For many people these holidays are about giving.
But what about giving to yourself and do you know what you actually need?
For some these holidays include the giving of gifts (e.g. Christmas, Hanukkah or Yule) but for most people there is some form of giving of your time that is involved i.e. social events that require time and energy. Often family is part of this package and often we say yes to events that we really want to say no to or we say yes but wonder why we have no energy or enthusiasm when we do attend the event.
Give yourself the gift of honesty this holiday – the gift of self-care and listening to your needs. Maybe it will be best to stay at home and have some me-time, maybe it will feel right to join in a little later or to leave a little earlier.
Perhaps some of you see this as selfish? But rather than being self-centered in an arrogant way that is disrespectful of others I am referring to being self-caring in a way that is respectful of yourself and can certainly be carried out in a respectful way towards others.
I have learned over time to not reply immediately to invitations and instead to feel it out. (I actually do this with many decisions these days…if I have time!) So I thought I would share this little practice with you to be used for your own good:
Step 1: Find your base line
Find a quite space, relax your body whether lying or sitting and then focus on your breath. Use the path of your breath to draw your awareness into your body. There is no right or wrong way to breathe but do try to breathe a little slower and more deliberately. Then take your focus to your heart space in the middle of your chest (this is a space of intuition and relating). Feel what that it feels like - any sensations you that notice. Sit and observe without judgement. Also sit and observe the rest of your body without judgement. This will give you your baseline.
Step 2: Feel a No
Think of the word 'no' or something that is a real no for you e.g. if you are allergic to exercise think of running a marathon. Notice what happens in your body and in your heart space. I tend to feel like my body becomes heavier and there is a sinking feeling throughout me. There is even a feeling of constriction around my heart. You may feel something different or similar. Again there is no right or wrong way to feel.
Step 3: Feel a Yes
Think of the word ‘yes’ or a situation or a person that brings up a big ‘Yes’ for you. What happens in your body and in your heart space? For me there is a lightness, a feeling of lifting in my body and heart as if I am being lifted up and filled with light and energy.
NOTE: At some point you may also notice a nagging feeling that feels like a no but is actually fear. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between the two but the more you do this the more you’ll be able to differentiate. This will often come up for people who are afraid of getting this wrong i.e. pressure to perform. The fear is often in the stomach/gut and feels a bit like twisting or a knot or rock. Notice the fear, acknowledge it without judging it and sit with it, observing it. You’ll notice that it goes away as you shine your attention onto it.
Step 4: Ask yourself a truth question
This needs to be phrased precisely and not giving two options as in asking a “ should I do this or that?” question. e.g. “Is it in my best interests to go to the function tomorrow night?”, or “Considering all known factors am I serving my truth by attending the party with X?” or even “Am I serving my higher self and needs by eating this?” (after all, this technique can be used for any questions in relation to yourself)
The word serving may bring up stuff for some people around self-serving. However, this is about self-care and self-honesty. If we are able to care for ourselves, it will enable us to be better people for others too and to give more of ourselves, as well as experience the world as a far easier and more joyful place. Doing things that don’t serve us drains our energy, makes us resentful and can even make us irritable and depressed - and that is no good for yourself or anyone else.
Give yourself the gift of hearing and honouring your truth this holiday. This gets easier the more you do it so don't give up too easily!
Maybe in the new year I will have to focus on how to say no to others!!
BONUS GIFT: Last post I included a meditation around tapping into an abundance of energy and being open to receiving. In case you missed it here it is again: