Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Winter Solstice! Happy Holidays! Seasons Greetings!
Happy! Happy! Merry! Joy! Bah Humbug!?!... Yes, sometimes bah humbug. You have probably heard the statement, “When you numb your pain you numb your joy.” Physical pain is also a sign of emotional pain. But what to do with it? You’ve likely tried unsuccessfully to skirt around your pain at one time or another. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t.
The Validation Part:
Besides the beautiful meaning the holidays symbolize, we can also view them as a self-check. When melancholy emotions stir, placing a hand over your heart and the other over your bellybutton, closing your eyes and breathing deeply into the feeling while saying, “I hear you,” to yourself is applying love to the wound. The melancholy isn’t coming from nowhere. You are acknowledging, without judgment or shame, that someone inside you needs a hug and some validation and you are acting on it. A deep breath in this way can be likened to a hug on the inside. It doesn’t mean you should be melancholy or you shouldn’t, it just means you are and you are choosing to be present with it. You can let it speak to you too.
You allow Light in when you can admit to your hurting without judgment. The more you do this, the more you will be able to be with others without judgment when they are struggling—the love you offer will be pure and simple rather than conditional when that is what you offer yourself.
When someone comes to you hurting, I say hug them. The sermon can wait. But don’t worry, the "sermon" is coming with a bow on it, especially as a gift to my clients because I know they want to hear it.
The Sermon with a Bow:
If your habit is to wisk your feelings away when they arise you will either find yourself dismissive of the feelings of others or overboard protective. In any moment we have a choice to act towards ourselves in a way that increases our capacity to love others or decreases it. Neither being dismissive, nor placing our unfinished business on someone else’s plate to take care of there, are loving gestures. Rather, these gestures are revealing where our loving could afford a little purification.
As adults feelings can be like a text message from your inner child. We can choose to be a servant to those feelings or to observe, acknowledge and comfort the part of us who is having them. This simple meditation of hand over heart and belly is one way to apply some unconditional validation, comfort and support. It is a means for being a friend to yourself and to accept yourself where you are.
We are wired for connection and we get to practice loving with each other. Like stones in a tumbler we get to identify our sharp edges in relationships. How else would we know. Relationships present us with an opportunity to polish our capacity for love and to love. I have come to believe that this is the assignment that comes with relationships. Rock tumblers are noisy, take time, and harder stones require more tumbling just like people. Hence the Massachusetts phrase for when you finally understand something, “Light dawns on Marblehead.” Right! That ah-ha moment is when we can let go.
Maybe your melancholy is from a tumble you had with someone years ago who you are still blaming or still blaming yourself because that's all you know to do. It’s never too late to respond to your feelings with this simple meditation. Maybe it’s even perfect timing because now you know an assignment associated with relationships that you didn’t know before. Maybe you needed to tumble with others in order to finally come back around and forgive this person. Maybe you needed to learn what it means and looks like to be a servant to one’s inner child from experience. Haven’t we all fallen into it ourselves as an adult? And haven’t we all been some version of that child who got into a tumble with a parent who was having an immature moment? Haven’t we all misunderstood this homework assignment for relationships? Our melancholy moments can be rich with opportunity for wisdom and closure if we breathe into them with truth and love. What a holiday gift it could be for you and for those you love!
Looking for how we have been similar makes it easy to forgive, be humbled and let go of the past. With this understanding we can emerge from our meditation a little lighter, a little brighter, a little wiser and a little more polished in regards to love. We can come out thankful for those we tumbled with and they can come out thankful for us when we both come out humbler from the tumbler. It always has the potential to be mutually beneficial.
I hope this simple meditation offers you and others by proxy some comfort, my rock tumbler analogy offers you some relief from your troubles and my “sermon” offers you a perspective on relationships you can work with next time you find yourself in the tumbler with someone because, unless you want to live alone in an ivory tower, you will. You are human. It polishes our loving when that's what we choose. It takes 2 and to emerge more humbled or more self-righteous is a choice.
Sometimes it takes a good tumble to become conscious—to wake up to what we are doing that isn't loving. Believe me, I'm not saying that I have never come out of the tumbler kicking and screaming because I have. I'm not perfect. I have my history that gets stirred like everyone else. But I can't sleep until I can express remorse, forgive or whatever is appropriate, which requires healing and humility on my part. I know, without a doubt, life is sweeter when I am humble. In the end it's worth every tumble because anyone who chooses to benefit, will. The goal in life is not emotional constipation. When something hurts it's exposing a wound and when there is no wound we don't even think to take that something personally.
Happy Holidays with love,
The Meditation for Applying Love:
Place your left hand over your heart and your right hand over your bellybutton.
Close your eyes.
Gently say to yourself while breathing deeply into the feeling (some version of), "I hear you."
Note: Always hug someone in a way in which they are comfortable.