There are three visitors who can bring gifts. First is the Ghost of Christmas (or, insert your holiday here) Past. Remembering how things used to be can bring happy memories or sadness, even anger. The happy memories can be resources for the present. To enliven the positive memories, find a quiet place, get comfortable, close your eyes, go back in time and remember as many details as you can. Focus on each of your senses, what did you see, hear (include even your singing), smell (food, fireplaces, pine trees), taste (egg nog, gingerbread, hot chocolate) and even feel (snow, pinecones, tinsel) and the positive emotions, (what did you feel inside?). Make a practice of reliving these memories so that you can easily experience the positive feelings whenever you need a happy boost. For the negative memories, practice being present or counteract with a positive one.
The Ghost of Christmas Present can bring the gift of a quest for perfection. The need to be perfect can kill joy in its tracks. Holiday magazines, ads, Facebook posts and other people’s outdoor displays can bring on feelings of inadequacy. There is pressure to make everything perfect, to produce so much with gifts and food, and to put on parties. It can be overwhelming. Stop. Get grounded. Feel your feet on the ground. Breathe in deeply and notice the feeling. Have a conversation with yourself. If you are not being paid for it or it is not going to be in a magazine, it does not have to be perfect. Good enough is good enough. Holidays don’t have to be a competition, even with yourself. A goal of creating and enjoying a comfortable, happy experience will create the positive memories you can have for the rest of your life.
The Ghost of Christmas Future brings the gift of worry. The future is unknown; anticipating a negative outcome is a recipe for misery. Imagining a bad future is to feel as if it is happening now. A quick fix is to bring yourself back to the present. That is the technique of noticing now. Feel your feet on the ground. Notice your breathing. Take some deep breaths. Experience what is around you right now. What do you see, hear, smell, taste and feel? You can always bring up the positive memories. Imagine a positive future outcome, making it as real as possible. Experience that in place of the imaginary negative future.
May you have a happy, peaceful and grateful Thanksgiving. FBN
By Don Berlyn