The holiday season of gift giving is here. We shop for the perfect gifts for our loved ones. Yet, the perfect gift can’t be bought in a store or wrapped in pretty paper with a festive bow. “The most precious gift you can give the ones you love is your true presence.” (Thich Nhat Hahn).
While we know this, we may find it challenging to bring the healing power of our loving presence to holiday gatherings with our tribe. When we were small children, it is family that told us who we are. They taught us right from wrong, and what was acceptable in the society, or circumstances, into which we were born. Although we’re now adults, parents and other family members may still think that they know what is best for us. They may expect us to live according to their standards and to share their beliefs and values.
In one way or another, we all have to break free of the past to live with personal integrity. By releasing the past, I certainly don’t mean cutting family out of your life, or trying to change them. Releasing the past involves looking within and unhooking from old programming. Separating out essence from conditioning; becoming our own authority, deciding for our selves what is real, what is right; and finding purpose and meaning in life.
Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, a revolutionary, who was profoundly connected to his inner truth, and said and did things that people in power didn’t think were right. According to Huston Smith, author of The World’s Religions, “Jesus saw social barriers as an affront to . . . compassion. So, he parlayed with tax collectors, dined with outcasts and sinners, socialized with prostitutes, and healed on the Sabbath when compassion prompted doing so. This made him a social prophet, challenging the boundaries of the existing social order and advocating an alternative vision of the human community.”
At the holidays during the dark of mid-winter, we honor family and the One inner light. It’s our job to realize the light within and to manifest the inner life. If we’re mindful, gatherings with relations may offer great insight into what we need to release to fulfill our potential. We can notice where we get caught in deep-rooted patterns of automatic responses, or fall into roles that we’ve outgrown (at least inwardly). We can also notice if we are in right relationship. Are we a source of harmony and healing? If not, can we practice being open hearted and more loving?
In times of self-doubt or holiday family get-togethers, it may help to remember that: There is no right or wrong, other than be true to the Self (Essential Balance Principle™ # 9). In all matters, allow yourself to be guided from within. Trust in your innate wisdom and compassion. And, let your light shine brightly.
“This above all: to thine own self be true, . . .” – William Shakespeare
“The average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the [spiritual] warrior is hooked only to infinity.”- Carlos Casteneda
“To get unhooked we begin by recognizing that moment of unease and learn to relax in that moment.” – Pema Chodron
“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” – Oscar Wilde
Gold gift box Image courtesy of Master isolated images http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1962