The holidays. The holidaze. Freakin’ Turkeys. The Black Fridays. The White Christmases. Seeing red. Feeling blue. Seeing green fly. Feeling bloated. Feeling overloaded. Feeling nothing.
The holidays beckon us to feel joy. That’s their job. They entice us to feel the aliveness of food, family, friends, fellowship, traditions, and fun. But sometimes the holidays feel like they mock us. Or even taunt us.
And sometimes we feel like crap.
Sometimes we don’t have the energy of even one “Ho” much less Ho Ho Ho.
Sometimes we can’t find the matches to light the menorah.
Sometimes we wish for our Silent Night, where we can turn off the phones, computer, voices, demands, and expectations long enough to pull the covers over our head.
Sometimes we don’t want to “do” the holidays when family or friends are sick, or have died. It’s. Simply.Too. Much.
Sometimes we don’t have hope.
When you walk around not having hope, sometimes it’s not as dramatic as bad tv.
Not having hope can simply be that uneasy feeling in your stomach that you carry around all day. It is sadness. An emptiness. It’s where you keep going through the physical motions, but the essence of you isn’t there. You’re phoning or cloning it in. And you are just buying time and hope that the next moment or hour or day will not be like the one you are experiencing. This is discomfort. This is dis-ease. Not having the ease of life.
So what to do?
When it comes to hope, whatever miniscule amount you have, hold it.
And then, grow it.
There is research about hope. Ph.D Anthony Scioli has lead a team of researchers at Keene State College in New Hampshire. Their new research that “hope is a skill you can acquire”.
Why is this important to you? Hope can heal. Hope can help you experience all the things you desire in this life. As far as aging and faith, hope plays a big role.
So doesn’t it make sense to hold what you have and nurture its growth?
That would be yes.
When it comes to hope even during grief, here are some things you can do.
First, be kind to yourself and allow yourself to feel any emotion that comes up whether it is sadness, loneliness or even anger. With that said, the key idea is to “feel” them. But don’t live perpetually in them.
Hold the idea that something of worth can come from your pain. You may not see it in this moment. But perhaps your pain can help you become more compassionate for others. Maybe in your pain, you can help others find their way and this is your purpose.
Second, surround yourself with people who can bring you comfort, and who you trust and can count on. You know who these people are and more rightly so you probably know why. Choose wisely.
Lastly, when things get tough, focus on the present moment. Be mindful of what you are experiencing right now and what’s good about it. If you can’t think of anything always go back to your breathing and be conscious of it. Go back to your basic senses of sight, hearing, tasting, and feeling. If you need a contrast, imagine if just one of these things wasn’t working for you in this moment. Yikes.
Now, feel the gratitude.
Hold the hope. Grow the hope. And keep going. We need you. Namaste.