I love the holiday season that starts with feasting on Thanksgiving and culminates in saying goodbye to the old year and welcoming the new one on New Year’s Day. I think I love the holidays most because it’s the one time of year that everyone, not just yogis, focuses consciously on things like gratitude, generosity, kindness, compassion, letting go of the past and cultivating new dreams for the future. The world around me simply feels like a safer, gentler place to be and I relax into that.
This year, I’ve been contemplating what the truest gifts of this season are. So far, my list includes:
I believe that if you were to embody all four of these that not only would you be giving yourself the most miraculous gift ever, but the people around you would too!
Imperfection: Image yourself right now in this moment, able to celebrate the wonder of your completely flawed, messy and imperfect human self, loving every last weird bit of you and completely unashamed to express it all! Now can you see how when you are ok being imperfect and when you screw up to just simply clean it up and don’t beat yourself up or blame others, how easeful you are? And how everyone around you gets to breathe a sign of relief and maybe even gets the courage to let down their guard and be ok falling down sometimes too?
Forgiveness: There is a quote that Wayne Dyer, one of my favorite spiritual teachers, says changed his life: “Forgiveness is the scent that the violet sheds on the heal which has crushed it.” It’s the “which has CRUSHED it part that really gets me. It’s easy to be kind, loving and generous to overlook and forgive the flaws and mistakes of nice people. It’s a lot harder when it comes to the people who don’t like you, who have “wronged” you, betrayed you, stolen from you or otherwise harmed you. That’s why forgiveness is a gift. It always goes to those who don’t deserve it. And it reverses that phenomenon of self-poisoning that happens when you wish ill on another and harbor resentment and even hate for them inside of you. The first person who gets to get forgiven by you? You! Listen to the way you talk to yourself sometimes in your head. I bet you’d never let a real person talk to you that way. You may not even believe that you deserve to be forgiven. But remember, forgiveness always goes to those who don’t deserve. And you can only ever forgive others to the degree which you have forgiven yourself.
Gratitude: Counting your blessings is the surest and quickest path to get out of the suffering and despair of scarcity thinking and living and into abundance and joy! Gratitude can instantly turn a loss situation into an opportunity. It can turn the most humble of homes into a castle of love and warmth, the froggiest of partners into a price or princess, the tiniest amount of money into riches and humblest of professions into a grand calling of human service. Gratitude doesn’t come AFTER you’ve gotten everything you want. Gratitude turns what you already have into blessings that will just blow your mind! When you are smiling with gratitude you instantly make others feel blessed too. And you are less likely to bring them down with being a chronic complainer.
Surrender: Once you’ve got a good solid practice in allowing yourself to be imperfect, you’ve forgiven yourself for not being perfect all the time and for your major mess ups, and you’ve started to count your blessings and see how miraculous your life really is, it’s going to be easier to surrender. And there’s a lot of relief in surrendering. Surrender is not being a victim of circumstance and throwing your hands in the air with a big “Oh, well!” It’s courageously letting go of control and the need to know how it all will go. Surrender is stopping fighting whatever is happening in your life right now. It’s asking yourself “What if the world and especially the difficult people and circumstances in my life are really FOR me, not against me?” It’s trusting that even though what’s happening may not be what you wanted or imagined, that somehow in the long run it’s all going to work itself out in ways that will astonish you. And looking back, you wouldn’t change a thing.
Take these four gifts with you into 2015 and let me know about the blessings that follow!