Your Holiday Wish

The conversations begin around November 20th. “I’m bracing myself for the holidays.” “That will have to wait until after the holidays”, “I dread the busyness”, “If I can make it through the holidays”, “I dread making that meal”. …. I get the picture that for many people, their holiday wish is that the holidays would be over.  But wishing the holidays away won’t make January come any faster and it fills our minds with dread and bodies with tension. Grayson calls this the wishing ritual.  We engage in it every time we wish for something that is not our current reality.

What are we doing? Wishing for a different life makes it nearly impossible to enjoy the one we have.  “When we compare reality with fantasy, we destroy and demean the moment.” How many times have you stressed and struggled through a Holiday season like you were being tortured only to look back on it fondly a few years later? These are the times and days that we are given and we are often missing them by wishing they would end! When you think about it, how absurd!

How do we honor rather than demean our present reality?

  • Grow our awareness of thoughts of dread or wishing to be in another time. When we notice it, simply say to yourself, “Thank you mind, but I will be staying in my actual life, but appreciate the reminder of how horrible everything is!”
  • Pray for a new understanding of your capacity to experience and enjoy each day.
  • Engage in spiritual practices that bless you in spite of feeling busy.
  • Reframe all of the preparation that you are doing. If you think of it as a nasty obstacle to the life you prefer, it will be hard to experience any of it as a loving act that has meaning to you.
  • Do one thing at a time with intention and focus.

I’m like everybody else…..when I consider what the next 6 weeks will require of me, I am tempted to think it is all too much. But taken day by day and task by task, with the values that are important to me in mind, it all feels different. I can turn my attention from the negative story about this time and towards the wonder, joy, and blessings of my life. Each celebration can be for me either the end of a grueling race or it can be a spiritual and emotional blessing. I’m going to try and honor my present reality this Advent. Won’t you join me?

The book I quoted is Jonathan Grayson’s Freedom from OCD.

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