Fir trees and candy canes are all around town, and carolís float through department stores. Does this bring you childlike memories of toys and celebration with people you love? Or does it bring nightmares and depression?
At some point most everyone experiences loss and loneliness. There were years when the holidays were painful reminders of Christmas Past. I did my best to escape the holidays by working long hours and avoiding the malls with all that chirpy pain-in-the-neck holiday merriment. Bah, humbug!
The truth was, it hurt too much to celebrate. I wanted to avoid painful feelings by hiding away.
It is fair to question, "What is celebration? Do we really need it?" Is there a benefit to repeating the same rituals year after year?
The truth is that the music and lights and colored ornaments bring us together in shared acknowledgement of the passage of time. Soon we will celebrate the ending of one year and the beginning of the next. What will it mean to you?
"We can think of sacred ritual as the intersection of ordinary reality and spiritual reality. Ritual provides a safe framework, or container, for us to experience the sacred".
Rachel Pollock Ė The Power of Ritual
The meaning that you give makes all the difference. Would you be willing to bring new meaning to your life by considering some new rituals?
Releasing the past. If you experience pain during the holidays, you might be hanging on to the past. Would you be willing to let go and create some new experiences? Here are a few ideas that celebrate the passage of time and allow you to let go of past hurts and pain. You have to open your arms and let go before embracing new beginnings. There is no need to forget all that came before. Yet by releasing the energy of disappointment or hurt, you open yourself to forgiveness and love.
Here are some simple clearing ceremonies which you can include in your celebrations:
Turning Darkness to Light: You can do this ritual alone or with others.
- Get some small pieces of paper and write out any thoughts, feeling or emotions which cause you to feel sad, angry or fearful. Include any that come from guilt, jealousy or lack. Write each of them on a separate piece of paper.
- Now take them one by one and burn them. You might throw them into a fireplace or hold them over a candle and drop them into a bowl of water.
- Allow the negative feelings and emotions to disappear from your heart as the paper burns. Watch the smoke rise and feel your heart lighten as it releases the past. Isnít it wonderful?
Warming the Heart: Follow the last exercise with an invitation to new feelings.
- Invite new feelings to take the place of the things youíve just released. Decide what you would like to invite into your life. Would you like more love, sharing, friendship, creativity, or abundance?
- When you released negative feelings you created a vacuum and nature rushes in to fill that vacuum. It is up to you to fill yourself with the good things.
- Enjoy this simple ritual by yourself of with good friends. Announce each new feeling you are inviting into your life. Then toast and celebrate it with a sip of a warm drink such as hot spiced cider, hot chocolate, or mulled wine. Take time to savor each taste. Enjoy the sensation as each sip warms and fills you.
Imagine that every good thing you have invited into your life is now part of you and continues to grow in the coming year. Could you shift your holiday experience? If the old rituals donít serve you, create new ones this year.