This time of year is described as many things, but rarely is it referred to as peaceful, calm, or a time of stillness. Thanksgiving and the holiday season allow for a little respite (as many people are a little less connected) but our addiction to email, news and social media continues to steal from our time with loved ones and our quiet contemplative time alone. It robs us of the pleasure, enjoyment and presence we deserve to experiences during this important, reflective time. Our lives are a busy juggle of projects, chores and responsibilities — no matter what time of year it is. Sometimes meditation, 5 minutes of silence and even enjoying a coffee (sans cell-phone) seems like a bit of a distant dream within our hectic lives.
So what can we do? Apart from feel helpless and commit to worrying about it later? The good news is that stillness is within us. We do not need a quiet garden, secluded beach or a zen room with candles flickering before us in order to find it. The amazing thing about our personal power is that we can be still, wherever we are and whatever we are doing. It is a conscious and very empowering choice.
Here are five tips for creating stillness with ease this season and within your everyday life:
Whether you are on the subway, in a line at Whole Foods, cooking or driving, be aware of your breath. Take a few deep, slow breaths and notice how your body and mind feel as you tune into them and slow down for even 60 seconds.
2. Switch if off. Yes, off!
It is surprising how many people go through their entire waking hours with a tablet, phone, TV or laptop constantly present. This persists even during the holiday season when we are lucky enough to be surrounded by the people we love. We don’t even pause and enjoy the peace available to us as we remain connected until the very moment we fall asleep at night. During mealtimes, turn everything off or put your devices in a drawer. You will be very happy that you did! A friend of mine who is hosting a Thanksgiving dinner has instituted a “leave the phone at the door” policy for the entire evening. I love that!
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3. Wake up 15 minutes earlier.
This is a trick many successful people take advantage of, no matter the time of year. They wake sooner, before the world is up and before the wheels start turning on all of life’s demands (even holiday demands). Take those minutes just for you and just be present in your body. Look around and notice what is particularly beautiful about this season, this year. What is different and unique about it? Why are you especially blessed in 2016? This can center you and change your mindset for the entire day.
4. Be aware that you create your own energy.
External circumstances don’t — no matter how challenging your siblings or in-laws may be. Marianne Williamson said in her book A Return to Love, “Everything we do is infused with the energy in which we do it. If we’re frantic, life will be frantic. If we are peaceful, life will be peaceful.” There are no stressful situations, just stressful thoughts we feed ourselves.
5. Learn from some of the greatest spiritual teachers.
Apply their wisdom by making stillness your daily mantra. Deepak Chopra said to Oprah on her show, Super Soul Sunday, (when she commented how extremely busy he is and how tricky it was to book him), “My body is busy, my mind is still.”
Remember, your internal conditions create your external conditions. Peace begins with you.
Relish this special season. It’ll be over before the leftover food runs out.
What do you do to maximize this holiday season?