Sadder, Fatter and Madder this Christmas 2020— and how I am turning that around
Reflections on Peace, Love and Joy these Holy Days
This year has been different from any other year.
In many ways, I have become sadder, fatter and madder
It is also approaching a time of the year — the end of the year. Normally I would spend it deep in Thanksgiving, deep in Christmas and deep in the New Year, because all of these three landmark times of the year, mean so much.
So in order to get myself to the place I want to be. And the person I know I can be. I decided to hold myself accountable to you, and myself through a short series of videos talking about how to be happier and healthier by Christmas. (see link below)
Peace is something that travels through all these three activities and events.
At Thanksgiving, we make peace. We have a Thanksgiving dinner bringing families together. That is where we also come to terms with disagreements in the family.
Christmas is about peace. Jesus as a new-born baby unites the world and makes peace on earth.
The New Year is where we make peace with what has happened in this year, and move on to the new.
Now for me. I must admit, I have been sadder and madder. So I am reflecting more peace; just in me.
This year my limitations, my frustrations and my lack of peace sits with me like a bugging irritation. I feel icky or uncomfortable. Sometimes know why I feel that way. Sometimes I do not. So there is this feeling of discomfort and irritation. Over the years because of my meditative practice, when I feel a body emotion like that; I pause, more than I would have in the past. In the past, I like many others, would just set it aside and move on. Almost as if it would become better on its own.
But you know how a bugging pain in your foot affects all of your body. It affects everything. So now when I feel this tough irritation and bugging feeling; for that moment, I pause. Pause. I may not have the time to discover or explore the reason but by pausing and sitting with the feeling, or the overwhelming need to manage the cause; I can give myself the space to separate my emotions from my decisions.
Many of you have said to me, you cannot do a five minute or three minute meditation. Then don’t meditate. Instead take a break, go for a walk, go to the restroom or brew and sip on a hot cup of tea.
I have not been sleeping well. I feel the tension of the world, and I am in empathy with a lot of friends who have lost work, or to the changes in my own workplace. So I have to remind myself not to ruminate at night.
That is the other thing that causes us to lose our peace - rumination. Rumination is when you pick at an old wound and go back to it again and again and again. You are angry with the government, angry with the loss of the job and fear for your health or of your family.
Release that cycle of vicious thoughts.
Have a good rest.
Have a good pause.
Don’t over-stretch your system.
Come back refreshed. Then look at the issues and problem solve them one by one.
The best gift you can give to yourself and to others, is to be very, very, very present, and to offer that full attention to yourself and to the people around you.
So, Christmas is about being present. Being present — or presence is like a precious gift you give to people. When you are a “present person”, being able to listen to yourself and others; you are naturally at peace within in every moment. Despite the challenges we all face around us.
One of the things that I remind myself more and more, as I learn about everything we do and the amount of stress we face every day; is how to love ourselves.
We must talk about love, as part of Christmas. For God so loveth the world, that He gave us his only Son. We come together as a family; we come together with our loved ones and friends. We give gifts. We also sing songs and carol and send that good cheer to people around us.
One of the most important things to do differently this Christmas or today is to show yourself, a lot more compassion.
Sometimes I get snappy. Later when I recover myself and am in a rationale state, I am sorry, and I apologize to the person, but I show my self compassion by saying, “That’s not my usual Marion. And that’s not the Marion I want to be.” I’m not saying, I’m right. I’m just saying, I forgive myself a little faster.
I give myself a little more leeway to get a little fatter by eating a little more, or eating more sugar than I normally would. I am not saying that is the correct way. I am just compassionate, I am simply tying myself over because of the stress, I am facing at that point of time. If you are overstretching yourself and not sleeping or getting enough rest, you would crave a bit more sugar and other things to sustain you. So I am being very compassionate to myself, because this is a time of crisis; because this is a period of stress. Because, beating yourself up — simply does not help. It only makes things much worse.
Be more self aware.
Do not take up unhealthy habits, just to tie yourself over to stress.
Okay, to a little different eating, a little bit of wine or something. That is fine, but not excessive eating/drinking/shopping not distracting eating/drinking/shopping/gaming, and not abuse of self through cutting or abuse of other through emotional or physical violence.
I know it is hard.
It is hard to see what is the best way yourself. But if you are compassionate, you are able to see clearer than when you are negative.
So for deeper love for yourself and a deeper love for others, listen more. Listen - to love someone, your act of listening is an act of love, especially at this time. When I was trained as a counselor I had to go for counseling sessions as part of my training. Later on when my mother was not well. I brought myself to the same counselor again. I told her that I was very sad that I had to face another cancer in my family, my dad had died of cancer. I said I needed a place to talk, because, obviously, the people who knew me, shared the same stress I was going through with my mom and my brother. I could not go to my mother and say, “Mommy, I am sad because you have cancer.” I mean it was true but you know that was not gonna make her feel better. It would be painful for the both of us.
So the counselor said this to me.
“You sent yourself to counseling because you need a listening ear. And that’s a very good thing to do, because many, many people send themselves to counseling too. Unlike you — they had no one in their family or their friends, they trusted or felt they were safe to share their pain with”.
So the act of listening is a gift.
It is an act of love.
The counselor told me that. So I am telling you this to you.
The next time someone comes to you. Instead of talking about stocks and shares going up and down. Instead of talking about politics. Ask them how they are really feeling. Just sit and listen. Say to them — “I want to give you three to five minutes of uninterrupted attention and listening. I would like to practice listening to you, for you”.
They may find it awkward. But you just listen, listen with no judgment. Do not try to solve it. Do not try to fix it.
Listen, with an open heart and an open mind.
When I was trained as a counselor. We are trained to listen with unconditional positive regard for the person, which means we listen to the person, as if whatever they are saying or choosing is always the best for themselves. That they know how to take care of themselves. We are listening just to let them express themselves — not trying to go in and change their habits, at least not at that point of time.
So the first step is to listening deeply and letting them be in a safe space with no judgement.
Listen, with nothing on your mind.
Lots and lots of love for them.
This is a gift.
It is the best gift, let me assure you, too many people are stuffing their face with food or buying a lot of clothes to wear, because they just want some attention. They just want to quell the loneliness in their heart.
I have been attending a lot of courses on healthy longevity and how certain people live longer. In every one of these courses the experts state: it is not just the food you eat, or the exercise you do. It is the friends you have. It is the good marriages and happy people who marry and make happy marriages; who have longer lives.
Most older women who have religious affiliations or are active in the community, live longer. They may be single older women, but when their husband leave the earth, these women can still be happy and live long lives as they have strong social connections. In Okinawa, female centurions have communal friendship circles from the time they were young, to the time they are in their 90s. One centurion said the first thing she does in the mornings is to turn and look at her neighbor’s house, to see whether her neighbor who is in her Friendship Circle is awake and well.
When you have friendships that are so deep. There is so much support. And that support makes you less stressed.
So offer Love by offering yourself as a friend.
(listen to the rest on the video found in the link here https://theamazingyou.com/tay-christmas-edition.php?fbclid=IwAR2_QLSCx13_DvZBAgeH9dVCC9Y80nuLA7VmXJVQ1DJVuuJkvch-hBM1lsI)
Joy is bringing delight to yourself and into the world. Delight is to lighten up and to bring a source of hope in darkness. To lighten, as if to fly.
So I hope you enjoy that Nutcracker extract. Yes that was, me in purple. I was in the process of becoming a “Sugar Plum Fairy” . You do not have to perform your lives, you have to process and live your lives fully. So what I have been doing recently in the COVID period is actually dancing, singing and contemplating more. Dancing and singing helped me connect more to my soul, to myself and to my emotions, because there is so much to process during this period.
If you are not using some sort of creative expression and outpouring. You might keep too much inside. And it weighs us down. I have been weighted down by many pains and sufferings. In my work as a psychologist, recently, I have received calls about family abuse. It gets dark and harsh and weighs me down to hear these things. There is a lot of weight.
And when there is a lot of weight and you only give it attention, you feel yourself go heavy, tired, sad, lonely, isolated.
I need you to bring some light.
Some light into the world.
Some light into the darkness.
Some light to fill up your heart.
To feel as if the weight is there but you can take flight. So you are going to be sad but it is sadness tinged with joy. Or you can be very happy and you can have happiness tinged with a bit of sadness. That is the true maturity of this age. It is the true nature of joy in this age. Because life is not purely black and white. The greys are challenging, but when you shine the light on the grey. They can disperse.
So my little big wish for us today: is that you find joy in your life. That you bring out all the joy you have in yourself; in this period. Bring out your angels, gingerbread women and men, gifts; and bring out your smiles. And that is a courageous attempt at living life. Don’t feel — Oh I shouldn’t be celebrating so much because of all this sorry. You are not celebrating because of the sorrow.
This is a celebration despite the sorrow
It is a courageous call to uplift, lighten, inspire, bring hope, bring love, peace and joy to all who come to meet you.
And most importantly to yourself.
To my friends here and all here who are my friends to be…