Ho Ho Ho,
Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Sending you my very best as we step into the New year continuing to ride this wave into the unknown.
“It's the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you "be of good cheer"...
It's the hap-happiest season of all...”
Thanksgiving, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year — for most of us this holiday season equals joy and celebration. The joy of Christmas goes deeper than the sweet flavors of gingerbread, cinnamon and oranges, the happiness on a child's face, and the beautiful lights wrapped around the trees.
However for some people, this hectic time is also filled with sadness, self-reflection, loneliness, anxiety about the future and stress caused by unrealistic expectations, pointless gifts, financial pressures, excessive commitments, over-commercialization. Unless we manage holiday stress, we can wind up with consequences like insomnia, headaches, excessive drinking, overeating and winter blues. Prioritizing self-care and making a plan for “what if” can eliminate unnecessary stress and anxiety.
Besides stress in human psychology, staying with the visceral experience of joy can also arouse parts of us that don’t feel worthy of feeling good or feeling of not enough, bringing up negative emotions. Do not rush to label yourself as Scrooge or Grinch ;). Those competing feelings always have roots in the past or in social conditioning. Therefore, the various feelings that come up when we feel joy will need processing too, especially if they block or prevent joy from flourishing inside.
When we encounter obstacles, it helps to acknowledge them with a stance of acceptance, kindness, and compassion towards ourselves. And, then....get even more curious about your growing relationship to this nourishing core emotion - joy. Like dedicating time to building our physical strength, it is worth the effort to build a greater capacity for joy.
Here are 5 self-help tips to create more joy within you:
1. Awareness. Look for little daily moments of joy to build on: petting a dog, watching the sunrise, noticing a flower or bud withstanding winter weather, a delicious cup of hot chocolate, a connection made by a friend or stranger, a favorite song, or a funny moment in a tv show. If you look for these micro-moments of joy, you will find them. When you do, notice them for what they are: a little moment of pleasure.
2. Appreciation. Don't put pressure on yourself to hold them, don't worry about their fleeting nature, and do not beat yourself up for not feeling more joy than you do. Just let the moment be what it is.
3. Curiosity. Focus how this moment of joy feels. We often focus on negative emotions, while letting the joy flee unconsciously. Notice what sensations arise in your body. Scan your body from head to toe and toe to head, with a stance of curiosity and acceptance towards your inner world, to notice and describe the sensations.
4. Expansion. Where your focus goes, energy flows. Enjoy the sensations and physical expansion that joy viscerally evokes. Use Deep belly breathing to keep the joy flowing. (Holding the breath is a common way we stop emotions). If you experience tension or anxiety, try imagining that your body grows bigger to accommodate all that you feel inside. Make sure your posture is upright and open to again help make room for the full experience of the joy.
5. According to Osho, joy is the spiritual dimension of happiness, in which one begins to understand one's intrinsic value and place in the universe. Accepting joy is a decision to "go with the flow," to be grateful to be alive and for all the challenges and opportunities in life, rather than setting conditions or demands for happiness.
Here is a couple more quotes by Osho to contemplate and inspire you on your journey:
“The more you run, the more miserable you will be. Happiness is that moment of rest when there is no more running, when you are just at rest, when you are simply there where you are, when you do not move even an inch. And then, in that moment of rest, there is happiness, there is nothing but happiness. Meditate over this.” - Osho
"To be in tune, to be harmonious with the universe, is bliss, is joy, is music, is poetry. You start blooming the moment you are in tune with the whole. Whenever you are not in tune with the whole, something goes berserk in you. Then the whole no more nourishes you; then you are no more rooted in the whole. Then you become an uprooted tree, then you are undernourished. Then your green foliage starts disappearing. Then flowers can’t happen to you, because flowers are possible only when you are overflooded with joy, overflowing with joy." - Osho
Rest, regroup and refuel in preparation for the new way of life, and it is not even just around the corner. Perhaps someone is struggling to find it because it is too close - it is within.
Gift yourself a gift of unapologetic luxury of joy - and soon you will realize that JOY isn’t for special few - it is the natural way of being.
I wish during this festive time you will be able to recharge and reconnect with your high self and anything you may have put on hold for too long and start the New year replenished and empowered.
And I am always here to support you on your journey!
Sending the warmth of joy to you!
Much Love, Uriya