Disquiet and the Holidays
Alister Sim as Scrooge
I want to just go to an island without colored light-strings, department store carols, or the TV screaming at me to buy stuff at 1am for the best deals. I don’t want to watch all my favorite shows get mushy and sugary with fake snow and jingle bells in their soundtracks.
I actually seem angry when I daydream about Christmases past. I can’t seem to connect to anything good about it at all. So strange! I remember last Christmas when I was singing carols, buying Starbucks for strangers and loving every ritual and icon. What’s wrong with me?
Have you ever felt that way? Felt totally out of step with where everyone else seemed to be? Like the whole world was happy and you weren’t?
After working with my Disquietâ„¢ for years now, I recognize what is happening and know what to do. But in holidays past, I was confused and worried. And that only added about a ton of weight to an already overwhelming load of unease.
What’s happening with you? Are you like me, totally overwhelmed by a killer work schedule that crammed 4 months of work between November and now?
Or are you struggling with that undercurrent of unease that really seems to ramp up at this time of year? Between the marketing of family and happiness, and the mortality reminder of another year ending, there are a lot of swirling concerns about where you are not where you thought you would/should be in your life, where it’s going, and what it all means.
I have known that part as well. From my own journey, as well as working with my clients, I developed a Holiday First-Aid List to help engage what is happening in a productive and helpful way.
- Stop fighting it: What is the truth about how you feel? Turn into it, not away from it. If you feel lost, anxious, grumpy, or exhausted, say that is what you are to yourself. Don’t pretend.
- Get moving, don’t sit around: Stop the moping and inactivity. At least walk. Do anything to get the body moving. If you have been isolated, get into the world. If you have been overwhelmed by social contacts, get quiet. Change the pattern, but move your body.
- Leave it or engage it – not the Disquiet, the holiday: Try either option in your imagination and see which one seems right to you. If the holiday is dead for you – call it’s time of death and do what you want to do. If that doesn’t seem right for you, decide you will find a way to actively be in the it (see step 6).
- Give something – anything to somebody: This is a critical piece for tons of reasons. Give a gift, a dollar, time, help, anything. Find a way to give something of yourself. It doesn’t have to be big and it shouldn’t be splashy. Just give. It is a must for your heart – and your soul. Remember that book several years ago – “Random Acts of Kindness“? Do one of those.
- Either make a meaningful retreat, or
- Follow Ebenezer’s steps: You can turn this time into a wonderful and heart-felt experience of quiet, solitude, reflection and nourishment. Go on a personal retreat – either in your home or go find a quiet place. Unplug every distraction. Read, meditate, walk, pray, journal, listen to music. Make this a gift for yourself. Or, if it feels right and you intend to celebrate the season, follow Ebenezer Scrooge’s footsteps. Do what he did. Don’t know what he did? Then your homework assignment is rent the movie, “A Christmas Carol “, and watch him. It works!
In my case, this Christmas season snuck up on me. Starting this new focus in my business, working through some health issues, and managing an usually loaded work schedule all ganged up on me. I am frazzled and need R&R. So I know what I need to do and have put these steps in motion. And they’re working! I noticed, and really hung out with, the feelings of increased stress and anxiety. I interrupted a pattern of being isolated because of a lot of computer time and little real-world time. I did some high quality, low quantity and careful gift buying. And I found some ways to really contribute and support my significant-other in her work.
Worked like a charm! Yesterday I caught myself actually whistling and humming some carols, I cooked up a holiday kind of meal, and I felt joy in my heart. My sense of this Holiday season on this year in my life will be what ever it is. It will be unlike any other. I will be awake and open to my experience of it.
So engage your Disquiet. Be real. Be well.
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Tags: Newsletter Archive, Podcasts, The Disquiet, holiday overwhelm