As we approach the holiday season and celebrations are upon us we can feel very lonely, so how do we overcome the sense of isolation and move toward being connected. There are some steps we can take that can ease our stress during this time of the year.
Depending on what developmental stage we are in our life and how close or far in distance we are from family and friends it will look and feel different with each holiday season. As the year comes and goes we remember what once was, and if we are to create new experiences we need to keep our heart open to new beginnings. Perhaps there will be different foods, new customs, everyone is a year older, then again there may be the same repetitive family argument or familiar family story that we long to hear and at the same time wish the story had a new ending!
In an instant I can be transported in time. This sometimes happens to me when someone is cooking chicken soup the aroma takes me back to my childhood. I can hear my Granny’s voice call from upstairs when I rang the doorbell on Friday night, tired from school and cold from the freezing temperatures, walking up the steps to their 2nd floor condominium in Chicago. A blast of hot air would steam up my glasses and the smell would make my mouth water, warm air, warm hands, and the strength of her embrace. Then for a fleeting moment I can imagine feeling her soft arms around me, wrinkly cool hands and days when life seemed simpler and time endless, and once again I am 10 years old.
All from a scent……Although it isn’t possible to recreate these exact moments again, it will never look or feel the same even if I tried to recreate this with other people, I can only acknowledge how much I miss her, shed a few tears of longing for what was once upon a time so many years ago, feel my loss, and allow my heart to be filled with her love and gratitude that she was in my life.
The key is move toward connecting, isolation leads to alienation, as human beings this can become our enemy fueling a deeper sense of loneliness. So how can you move toward connection?
First by connecting with yourself and then toward others. Just a few simple exercises:
Think back to a time when something small, a kind word, gesture, taste, touch, song or unexpected meeting brought you out of a dreary place. Notice the shift you feel and notice what happens in your body as you remember this.
What would bring you a little delight today? What one small thing? Repeat this exercise for a week. Doing less of what drains you and more of what feeds and energizes your life.
Take a conscious walk. Focus on the rhythm and movement of your body, and how your feet connect to the ground. Be aware of your 5 senses and notice sight, sounds, touch, smells and taste during this walk.
And now reach out so you can reach back. What you can do together you can never do alone. Relationships can help us laugh, gain perspective and give us the ability to stretch ours wings so we can create new possibilities. Feeling safe in life means you can reach out for help when you are in need and someone will reach back and take your hand. It can be as simple as gather regularly at someone’s home to meditate, have a discussion, and sit for tea. Any group which you’re getting to know one another, giving support and deepening awareness can be a life giving connection.
So this holiday season, during the miracle of lights, light a candle for someone you love and make a connection, light a candle for someone you need to forgive and make peace, light a candle for yourself for we are often the hardest on oneself, light a candle for someone that needs strength to carry on, light a candle for those who are lost who need to find their way home and light a candle with gratitude, giving thanks for the little and big things in life, that nourish you.