The last two years have been a time of unprecedented turmoil, uncertainty, and fear. Never in our lifetimes have we been confronted by so many challenges at work, at home and in our communities. And yet, we are now embarking on the season that is traditionally spoken about as a time to embody peace, joy and gratitude. Are these states of being even possible amid such chaos?
In the many years that I have been practicing mindful leadership and coaching, I have seen in myself and others that the single biggest barrier to embodying peace is to believe that it is conditioned on something happening or changing. For example:
- ‘When I get that promotion, I will have peace’ or
- ‘When everything goes back to normal, I will find peace.’
True peace is a state of being that originates within us. It is a willingness to turn toward and to be with things just as they are.
Peacefulness is a by-product of letting go of wanting to control or change the people or things around us. This is not about giving up or apathy. It is about letting go of the struggle to make the world conform to how we want it to be.
When we let go in this way, we find the spaciousness to reflect on what is here, and then to make a conscious choice about the skilful next step. We are expanding our repertoire of how we meet the moments of our lives by seeing what is already here with greater clarity and compassion.
In this season, the word ‘joy’ is splattered everywhere we look…greeting cards, store displays and town banners. But what does it really mean? Joy is different from happiness. Happiness is a triggered emotion. It most often is fleeting and arises in response to something external.
Joy, however, arises from an internal peacefulness with who you are, and how you choose to meet and greet the world.
Cultivating joy requires us to engage in quiet reflection, noticing our basic humanity and goodness, and it invites us to make wise and compassionate choices about our life, and the lives we influence.
Joy is not fleeting; it is a state of being we can strengthen each day.
As I begin to quieten down and think back on the past year, I am grateful for the successes I’ve had despite the many challenges. I’ve presented a number of programs, from very large to intimate, and feel so blessed to have had the opportunities to share the gifts of coaching, meditation, mindfulness, and many transformational programs with my clients. My immense gratitude for my clients, my amazing supporters and staff, and those who continue to refer and recommend me and my services cannot be overstated – remember to thank your body, mind, and the earth for supporting you too.
I encourage you to find ways to stay grounded and at peace despite all the hustle and bustle surrounding you over the festive season. December is a great time to take stock of what you have in your life that has meaning, and edit out what is weighing you down and causing negative thoughts or emotions.
Here are some tips that may help you:
- Reflect on what is important to you – be intentional about who you spend time with and how you spend your time. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good. Remember why we celebrate the holidays in the first place.
- Reach out to a neighbour or co-worker who may be living with the loneliness that is often magnified during the holidays, and if you’re feeling sad or lonely, reach out to family, friends, local community programs, hotlines, etc.
- Let go of the idea of perfection. The perfect food, the perfect gathering, the perfect gift – none of these things exist. Spend money wisely – often the most appreciated and thoughtful gifts are the least expensive. You don’t need to impress anyone. This is a time to share your love, time and affection – things many people value far above any material gifts.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Stick to your daily routine (if you don’t have one, start now!), continue to feed your body with healthy food, and maintain your fitness and meditation practices to keep your body and mind calm and stress-free. If you need some help, check out my Calm Your Farm online program.
- Look up and Smile. You’ll be surprised how just faking it really can bring you to making it. For the most part, you’ll only be spending a few hours at a time at holiday get-togethers, so do your best to put aside any negative feelings and just smile. Smile until it hurts! Okay, I’m kidding, but you get the idea.
As we near the closing of another difficult year, I thank YOU from the bottom of my heart for being a part of my journey. I wish for you and those you love, a peaceful and joyous Festive Season.
I will hold space for you in my heart over the holidays and offer you these wishes…. May you be safe, May you be calm, and May you be well.
PS: If you need help to manage stress, calm your nervous system and improve your sleep, join me every Monday at midday (Brisbane time) for free 15mins online guided mindfulness practice. If you’re keen to establish, maintain and sustain a new discipline and habit of mindfulness, check out my online Calm Your Farm program, packed with 31 days of guided practices personally delivered by yours truly – whether you’re a beginner or experienced in mindfulness meditation, I’m sure you’ll love it. There’s a 100% money back guarantee to back up my promise to you!