Finding the Calm Sea in the Holiday Storm

Family, lack of family–either one can be a cause of anxiety during the holiday season. Where the happy memories live, the loney ones also lurk around the corner and always seem to come visit this time of year, no matter how careful and festive the planning. What to give, whether to buy, and floods of commercial advertising can also create stress and may seem in conflict with spirituality during this season so filled with references to the divine. How to find that calm place inside?

When I was about sixteen, I happened across the idea of meditation quite accidentaly. I’m sure it was in a bookstore, where I picked up a do-it-yourself type book on yoga. One section described sitting still for ten minutes or so each day alone, just concentrating on the breath coming in and out. I can’t properly describe the happiness this exercise brought to me. It seems odd that being alone and not really “doing” anything would create a space for happiness, but for me, quite unexpectedly, it did. Meditation seemed very much like prayer, but without the wishes, without any regrets or apologies. I began to love my own breath and my own quiet time.

Over the years as I read about religions I found that meditation – or reflection – had a place in nearly all. I’ve been reading Margaret Atwood’s Penelopiad this week, and in Penelope’s musings she describes the Internet as a retangular shrine in each house – from a demi goddess’ point of view. Part of the pleasure of meditation is the lack of a shrine, and the quiet simplicity of the practice. It’s a relief to think I don’t have to buy a single thing to enjoy this one rejuvinating pleasure.

I’m sharing an interview about meditation – what it is and how it affects the brain –  by actor Russell Brand with a scientist and educator, John Hagelin.

How do you find a calm place during the holidays?

Please leave a comment to share views with readers. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

10 thoughts on “Finding the Calm Sea in the Holiday Storm

  1. People have been trying to find inner peace and happiness through the advancement of technology, yet people are more stressed out than ever. Peace does not lie in the the world. Peace is inside of you and that is where you need to go to find it.

    1. It is so true, the attitude inside of us is what makes a moment seem peaceful. Some settings are tranquil, but peace within can be carried along nearly anywhere. Thanks for the visit and the comment.

  2. My quality of happiness has been greatly improved by the poise and serenity I’ve acquired through a consistent practice. This can come in especially handy now, at this time of year, when others are often stressed and anxious; the ability to keep calm when others may be driving aggressive, or impatient in lines makes a huge difference, not just on my own personal experience, but also on that of others nearby. It’s easy to get caught up in the force of an angry person’s energy…if we aren’t mindful.
    I don’t participate in the gift buying of Christmas. I would if I had a young child expecting a gift, and I would enjoy it. But I feel our country is too caught up in the capitalist aspects of the season, and it’s just too much for me. It ruins my experience to have to visit crowded malls or worry about how I will pay for everything. And so my husband and I have slowly phased this out of our lives. We give gifts throughout the year, when it occurs naturally.
    Absolutely LOVE the video, BTW. Excellent 🙂

    1. I’m happy you enjoyed this video, I loved the exchange between the two. The actor and the scientist – both into meditation. It is great to give gifts throughout the year, and in a way an unexpected gift is special. Thanks for sharing your experience here.

  3. Meditation can lead to many amazingly humbling experiences. It has so many physical, mental and spiritual benefits, it would be stupid to not practice it. Strange how many of us don’t.

    Nice post! 🙂

    1. The benefits of meditation seemed unbelievable to me at first, but the more I read and practiced, the more I saw how great it is for me. Thanks for the comment here and for visiting the blog.

  4. Hi Jennifer

    Great share, thank you. As a yoga practitioner, I’m definitely a fan of slowing down, connecting to breath, and turning inward. I’ve been practicing for 18 months now and am continually amazed at the difference this practice makes, and how it helps me turn outward again with sharper focus and stronger intent – especially important during the holidays.

    My best to you,
    Alex

    1. Alex I’m happy to hear you practice yoga too, so great for body and mind both. It is comforting to know there is a place inside us that brings a feeling of peace when we need it most. Thank you for sharing your experience here.

  5. Great post, my friend! I agree completely. You can deal with anything if you can carve out that little space for calm each day. It’s completely refreshing and renewing and a must for me no matter where I am. Thank you for sharing this and all the best to you always…

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