviors in ‘another’, in second (you) and third (it, him, her, they) person perspective, your heart opens to compassion and to make room for even the more difficult of your family members. Use the 3-2-1 process “Face it, Talk to it, and Become it” from the Integral Life Practice book by Terry Patten et al.
3: Dad has such a negative attitude, he’s like a wet rag on my party!
2: Dad, you have such a negative attitude, you ruin all the cheer in the room.
1: I can’t help being in such a bad mood, and I am so unhappy about it, it looks like I destroy the evening for the others. At this point, an insight, or ‘aha moment’ might arise, such as: “Wow, my Dad and I are two grumpy people at a happy event.” Chances are you’ll want to go hug Dad and already feel better for it.
Step 5: Agree to Feel
If you have been triggered, and caught unprepared for it, the worst you can do is hold your breath and argue with your feelings about it.
The best you can do is to agree to feel the way you do, whether it’s annoyed, angry, sad or fearful, and stay present with the feelings, breathing consciously, slowly and fully.
Emergency Bonus Step:
When everything else fails, remember you only have a few hours or days to endure, and it’s soon going to be over. Not the ideal or most spiritual step, but it can help you keep your initial commitment of having fun this holiday season!
And fun it shall be!
May you and yours be blessed, may your expanded identity and open heart be blessed, may this holiday season be joyful for you and yours, and may your New Year 2013 be truly blessed in every aspect of your living!