In theory this
Season looks pretty good. Spend a few weeks each year
reminding ourselves that we are indeed humans and in need
of sharing this planet and our lives. That we are not
designed to be alone and that in each of us is that core
of humanity that wants to help others and generally make
life better for everyone.
a Fax recently that looked at The Season from a strange
perspective. Apparently the old gent who has come to symbolize
this period has some inherent flaws by our standards.
He's overweight rather dramatically and probably has high
blood pressure as well. He spends this one night sliding
down chimneys and breathing in who-knows-what carcinogenic
substances. He indirectly promotes abject consumerism
as a substitute for affection and then eats your milk
and cookies before taking off. Why he skulks around is
hard to assess unless he's afraid we'll make him take
the stuff back. I don't know about your roof, but mine
just isn't going to support his impressive mass not to
mention his sleigh and all that livestock.
caught me. I'm a bit of a cynic. But I'm also a Jewish
cynic. Don't for one moment think that our holiday traditions
are any less confusing. We celebrate the Festival of Lights
wherein one day's worth of holy oil lasted eight and a
relatively small tribe of Jews defeated the Roman army
in a bloodless tactical victory. So two thousand years
later we're belching out consumerism to beat the band.
message about goodwill? Aren't both traditions trying
to teach us that we can respect ourselves and others without
the need for hostility?
are longer. Darkness descends daily wrapping us in . .
. potential. The sun goes down, and we become more introspective.
This is good. For the most part we tend to restrict our
introspective moments to, "When's this blasted light
gonna change?" or "Hmmm, he's kind of cute,"
or "How am I gonna pay for all this stuff?"
Well, surprise! There's a better way to introspect.
All you have
to do is stop for a few minutes. I know, it's downright
un-American to stop or slow down this time of year, but
you always considered yourself a rebel, right? So stop
for a few minutes. Sit down. Don't close your eyes! I'm
not going to take the chance of you falling asleep on
me. Let your eyes defocus. Like looking at one of those
3-D pictures or watching political commercials. If you
follow this carefully, your blood pressure won't blow
your ear drums out before New Year's.
you're breathing. Try to make your breathing come from
your navel. Not deep breathing. That just makes matters
worse. If you want, take one or two deep breaths, but
that's all! Just let your body breathe naturally.
your shoulders. Let them droop a little. Imagine gravity
is pulling a little harder on your shoulders. As you let
yourself feel this, start counting your breaths. On the
exhale. One number for each exhale. Breath normally! Continue
this until you can count 25 relaxed natural breaths. If
you lose track of your number, start over, but keep doing
it until you can reach 25. Then get up and go on about
your business. If your mind wanders while you're doing
this exercise, don't worry. It's OK. Let it be. You're
not trying to blank your mind, just let your thoughts
come and keep counting.
Do this once
or even twice daily, and you'll have less stress and even
be happier. So will those around you. And now it's possible
to really enjoy The Season.