Pausing and Reflecting This Holiday Season
According to the National Retail Federation Survey, “a record 166.3 million people are planning to shop from Thanksgiving Day through the Monday after Thanksgiving this year.” In other words, half the country went shopping during that one stretch of time.
This morning I felt compelled to pop on social media, as I usually do, to share about our habitual behaviors during the holiday season and how this behavior keeps us disconnected from what really matters. It is true that for each of us, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year have a meaning; each of us has different ways to celebrate or relate to it. So when I talk about what really matters, I am specifically sharing what matters to me, and I am offering it to the service of whoever resonates with what I share. I am not trying to say my way is the only way or is a better way.
Psychologist Carl Jung said: It all depends on how we look at things, not how they are in themselves.
The moment I realized the truth behind these words, my life changed. It can take a split second for our inner knowing to come to the surface, and like magic, we realize that we have seen through a lens of limitation, separation, scarcity, and pain. The instant that I realized that the holiday season is not about shopping or gifts, not that I don’t love giving or receiving gifts, it was the most potent “awakening,” so let me share my realization. We go on autopilot most of our life, and shopping during the holiday season is one part.
The other day I was at the hair salon, and I asked my hair stylist, “Are you ready for Christmas”? She paused for a second and said, “Well, no, I’m actually running late; I haven’t bought anything!!” When I heard her answer, I realized that when I asked the question, I was coming from a different place, and it took me a couple of minutes to process her answer. Then, I realized that most of us have internalized that kind of experience for the holidays.
Then, she said, “What about you?” I paused longer than expected, and she thought I didn’t hear her, so she asked again. The truth is that I was trying to order my thoughts and connect with my authentic self. I am tired of pretending or saying something just to get by, so I said that we were traveling to Colorado to spend Christmas with our only son, and we generally try to celebrate Christmas with our family, just the three of us. We enjoy having a nice meal, cooking, going to a nice restaurant, and exploring ways we have nurtured ourselves as a family.
Have we been paying attention to each other, or have we gone on autopilot, making us feel neglected?
We usually talk about what was important and valuable for us during the year that is about to end and what our dreams are for the coming year. What would we like to manifest? What do we need from each other?
When I finished talking, my hairstylist stopped cutting my hair, moved right in front of me, and said, “We’ve never done something like that, and I love it! You’re right; we should make the holiday season about what matters!! I also have an only child, and I am going to ask him to spend some time exploring what you mentioned; it sounds so heartfelt and beautiful.”
This is an invitation to pause and reflect.
Ask yourself, what are the holidays about? What would I like the holidays to be like? What is important to me? How can I make the best out of it? Am I willing to do something different? What would feel good? Am I courageous enough to propose a time to pause and reflect?
Self-awareness is the beginning of a journey that requires courage, intention, commitment, inner strength.