Think you’re zen? Just wait until the holiday stress sets in. You have more parties than your social graces will allow. You suddenly realize you forgot gifts for grandpa and that nice old lady down the street who always brings you stale gingerbread cookies. Then your mother arrives and starts telling you what to do.
This year, I am choosing to deal with all of this nonsense through meditation. It’s a practice, I have found, that allows me to establish an inner-sense of calm and well-being–even though I totally suck at it. My ADD mind starts to wander after about two seconds, and it’s not long after that when I find myself fidgeting and consistently eying the clock to see if my allotted five minutes are up. Nevertheless, I stick with it, because I had a break-through–once, and you never know when that’s going to happen again.
Because I am meditation-challenged, I tend to stick with the very simple ways to center and ground myself. Here are two of my favorite meditations that can be done by anyone, anywhere (even in the bathroom for a few moments during Christmas dinner at the in-laws):
This meditation is so very simple. It’s an instant heart chakra opener, which allows us to become more compassionate, loving, peaceful, grateful and content. To do it, just:
–Close your eyes.
–Inhale deeply through pursed lips, whistling as you fill yourself with air, “Whewwwwww.”
–Exhale deeply, chanting a long “Laaaaaaaaa.”
That’s it! Repeat for as many minutes as you can.
When dealing with family and other holiday stress triggers, it can be easy to speak quickly from your head, as opposed to your heart. This simple meditation allows us to center ourselves and maintain balance. Best of all, it can be done alone when you’re relaxing or when you’re with others and need to remind yourself to come back to your true self.
–Find your centering point by inhaling deeply into your belly.
–Move your attention to the expanded spot just below your naval and place your right hand there.
–Keep your awareness there while you inhale and exhale, noting how your hand rises and lowers.
Once you move your attention out of your head and into your center, you will notice a calming effect. Use this in your morning meditation, at the dinner table or any other time you start to feel stressed. And don’t forget to breathe deeply when doing this.