Fight the Holidays Blues

 

 

 

Ho, Ho, Ho. Happy holidays: Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Warm Winter Solstice. Most cultures through the ages, all over the Northern hemisphere, have holidays of rebirth and new beginnings.

Ho, Ho, Ho. Happy holidays: Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Warm Winter Solstice. Most cultures through the ages, all over the Northern hemisphere, have holidays of rebirth and new beginnings.

But, because days are becoming shorter here in the North, and because expectations for holidays are high, many people fight with depression, anxiety, aloneness and disappointment. The first thing to remember is that many people share these challenges this time of year. The next is to give yourself permission to feel some sadness and all the related emotions, but not to get lost in them or wallow in them. In our society many people use some form of opiates, or anti-depressants when feeling low. Sometimes this may be necessary over a period of time when the deep hole of depression, or the crushing immobility of anxiety, keep us from functioning at all. But, I feel that we are usually better off without them, and that they are definitely not the solution for a bout with general holiday blues. If we lower our expectations of the season, and raise our acceptance of whatever happens, we can do better.

Think of a holiday meal, for example. Maybe you are invited to a family gathering. You know uncle Eddie (or uncle Bob or aunt Jean) will be there and that he always ends up attacking your political beliefs. Well, if he always does, he probably is going to this year as well. So, why not be ready for him? Have questions ready, such as what he feels is working well on his side of the political arena. Then listen to him, but take none of it to heart. Uncle Eddie is just who uncle Eddie is. It is not your work to change him.

But what if you find yourself alone and lonely? Why not help someone less fortunate than you? Many churches, charities, and food kitchens either give out, or serve up, holiday dinners. One year during the holidays I had moved far away from anyone I knew, and I had very little money. I volunteered packing food for giveaways and served up holiday meals. I met all kinds of new people and made new friends. I was simply too busy to feel bad for myself.

Anxiety during holidays can be very tricky, of course. What if you think of the family gathering and you get an anxiety attack? What if you think of shopping for gifts and you feel you have no control? You can beat it! I have seen so many people get on the other side of those feelings. Take baby steps. You can call in sick to family gatherings, just as you would to work. If you have anxiety, your life is probably overly demanding, and not serving you well. Give yourself time out, reflect on what you can change, and make a new plan. Or, read up on self-hypnosis, affirmations and guided imagery. See yourself next year as a person that doesn’t have anxiety. You can manifest the changes you desire.

This is a season of unique beauty. There is a deep history of people coming together to celebrate the return of more sunlight. The year I was far away from everyone I knew, I walked down the nearby Downtown. I was an observer as you can only be if you are new to a place, and have no specific role in it yet. I observed people shopping, laughing, fretting, scurrying. I saw the beauty of the snow and the cold and the decorations everywhere. Most of all I observed it as just life and just another season.

The holidays have the potential to be miserable, or to be joyous. The only thing that can make a difference is our attitudes, our expectations, and our acceptance. The good news is that this is something we have influence over. This season is a time of giving and loving and that applies to ourselves as well. Let’s teach ourselves as you would a child you love and are responsible for. Set some standards, expect the best, applaud every victory and be loving and forgiving all the way. Then you will also have the energy to give others what they need – to be truly generous, as we should be during the time of the holidays.

But, because days are becoming shorter here in the North, and because expectations for holidays are high, many people fight with depression, anxiety, aloneness and disappointment. The first thing to remember is that many people share these challenges this time of year. The next is to give yourself permission to feel some sadness and all the related emotions, but not to get lost in them or wallow in them. In our society many people use some form of opiates, or anti-depressants when feeling low. Sometimes this may be necessary over a period of time when the deep hole of depression, or the crushing immobility of anxiety, keep us from functioning at all. But, I feel that we are usually better off without them, and that they are definitely not the solution for a bout with general holiday blues. If we lower our expectations of the season, and raise our acceptance of whatever happens, we can do better.

Think of a holiday meal, for example. Maybe you are invited to a family gathering. You know uncle Eddie (or uncle Bob or aunt Jean) will be there and that he always ends up attacking your political beliefs. Well, if he always does, he probably is going to this year as well. So, why not be ready for him? Have questions ready, such as what he feels is working well on his side of the political arena. Then listen to him, but take none of it to heart. Uncle Eddie is just who uncle Eddie is. It is not your work to change him.

But what if you find yourself alone and lonely? Why not help someone less fortunate than you? Many churches, charities, and food kitchens either give out, or serve up, holiday dinners. One year during the holidays I had moved far away from anyone I knew, and I had very little money. I volunteered packing food for giveaways and served up holiday meals. I met all kinds of new people and made new friends. I was simply too busy to feel bad for myself.

Anxiety during holidays can be very tricky, of course. What if you think of the family gathering and you get an anxiety attack? What if you think of shopping for gifts and you feel you have no control? You can beat it! I have seen so many people get on the other side of those feelings. Take baby steps. You can call in sick to family gatherings, just as you would to work. If you have anxiety, your life is probably overly demanding, and not serving you well. Give yourself time out, reflect on what you can change, and make a new plan. Or, read up on self-hypnosis, affirmations and guided imagery. See yourself next year as a person that doesn’t have anxiety. You can manifest the changes you desire.

This is a season of unique beauty. There is a deep history of people coming together to celebrate the return of more sunlight. The year I was far away from everyone I knew, I walked down the nearby Downtown. I was an observer as you can only be if you are new to a place, and have no specific role in it yet. I observed people shopping, laughing, fretting, scurrying. I saw the beauty of the snow and the cold and the decorations everywhere. Most of all I observed it as just life and just another season.

The holidays have the potential to be miserable, or to be joyous. The only thing that can make a difference is our attitudes, our expectations, and our acceptance. The good news is that this is something we have influence over. This season is a time of giving and loving and that applies to ourselves as well. Let’s teach ourselves as you would a child you love and are responsible for. Set some standards, expect the best, applaud every victory and be loving and forgiving all the way. Then you will also have the energy to give others what they need – to be truly generous, as we should be during the time of the holidays.

First appeared in December issue of The Echo World Magazine

The Art of Living Life Magically

The Art of Living Life Magically
Okay, so this month is June. I seem to have been confused about that last issue, but I am pretty sure this piece of writing will be printed in June. It is easy to get confused when you are working on three issues of a magazine at once. Believe me.
As I write, I think of magic as I often do. For me magic is a way of viewing reality and moving in the world. It can have moments like those we imagine the magician Merlin had in the legends of King Arthur, or similar to Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, and even those experienced  by the characters in Harry Potter. But usually, it shows in the simple things.
There is no TV in our home. We don’t watch it. Occasionally we watch a downloaded movie for relaxation. But usually, we try to spend our time savoring our lives, rather than escaping into the make believe and far-off dramas of mainstream media. We try and keep our food intake simple and healthy. We are hardly purists, but we eat lots of vegetables and greens from our garden and drink many homemade herbal teas.
Real magic, I believe, has lots to do with intent and expectations. If I intend my life to be filled with magic, it is more likely to be. If I expect magic to exist everywhere in my life, it is more likely to.
We are taught in countless ways that reality is only what we can see and touch. What if the material world we live in is only one slice of the reality of existence?
I often ask “what if?” questions: What if other dimensions and expanded realities not only exist but parts of us already exist in them? What if we can use the possibility of these other realms as a source of magic? What if I could do magic, what would bring me and those I love the most happiness, love and laughter? What if I could talk to gods and goddesses, what might they say? What if there were forest folk living around our home, and what might their reality be like? What if I could talk to the dead, what might they tell me I need to hear? These questions open me up to possibilities that because I choose to try them out, become realities.
When we do watch movies, I enjoy them. I mostly choose movies which uplift and inspire me. I have found, however, that my personal imagination becomes kidnapped by the memories of the movies. This makes magic more difficult and challenging for the next twenty-four hours, or so, after we have watched one. I’m still not sure why that is for me. I’m not sure if TV and movies affect most people this way. But I do advise people who want to live more magically, to take a two-day or longer break from media and see how your imagination changes.
While doing this, I encourage any who are interested to play with magic. Start by giving gratitude for all that is good in your life. Let the forces that be, know you want more good of the things you enjoy in your life. Then ask for something specific. Start small. You can pray for more magic or for something to occur. You can pray to God, or to Christ, or to any spiritual being you prefer. You can walk and repeat affirmations of what you want, or visualize all the details. Or you can write down what it is you want, and place it where you see it all the time. It is your ceremony, so set it up so it feels right to you. If you need inspiration on how to perform ceremonies, I speak of some ways of doing them in my books, as do many authors. There are also many sites on how to perform rituals and ceremony on the internet.
I have found any of the above techniques to be great for simple things – such as to bring old friends I can’t find back into my life. They also work well for finding lost items. Once you begin having small successes, build up to a better job, or a great relationship, or major life change you want to manifest.
I still cannot fly, or translocate, but I will let you know if I manage to. Or, as my wife would have made me say it: when I manage to. In the meantime, Happy Magical Life.