This wonderful guest post from Evita Ochel at Evolving Beings was originally published on my blog last holiday season. I felt a strong wish to share it with you once again due to its timely, helpful, and enduring message.
The winter holidays are right around the corner, and this can leave many of us scrambling and rushing, emotionally exhausted, experiencing more stress than perhaps at any other time of the year.
One of the main reasons that this happens, is that modern society has carved out a very particular “pattern” of what the holidays are supposed to be all about. Mainly shopping, eating, drinking and more shopping.
While some may find this cycle amusing, most move through it unconsciously, fulfilling surface level desires, rather than attaining a deeper meaning and inner peace from their thoughts, words and actions.
The Buddha taught the Eightfold Path for releasing oneself from misery, suffering or dissatisfaction. Out of the 8 tenets, there are 4 that I find can be especially helpful to be extra conscious of around the holidays.
They are, having the right View, Intention, Speech and Action.
And thus this Holiday Season, I invite you to put a different kind of VISA to use – the most important VISA.
V – View
Take time this holiday season, to reflect on your views about this holiday. Our views, are shaped by our beliefs. Our beliefs are shaped by our past experiences, which were shaped by the thoughts and views we chose to have about them – consciously or unconsciously.
Allow yourself this holiday season to birth new views. Start with all the things that surround the holidays, like your views on gift giving, shopping, the meals you will make or eat, the company you will be with, the traditions you have always held, religious beliefs, and the list goes on.
Give yourself this holiday season, perhaps the best gift ever, by freeing yourself from unconscious, conditioned views that are holding you back today and limiting your true happiness. This can help set you free from doing things simply out of obligation or expectation. It can also expand your being, and broaden your views and understanding of yourself.
I – Intention
When it comes to intention, while this is normally the major piece of how we attract things into our life, there is a deeper role for it in our lives.
What is the intention behind everything that you do during the holidays?
Why do you buy gifts? Is it because that is what everyone else seems to be doing? Is it to be nice? To fit in? To have people like you?
Asking ourselves questions like that about each aspect of the holidays, begins to help us understand why we do what we do, and understand ourselves better. When we leave the unconscious habits behind, we begin to operate on a more conscious, peace and happiness filled level.
Thus, be honest with yourself and find out what your true intention is behind all the aspects of the holidays, and at the same time, set new, conscious intentions for each of your words and actions that truly come from the heart.
S – Speech
The holidays see many of us gather with family, friends and coworkers. And while this can be a great delight and joyous part of the season, it can also be a very stressful and emotionally draining time. Why is that?
The main reason is, what people choose to talk about. At family gatherings, all too often old hurts are brought up, family members pick on each other or criticize the way holiday traditions are handled. With friends or coworkers, talk can center around gossip.
This holiday season, be mindful of all that you choose to say. The holidays can be a beautiful time to share stories, memories and feelings about each other. But we have to make sure that all those are rooted in love, compassion and kindness. If not, may we remember the wise saying, that if we have nothing good to say, let us not speak at all.
A – Action
Finally, aside from putting the right views, intention and speech to use, may we also not forget about all of our actions.
So many people in our world today, still make the holidays all about the actions of shopping and cooking, generating a lot of stress for both themselves and their loved ones.
Consciously re-examine your actions this holiday season. Ask yourself what really matters. We shop aimlessly, often out of obligation, trying to fill deeper voids within, only to be confronted with the consequences when the bills come to get paid.
This holiday season, release yourself from pain and suffering, by taking time and investing in conscious, heart-centered actions that really matter.
Instead of exchanging gifts, consider volunteering as a family at a homeless shelter. Instead of overeating, consider giving away some of the food to someone else in need. Instead of drinking alcohol, consider engaging in conversations with others, that are deep and meaningful for expanding the soul.
In the end, only you know best what the holidays are all about for you and how you would like to spend them. Let us just remember that the holidays have as their foundation love, compassion, kindness, relaxation and fun.
If your holidays have lost any of that, or have added in things like stress, worry, anxiety or fear, I invite you this holiday season to re-examine this time of year and your approach to it. Use the VISA that really matters where deep peace, meaning and happiness are concerned, paying it forward to others, with no bills in return.
About the author: Evita Ochel, B.Sc., B.Ed., CHN – is the founder and editor of EvolvingBeings.com - an online publication featuring various topics on spirituality and metaphysics.
If this article spoke to you, please consider sharing the link with your friends. Thanks for your support! With love, Sandra