Building Joy into Your Holiday Season
By Barbara E. Key
We all feel the joy of a forthcoming holiday and its festivities. Family and friends will gather together to celebrate. Equally, we may feel stress from preparing the food and decorating the table. Or the stress may come from arranging to travel. Whatever, it is an important time to focus on your own well being. One way to return yourself to those feelings of joy is by developing the practice of being centered.
Meditation and Centering have commonalities. The context for this article is practicing to be a centered leader in your family during holiday seasons. Centering means you, as a leader, are present in your body and connected with the earth, allowing you to feel balanced no matter what’s going on around you. Centering is an excellent practice that can improve your physical, mental and spiritual health.
Our gift to you is three recorded centering exercises (of varying lengths) that you can use. I recommend using the longest one to learn the practice and use the shortest one when you are in an immediate situation that requires your full awareness. Linda and I start each coaching session with clients by centering to bring their full attention to the topic and to themselves. We also lead the centering once per day at workshops for You as a Global Leader. Here are the three centering exercises:
Preparing Your Body
How do you prepare your body to start the centering practice? Here are the simple steps.
- Centering requires that you physically connect to the Earth. Either sitting or standing, connect your feet to the Earth approximately shoulder length apart. Feel the connection to the earth and the solidness it provides.
- Breathe deeply three times. Breathing is a key component of centering. Breathe from your diaphragm. As you inhale, push out these muscles and feel your rib cage expand outward. Push your energy down. Breathing deeply from your diaphragm can effectively reduce stress and optimize the amount of oxygen your lungs take in.
- Push your energy upwards through your feet, legs and upper body to your head. Feel the intensity of that energy and tug it up to your vision for the world. Image your connection to the vision fulfilled.
- Let the energy rush down through your head, your neck and upper body to your physical center. Let the energy rest there and recognize the feelings of warmth.
- Imaging your physical center being pulled forward into conversations. These conversations may represent the festive holidays and joy of being with family and friends. Or they may represent the stress of uneasy conversations during committee meetings. Whichever, imagine all the connected energy contained between the earth and your vision.
Real Life Applications:
- If you are with family, visualize the conversations in which you are all sharing and laughing. Feel the sense of community or oneness among you.
- If you are in a stressful meeting, take an extra deep breath and imagine you and the others listening for the best of what is happening, asking questions for deeper understanding and coming to alignment rather than agreement on what you care about. Concentrate on building connection with your colleagues.
- If you only have a second or two available, have a word or phrase readily available that represents your centered state of peace and inner connectedness. Even just the word “center” when you find yourself in tense situations may return your full attention to leading.