29 Nov How to Remain Centered Over the Holidays
Holidays, even in the best of circumstances, can be stressful due to family, work, school, and cultural expectations and responsibilities. So how can we remain centered over the Holidays? A daily centering practice can pave the way to keeping you compassionately connected to your self, others and whatever Higher Power you understand or recognize. A daily centering practice can also reduce stress or anxiety and keep you focused on your journey to shift and transform even in the midst of stressful holiday encounters.
In order to depersonalize the daily stress, negative emotions, and thoughts that we encounter daily, we need to have a regular routine that keeps us balanced in body, mind and spirit. Various cultures approach this dilemma in many different ways using a daily centering practice called Dharma. This term refers to a form of self discipline ranging from prayer to yoga to meditation to gardening, whatever regular practice assists with feeling balanced and connected to the whole, spirit, God, Source, universe. Some believe that maintaining the continuity through the ages by duplicating practices developed over millennia will assist you in benefiting from ancient wisdom.
Whether it is chanting ‘om’ or some other mantra to connect with the essence of the universe or partaking in a ritual such as that of the Eucharist to transmit the spirit of Christ consciousness (compassion & unconditional love) to the participant, there is certainly a touch of majesty and comfort in these formal traditions. These practices can lead to a personal tradition or a family tradition that connects family members and can be passed down for generations to keep family members connected to each other spiritually long after we are gone.
A daily Dharma can also be practical in the sense that there are established communities which practice these formal traditions that give you support and access to other like-minded individuals. In all cultures, the importance of a meditative practice is emphasized, whether that be prayerful meditation, a walking meditation, breathwork, Reiki or other forms of self healing, qigong, tai chi, drumming, toning sacred mantras, or meaningful body movement which is both connecting and grounding. The key elements for a grounding and connecting daily Dharma are: Intention and Mindfulness – To stay fully present in the moment and place our awareness on all the potential choices we can make, while recognizing the possibilities we have in our daily life to transform and shift out of negative reactive behaviors or thoughts.
Once we have chosen a Dharma practice that makes sense or resonates with us– we must consciously make the choice and create the time in our life to practice it. The word ‘practice‘ can refer to integrating our mind, body and spirit into everything we do to allow for transformation; it can also mean to be goal oriented and be a means to an end. The intention of a daily Dharma is to get centered and in touch with our inner resources and experiences to promote change, evolve and reshape both our self and our outer world to create a more peaceful and joyful life. Through a Dharmic practice we can break old habits and allow ourselves to cultivate new insights and ways of perceiving and creating in the world. Intuition is another key element to a practice of Dharma. When you practice regularly, you will often find that your intuition or ‘inner knowing’ increases as you create a space to connect with your own “inner, still, small voice“.
It is important to make certain that your daily Dharma does not become yet another responsibility, burden or item on your to-do list. When our current practice becomes just a mindless habit and is not assisting us in learning about ourselves or developing new insights, it’s time for a different Dharma to get you back into feeling ‘centered & connected’. Hence the importance of rotating your centering practice on a regular basis.
A daily Dharma can help you stay mindful, live more fully in the present, feel a deeper sense of joy and love, put your ego in perspective, make you aware of your true gifts and abilities, teach you how to get out of your own way and live in the joyful mystery of this grand universe. During the holiday season it can be a lifesaver to diminish stress and anxiety during the holiday rush and potential family drama.
Wishing you a drama-free holiday season! 🙂
The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D.)
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