If you want more intimacy and love this Christmas here are some tips that will help you navigate your way through the ‘silly season’.
1. Make it your own
You decide what sort of Christmas holiday season you really want to have. Let’s make it a time of real Intimacy and Love, your way.
This season of the year can be great fun but also it can be challenging. We may find ourselves following the herd, or acting out our old beliefs. Let your imagination run free for a moment. Who do you want to be? A loving, free being or an over-indulged complainer? On holidays we often step out of familiar routines and discover some hidden parts of ourselves. Not all are love and light either. Check in with yourself in some quiet moments. Lots of opportunity for spiritual practice!
How can you nourish yourself and others in the most rewarding way this year? If you just give out you will burn out, and that is not fun.
What is your best form of celebration and joy, relaxation and loving connections? Is it having time in nature with friends, or intimacy with your partner. Or catching up with the family? Taking your children on adventures? When you can make space for this everyone will be happier.
If you are alone at Christmas or in a difficult situation this year, how can you turn it around? At Christmas we are barraged with the ideals of the perfect family and relationships, and we feel inadequate, then depression can escalate. Change the picture. Initiate, and let your friends or family know what you need. You are not alone if you reach out. There are many forms of intimacy.
2. Growing the Love
Recent brain research shows that we need to savour the good, positive loving experiences in life. Dwelling on these experiences, instead of quickly moving on, rewires us for happiness. Happiness creates the conditions for love, abundance and a deep sense of self-worth. It also makes it easier to achieve our heart-goals.
Savouring even one positive moment in our day has more value than we know. The brain is wired to notice the threats, the negative, so that we will survive. Deliberately putting our attention on the good counteracts this automatic orientation.
Practice 1: When good things happen to you, expand, breathe, feel the flavour, shape and texture of the love. Even if it’s a small thing. If you are in a relationship, do this with your partner – drink in and enjoy the loving moments, savour and celebrate them inside you.
Practice 2: Find a quiet corner and make a list of all your achievements, wins, openings, breakthroughs and positive changes during the past year. This creates your essential ‘launching pad’ for next year’s heart-goals. You can share your list with a friend, and expand it together. Notice if you have any resistance to focusing on this. It’s not possible to create afresh in the new year without acknowledging what we have already done.
3. Breathe deep to expand your life force, inhale life
The breath is the our key to life. If our breath is shallow and contracted we are keeping life out and thus our feelings pushed down. It may feel safer initially but eventually it becomes the opposite, keeping us isolated and protected from all the meaningful moments of this precious life.
The art is to allow your breath to drop deeper into your body while you relax. Not to force your breathing or strain to achieve technical breathing patterns as this causes tension itself. Rather you can notice over the day if you have contracted your breathing and then deliberately relax it. See what happens and when and why your breath changes. Spend a few minutes focusing on the breath being full in your belly and chest, expanding your body with the breath, but then let the technique go and relax, allowing your breath to go deeper.
Is it easier for you to inhale or exhale deeply? If we are afraid, we don’t inhale fully, if we are stuck we don’t exhale fully. By deliberately increasing our inhale or exhale we change our relationships and our life.
This deeper breathing will come in handy when your uncle is drunk and deadly, your kids are tired, you have a headache, your partner has a headache (in bed), you had one too many cocktails or your new lover decides he needs to be santa claus. Breathe!
4. Resolution and endings – breathing out
As the year comes to an end it’s a good time to look inside, pray, do your sadhana, reflect on what’s ending, and let it go as you wish. No forcing, just acknowledging what’s ending and feel it dissolving back into existence. Choose your deepest, most powerful time to do the work. Perhaps with a glass of wine late at night or on your yoga mat at dawn…..
5. Say yes to what is!
What we resist tends to hang around so if you find yourself gritting your teeth over the commercial jingles, the cultural expectations, the family patterns, the drunken squabbles, then practice the way of the Tao. Be like water that flows around obstacles and keeps swishing its own merry way. Breathe and create afresh. Be who you want to be.
Love and a desire to be appreciated lies underneath everything, so if we can say yes to whatever experiences are presenting themselves right now, then we have the opportunity in the next moment to be creative and shift the reality. If we say no to what is, we become stuck and frozen in resistance, and that Christmas jingle will be playing in your head all year.
Be with what is here and now.
6. Exercise, rest and water
You know what to do.
7. Celebrate with passion
Holiday time means time for you to celebrate. So what’s your thing? Cooking delicious meals with all your senses alive and zinging? Or is it hunting down exotic gifts for the special people in your life? Is it making music with your friends and stirring the soul? Planning an extreme sports adventure in a remote part of the world, having lots of great noisy sex, or being in service at a retreat? Or perhaps winding down at home with the tennis and good mates?
Go for it – no guilt, be total! (But if you think you want all of the above you will need drugs!)
8. Be contagious with your real ‘gifts’
Giving your gifts of your essence, both the light and the dark, is inspiring to others. You become an attractive force, drawing others to you, lifting them up, consequently increasing your, and their, happiness. Living Love means expanding instead of contracting. Bingo!
9. Above all, express love. Really.