Transform this holiday season from outer frenzy to inner presence

December 2020 is here. When we started the pandemic in March, we never really thought we would be back in such a tight, limited space. I often feel like the walls of my house are caving in and if I spend one more day running from one iPad to another, from one child to another, from one more snack and cleanup to the next, that I will lose my mind.  

And so often I wonder, how do moms do this? How do we split our time between trying to make a living and also putting out the bombs going on downstairs with kids home for an indefinite amount of time? It has brought me to my knees. My self-care routines feel rushed, I feel the old sense of unworthiness creeping in, telling me I’m not getting anything done, and I better move faster. 

Ouch, those old triggers sting.  

It seems that we will be going into the holidays much the same way we entered into COVID: either alone and isolated or surrounded by kids and responsibilities.  There must be a better way, a more kind and loving way to do this life.

After many tantrums this week (yes, my own, not my childrens’!), I dove headfirst into my spiritual tool box, determined to transform this holiday time, and my life, into one of outer frenzy, and busyness, to the inner presence (yes, even if I am not getting much space.)

Here is what I have uncovered, and it is already helping me.

Yes, this is a time of gift-giving. But if you are feeling frazzled like me, then often, we overspend, over-do and focus on the outer, more superficial aspects of life.  In a time of introspection and gathering of our strength from within, let’s challenge ourselves to give the gift of presence this year.  

Here is how: Let go. Let Spirit in. Surrender. Give up.

We really don’t have control, do we? The house is always messy, there is still cat barf on my office floor from this morning, the dishes are sitting in a huge pile (yes the teens still haven’t done their chores), and the emails meant to go out two days ago, are still sitting as a draft.  

But if you struggle with the idea of letting go and releasing control, here are some deeper tips for this year, and honestly, beyond, because we can’t believe January 1, 2021 will come flying in with a white flag and we will all be saved.

So here are some realistic tips for for getting through the holidays this year:

  1. Self-care – Small increments of self-care, and not the beautiful kind. Self-care may mean cooking yourself that healthy meal because you haven’t eaten properly in three days. It may mean sweating through a workout, no longer running from your problems, and using things outside of you to distract yourself.  Self-care doesn’t mean we reach our absolute limit and wake up from exhaustion to finally take care of ourselves. Self-care means every single day doing something for yourself. Yes, you. Making yourself important and a priority, even if that means the kids eat chocolate for breakfast.  Self-care means being normal, not special, letting your dishes pile up, laundry sprawled out across the floor.  And being ok with it. Self-care means parenting yourself from the inside out and stopping the external consumerism to soothe your exhausted soul.
  1. Self-Worth – For years, I have overdone it in all aspects of my life. I over-loved, overworked, over-demanded, over-compensated. This was all done in the name of love. But the challenge was that underneath, I overdid it because I was filling a hole that was wide open inside. If you have found yourself overdoing it, perhaps you also need to step back and stop giving presents to others and give the gift of presence.  The greatest gift you can give yourself and others are the presence of yourself, whole and healed.  For years, you may have said yes when you meant no, enabled behaviors that hurt you, and self-criticized to placate others’ emotions, making them feel better, but you feel worse.  Perhaps you have surrounded yourself with people that can’t or won’t change, and so you judge yourself and apologize for their behavior.  These are all symptoms of feeling low self-worth.  Here’s the truth. When we stop self-abandoning, we start to let go of the toxicity, and we begin to see our true worth.  We start to see that having one person that hears and listens and believes in you, is enough. We learn that not everyone is deserving of your beautiful heart.  We learn to trust ourselves and bring presence to the ones we love.  
  1. Self-Nurturing – We are approaching the threshold of winter.  Life is being drawn into the earth, readying itself for sleep, hibernation, and darkness.  Presents to presence means we listen to the pull to descend into our bodies, into more rest, darkness, and the depth of our inner callings.  Self-nurturing demands us to release the material/consumer fixation and look deep into ourselves to see where we are running and why we are so afraid.  Painlessly descending down into the very heart of herself. But this descent can be scary and fearing the body and withheld emotions that have been stored deep inside of us is not exactly what we may be ready to face.  This upcoming winter solstice and this holiday time is a rare opportunity to descend into deep self-nurturing and reframe the belief that tuning in and descending to our depths is painful and scary. The truth is, it is scarier to deal with the consequences of not tuning in.  True self-nurturing brings freedom and forgiveness, love for all we have been through, and acceptance for all we are going through.  This is the true presence of finding presence.  

Whether you feel isolated and alone, or need more isolation and alone time, we are all new at dealing with life in a pandemic.  But we are not alone. We are one truth, one love, and one heart.  Letting go and letting Spirit in, relinquishing control (again, we obviously have none), and allowing your spirit to fly into true presence brings about the gift of self-care, self-worthiness, and self-nurturing. To shine with these qualities is the greatest gift of all.

Let’s share inner love and pass it on this holiday season!