This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. This month our participants have shared how they stay mindful during the holiday season. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
There is just one phrase that keeps me grounded, centred and mindful during the holiday season:
Love What Is.
There are so many things about Christmas that could bring me down, but I choose to see my circumstances as a welcome opportunity for joy and freedom.
Would Christmas be better if my parents were not separated? I don't know, but it might be easier in the sense that it would involve just one visit instead of two. But I choose to Love What Is: if my parents had not separated 3 years ago, I would not likely have initiated a more positive, connected relationship with either of them.
Would Christmas be better if I had a relationship with my two brothers? Sure. And I'd love to meet my nephew who is just a few months older than Julian. But I choose to Love What Is: because of their anger towards me I have had the opportunity to look deep into my own heart, find forgiveness, and learn to love myself.
Would Christmas be better if one of my daughters didn't have such a competitive attitude towards her sisters when it comes to receiving gifts? Well, I'd likely enjoy shopping more if I didn't have her criticisms and critiques running through my head! But I choose to Love What Is: she is SO GENEROUS with her gifts for her sisters and I appreciate that she values quality over quantity.
Would Christmas be better if my Partner-Guy's family was more easily able to accommodate the needs of my young family? It would be busier, anyway! But I choose to Love What Is: the relatives are able to celebrate as much as they want without my little ones under foot and my children are able to enjoy their new toys and other acquisitions without having to relocate.
You see, I have spent many, many years dreading Christmas. I used to feel my stress rise at Labour Day as I held my breathe until Thanksgiving, and then as soon as that was over my blood pressure would climb until Christmas was finally over. I dreaded all the forced pleasantries and fake gratitude. I hated pretending that I came from a perfect family when it was so apparent that we were all hurting and broken. I felt sick about putting my authenticity aside to be a people-pleaser. And I felt even sicker about making my children put their needs on hold to placate other people.
So now we do the holiday season with only one intent: to maximize Freedom and Joy for the six of us and to Love What Is. That which can't be changed, we accept. That which brings us Joy, we seek. That which creates greater Freedom for us and others, we choose.
In the true spirit of Love and Peace at Christmas, I choose to show Love and Peace to myself, my Partner-Guy and my children.
|Jasmine, Holly and Anna (Christmas 2009)|
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Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- Enjoying Busy Times Moment by Moment Amy at Peace 4 Parents offers a handful of simple pointers to make the most of any busy season in your life.
- Staying A Mindful Mama During The Holiday Season Terri at Eco-Crazy Mom shares her thoughts on being a mindful mama, while keeping your sanity throughout the holiday season..
- Holiday Parenting: The Gift of Natural Play Moorea at MamaLady shares her holiday plan for mindfully spending time with children in her extended family.
- The ABC's of Mindful Parenting Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama provides a comprehensive list of Mindful Parenting Resultions for 2012. In addition, she briefly reviews her mindful parenting journey for this past year.
- The 123's of Mindful Parenting Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares part 3 of her Mindful Parenting series (Link will be live tomorrow, Dec 14).
- Mindful Mama Guest Post from Hybrid Rasta Mama Zoie at TouchstoneZ is honored to share Part 2 of Jennifer's series on staying Mindful for the Holidays.
- Saying No to Plastic Toys Nada at minimomist and her husband Michael, have certain rules when it comes to toys for their daughter Naomi. Here's how they deal with well-meaning gifts that don't quite work for their family.
- Can you LOVE WHAT IS at Christmas? With so many expectations and so many people's needs to accomodate, Patti at Jazzy Mama has decided to simply accept what can't be changed and love whatever happens.
- Minimal Temptation, Minimal Gifting Adrienne at Mommying My Way shares how not exposing herself to tempting purchases, as well as having fun family traditions, helps keep her Christmas list under control.
- Choice And Consequence In Conscious Mindfulness Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares her realisation that consciously monitoring our thoughts have a powerful effect on our lives, regardless of circumstances or influences.
- Nature-Inspired Christmas Tree Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling describes how she and her children discovered the beauty and simplicity of a nature-inspired holiday tree.
- Giving The Gift of Life Free Range Mama at My Healthy Green Family shares about teaching children how to look beyond the well-wrapped box and learn how to give. .
- Can a collection of moments be more than the whole? Tat at Mum in search asks how do you turn a holiday from hell into a series of beautiful moments?
- Flying Through the Holidays Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction discusses how a simple organizational plan has kept her holidays balanced.
- Celebrating Advent week to week Lauren at Hobo Mama finds that counting down weeks instead of days helps children with the long wait.
- 5 Ways to Stay Mindful This Holiday Season Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares ideas and photos that help her stay mindful throughout the holidays.
- Simplifying the Holidays Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children shares how simplifying the holidays has made them more special for her.
- Mindfully Managing the Mania Erica at ChildOrganics fights against "the gimmes" and shares strategies for staying balanced during a time of year when it's easy to overindulge.
- Six Ways to Enjoy the Holidays Without Losing Your Mindfulness Rachael at The Variegated Life shares tips on thinking less, planning less, doing less, and remembering.
- The Gift of Presence Darcel at The Mahogany Way explains how important it is to be present for and with her family during the Holidays.
- Mindfully meditating on celebrations Terri at Child of the Nature Isle desires meaningful celebrations for the whole year.
- What Does It Really Mean? Staying Mindful Through the Holiday Season Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about how she stays in touch with what the holiday season means for her and her family, in spite of all the temptations to do otherwise!