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By Justine Buckley
In the lead up to Christmas people have been asking me how to survive this potentially painful and stressful time of year. Family gatherings can be a 'trigger-fest' and having no family or friends at Christmas can be profoundly lonely. It is completely natural to want to protect our heart, close its doors and windows, nestle into some safety away from problematic others and survive (or reach for the Johnny Walker!).
However, in the spirit of Christmas, I invite you this month to try turning to the wisdom of the spiritual traditions...
Here we are asked to think of others before ourselves, to offer compassion, to consider what we can give and not just what we can get. The irony is, that real generosity is healing. Giving freely touches our own hearts as much as it touches others.
Another deep consideration is to practice feeling gratitude. To do this, simply take a few minutes in the morning to consider 5 things about your life, your partner, anything, for which you are grateful. We tend to naturally focus on our painful feelings, our dissatisfactions, our grudges against people and other problems we have. Rarely do we take the choice to shift our attention onto what is good, on what we have received. Creating the habit of remembering things for which we are grateful can be life changing.
And, to further nourish all our hearts this festive season, here is a "Practice for the New Millennium" from the Dalai Lama.
Merry Christmas everyone xx
Practice for the New Millennium:
1. Spend 5 minutes at the beginning of each day remembering we all want the same things (to be happy and be loved) and we are all connected to one another.
2. Spend 5 minutes breathing in, cherishing yourself; and, breathing out cherishing others. If you think about people you have difficulty cherishing, extend your cherishing to them anyway.
3. During the day extend that attitude to everyone you meet.
Practice cherishing the "simplest" person (people you don't know) or people you dislike.
4. Continue this practice no matter what happens or what anyone does to you.
These thoughts are very simple, inspiring and helpful.
The practice of cherishing can be taken very deeply if done wordlessly, allowing yourself to feel the love and appreciation that
already exists in your heart.
Lots of Love