The holidays can often be heavy with difficult emotions and challenging relationships. We might feel obligations for buying gifts and attending events that we are less than thrilled about. So we might complain, stress-out, get anxious, and cope by stuffing ourselves with Christmas baking. What if, instead, we just changed our perspective?
One of my favorite yoga sutras is IV.15: vastu-samye citta-bhedat-tayor-vibhaktah panthah
Two similar objects appear differently, depending upon the different mental state of the observer.
While I might see Christmas as a celebration of cheer and sparkles, another might see it as painful family get-togethers and resentment for spending money that they don't have.
We do not see things as THEY are - we see things as WE are! The world appears according to how we see it. Or as my one of my teachers says
"The world isn't coming at you, it's coming FROM you." - Elena Brower
What if, instead of dreading an interaction with a difficult family member, we shifted our perspective and chose to look for the good and to see their gifts.
What if, instead of being annoyed that we have to buy presents, think of the fact that generosity is a sure-fire path to our own happiness. And the way we choose to give is in our hands (literally), we need not follow the status-quo.
What if, instead of all the things you feel you "have" to do, flip it around to what you "get" to do.
The way we choose to see the world will absolutely affect the actions we take and the choices we make and in turn, the experience we will have and the results we get. Mindset is everything.
We can change our minds.
If you feel stressed – don’t make stress the enemy – befriend it. We can actually use stress to our advantage. We can learn and grow from it, we can use it as an opportunity to rise to the challenge and build strength and resiliency. Watch this TED talk by Kelly McGonigal, author of The Upside of Stress.
It's all a matter of perspective. You can create your reality. You can choose the experience you want to have. It's all in your head.
The Ganesha story below illustrates this idea beautifully. The irony is, Ganesha is known as the remover of obstacles when he, in fact, is an obstacle himself (he's an elephant after all). He is both the remover and the obstacle, as are we. We get in our own way, and we too can get out of our way.
Where have you noticed negativity around the holidays? How can you change your mindset so that you empower your experience as opposed to fall victim from your own limiting and negative beliefs?