Wow. We are in the final month of 2020. What a year it's been!
This time of year usually means winding down and getting together with those we love and hold dear, but this time around will be a bit different. Depending on where we are we may find ourselves in lockdown or partial lockdown. How do we meet these unsual circumstances? What emotions arise? Do we resist them? Do we cling to how we think things should be? Do we embrace what's here and sink into it? The days are shorter and it's darker. It's a good time to reflect and take stock – and there is no doubt that 2020 has given us a lot to think about.
The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear. Rumi
This time of year is is perfect for stillness and reflection. We're all so used to moving and doing and achieving, so being still and quiet can be challenging. The quiet and stillness can also bring up difficult things. It's a lot easier and more preferrable to distract ourselves when uncomfortable things arise. However, we need to remember that much growth and development happens in the dark, quiet stillness too. Think of the seedlings germinating under the earth. Changes and creation are happening even if we cannot see them.
One thing that helps me is something that I've learned from meditation teacher and author, Tara Brach. When I find challenging emotions or thoughts arising, I remind myself of the acronym RAIN. It is a useful tool for mindfulness and for practicing compassion towards others and ourselves.
Recognize what is happening
Allow life to be just what it is
Investigate with gentle kindness
Next time something difficult comes up, take a moment to recognize and identify/label what the emotion is. Accept (even welcome) its presence – try not to fix it. Just allow it to be there. Be curious about how the emotion feels and where you feel it in your body. Notice if things change or transform, move away or linger. Treat yourself with compassion and kindness as you go through the process. If things that arise are painful and challenging, it is okay to step back. Breathe. Bear in mind that these emotions do not define you, and just like the weather, they will pass. Whatever comes up may also bring insights into how we would like to do things better or differently in the coming year. It's always an opportunity to start anew.
Wishing you all a peaceful holiday season and a wonderful year ahead.
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