You are likely busier than ever this holiday season. Perhaps wrapping gifts, making plans, and trying to complete just “one more project” before year’s end.
However, what are you doing for yourself?
By planting these four seedlings (you can start anytime!) the fruit they bear will echo through our relationships year-round. They are meant to build not divide, strengthen not weaken, and to accept rather than push away. These gifts focus on yourself and will ultimately expand your capacity to love others. We can all dive deeper into these practices no matter what season of life.
Care to join me? Here are the four gifts that you can start giving to yourself that will have lasting impacts on your relationships and your state of mind.
Does the thought of it stress you out? Meditation is necessary. I pondered for a few minutes here. Should I really imply it’s required? Other words such as, useful, important, and relaxing are all accurate definitions of meditation….it’s also necessary.
Meditation is not an active prayer of asking, wanting, and seeking. It allows you to release the grip on what you think “should be” and bring yourself into a state of pure receptivity. Saying the Rosary type of prayer can be a meditation because the words are not attached to thought because they are flowing through you as they are repeated. I invite you to have a listen below to my brief intro to meditation. I promise it’s not supposed to feel complicated. Experiment with background noise, a crackling fire, or even staring at a candle flame. It is in that place, the stillness, where we truly receive the quiet whispers and intuitive hits that are calling out to manifest through us.
2. Listen More & Talk Less
The old saying “God gave us one mouth, and two ears for a reason” makes sense. Can we listen more to others and release the intention to fix, explain, and make our point? So much can be understood in those moments if we listen, and a beautiful bond of intimacy seems to connect us with an invisible thread.
Sometimes, people would reveal more if they didn’t feel rushed or questioned. Their choices of words, volume, intonation, and body language all tell a story and reveal parts of themselves to us. We all have vulnerabilities that we don’t share.
Try this experiment, and you may receive deeper understanding and soulful connections in ways you never thought possible. Listen to someone share in their grief or their triumph and excitement. Refrain from personalizing their story with your life events. They are not the same. Similar at best, but not the same. Try to add nothing about your kids, your mom, your friend. It’s their story, not yours. Instead, give them the space to share. This can be just what a soul needs to feel seen, or better yet, felt. There are certainly times to share parallels and similarities, and many times not.
Sometimes the most helpful thing we can say is, “I don’t know how, but I’m here with you for whatever happens, and I am choosing to believe it will work out.” Or “when you come up for air, I will be right here.” This moment can feel like a gift to someone. Like a deep exhale they never knew they needed. “Likewise, don’t we all need more fans and believers? Celebrate in the moments of joy that others share about their kids, work, reaching wellness goals…all of it!” Giving is getting.
Might I add here, I am so grateful for our dooable coaches for valuing this path with those they coach through the Journey 2 Healthy program. Getting healthier is not just about what we’re eating. It’s so much about what’s eating us. We must feel it to heal it, so it’s a process for which no quick fix exists. In the land of broken hearts, loss, and illness, bypassing emotions too quickly keep us buried and feeling heavy.
3. Speak Up
I don’t mean in an “I am woman hear me roar sort of way,” nor in an “I’m the boss because I said so” way. I mean, in a how do you really feel sort of way.
Emotional literacy is crucial because it peeks under the hood into our true feelings. For example, when we come home from a lousy day and are noticeably irritated, chuck our keys on the counter, and say we’re pissed off. What exactly is the other person supposed to do with that?
How about we practice better emotional literacy for true healing and positive outcomes?
“I feel overwhelmed because my boss just moved the deadline to a week earlier!”
Or we can say, “I feel insignificant…it’s as if I weren’t even in that meeting”!
Another way to expand your emotional literacy would be “I feel so guilty that I snapped at my son before dropping him at school. I was just tired, but so was he.”
Give yourself the gift of compassion by aiming to better understand your feelings, and in doing so, others will be able to respond in a way that doesn’t trap them and helps you.
This is a true win -win! We become more compassionate and stop the cycle of immediately judging someone’s behavior.
4. Get Creative
So many of us are beating the drum of discontent, and I get it! There’s much to feel down about, and equally, there is much to feel ecstatic and grateful. Opposite ends of the same stick, right? Which one do you choose to put your attention on?
Not easy work…in fact, it is the work that’s so challenging because when life’s conditions are staring you in the face, man oh man…tough stuff! A great way to distract ourselves and give our bodies and hearts a brief reprieve is to get creative and give inspiration a fantastic place to land…YOU!
What creative juices have you placed on hold or ignored? When did you allow life to rob you of…well…the essence of you? Here are a few ideas:
- Prepare a healthy colorful meal. This doesn’t need to take a ton of time or dollars. Ceremoniously prepare it alone or with others and take a photo of your creation. Bon Appetit! What a great way to dive into your five senses that cooking brings!
- Turn off the news and turn on the tunes. Maintain your home’s sacred space so that negativity has to try very hard to bust in! Sing, dance, turn it UP and feel it move through you. If this feels “wild” to you, you may be long overdue for some fun! The more music I bring in, the more joy I feel. So give it a twirl…dance and sing!
- Write. A song, a journal entry, a poem, log your dreams, anything and everything you wish to capture. Thoughts create worlds, and writing is so powerful for healing. The act of getting it out of your head and onto paper feels profoundly transformational, and research backs up how new neural pathways are created in the brain when we write. Ahhh… the good old school days of pencil and paper. Rediscover the gift of handwritten notes and journaling.
In those moments when you feel nostalgia creeping in, sit with it because what you resist persists. Perhaps it’s the smell of wrapping paper that takes you back in time. Or the tune that hits your heart with all the feels. Maybe a photo of a snowy village brings back memories of past family gatherings. Perhaps it’s the empty chairs (I know this pain) that flat out breaks your heart. Is it the words left unsaid that now can never be said? When nostalgia comes…understand it for the roller coaster it is, and there is quite possibly no getting off.
As the great Kahlil Gibran once wrote –
“When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
We wish you blessings for health, hope, and the abundance of all you desire now and into 2022.
XO, Jeanine and the dooable health team