by Karen Mehringer

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony” – Mohandas K. Gandhi

Walking my dog the other day, I became aware of a frenetic, unsettled feeling in the air, similar to the feeling I had during the southern California fires. It occurred to me that I was picking up on the collective energy of the holiday season. Waiting in line at the post office, I observed the faces of those around me. Most looked impatient and irritable. Driving, there appeared to be more traffic and cars were moving faster. I noticed that people, in general, seemed to be acting out of a sense of busyness and obligation rather than joy.

This time of year is naturally a time for us to slow down and go within. With shorter and colder days, the plants, trees and flowers stop growing and become dormant. They are still in the coldness of winter, waiting to blossom and grow in the warmth of springs sunlight. Similarly, it is natural for us to draw our energy inward to gain clarity and strength to move forward once again when the season changes. The holidays throw a wrench into this natural flow and cycle of life as our energy goes outward, getting caught up in the busyness and frenzy of activities…Christmas parties, gatherings with friends, shopping, traveling, cooking, etc. No wonder we feel run down and irritable. Our bodies are communicating to us that we are out of balance with our own natural rhythms. Consequently, we are not taking the time out to restore our energy reserves or to renew ourselves.

I’m not suggesting that we do away with all of the activities of Christmas, but that we choose the ones that are in alignment with our hearts instead of acting out of a sense of obligation and guilt. For example, if you feel burdened, frequently hear yourself using the word “should”, or hear the following voices in your head, then you are most likely acting out of alignment with yourself…“I may hurt their feelings if I say ‘no’ to their party invitation.” “If I don’t buy so and so a gift, they will be disappointed.” “They gave me a gift, so I need to give them something in return.” If you feel light, excited or joyful when taking action, then you are coming from an authentic, heart centered place. The beauty of acting from our hearts is that the gift is returned to us many fold.

By creating room in our schedules to stop, slow down and go within to a place of stillness and silence, we can receive higher guidance on where to spend our time and energy. We can then go out into the world and create from a more empowered, centered and joyful place. By “being” first and then taking action or “doing”, we are allowing Spirit/God/Life Force to move through us and show us the highest action to take instead of acting out of habit, routine, a sense of obligation or compulsion.

Why not slow down and give yourself the gift of joy this holiday season?

“Through stillness and silence, new creation is born.”