I'm in charge of the holiday shopping because if it were up to my husband, everyone would get socks and underwear. Oh, he might throw in a tangerine or two, but still. That said, I've been in a shopping frenzy since Thanksgiving. Yesterday, I paused to reflect on the materialistic aspect of holiday gift giving and concluded that gifts are fun, but love is greatest gift of all. That's a no-brainer. Love is about connection, and a strong connection requires three things: emotional honesty, a lack of judgment and an open heart. Here are six ways you can put love back into your holidays.
1) When family and friends get together, make it a 24-hour judgment-free period. First, dismiss expectations from the past. Yes, that crazy Uncle Joe always makes a dig at how dry Mom's turkey is, but you're only responsible for how you react to him, not how he reacts to the meal. Instead of thinking vile thoughts about him, listen and respond with your own opinion or say nothing at all. Believe it or not, you can have your own opinion without judging that of another. During those 24 hours, you'll notice how difficult it is to avoid judging others. I found that I had been more judgmental than I thought. Not the unconditionally loving, Buddha-like person I wanted to be. Being aware of this has been very powerful for me and acting on this awareness can help you grow to become the best version of yourself.
2) Go through the holidays with an open heart. That means sharing yourself openly. We are taught to hide everything that we perceive as a weakness or flaw for fear of being criticized. Even expressing love is often seen as a position of weakness because many of us are afraid that the other person might reject our affection. But what can realistically happen? Do you truly think Aunt Mary will scoff at you and call you a pansy-ass loser? No! She'll be surprised and touched. She'll tell you she loves you, too. She'll be changed. That's the kind of power love has. So, during the holidays, never pass up a chance to let your friends and everyone in your family know that you love them.
3) Be emotionally honest with yourself and others, and again, eliminate judgment from the equation. For instance, it's okay for you to tell Uncle Joe, "It probably hurts Mom's feelings when you complain about the turkey," and you can express that thought without thinking judgmentally, "What a cloddish boor." With this statement, you're being emotionally honest with him. You're also being emotionally honest with yourself because you're not making unfounded excuses for Uncle Joe, "Poor guy was terrorized by a tom turkey on a farm when he was three," and you're not denying yourself the right of self-expression. "I don't want to sound like a bitch, so I'll keep it to myself." Emotional honesty can't exist with excuses, rationalizations, blame-shifting and denial.
4) When you give someone a gift, don't just plop it into their lap and say, "Hope you like it. I promise it's not a re-gift." Make it a sacred moment by sending it with love. Love is more than just a word. It's actually a form of energy that you can visualize sending to that person. Remember the Care Bears and their Care Bear stare where beams of different colored light would shine from their chests? Visualize that sort of energy transfer. Your loved one will feel its power.
5) The holidays are a good time to simplify your life. Take inventory of your belongings and give those you no longer need to someone who does. Also, revel in the simple moments like feeling the grass beneath your feet, sipping cocoa by the fireplace, watching the sun as it sets. Simple moments should be treasured because that's when you really connect to yourself. In that connection, you'll find self-love. That's also when you feel connected to the Whole, and in that connection, you'll find love for all life.
6) Everyone needs love during the holidays. There's a lot of crazy chaos going on in the world today, and one simple exercise can make a difference, especially if we do it as a collective. Imagine the white light of love coming from your heart and shooting down to the core of the earth. Then, imagine Mother Earth sending it back up to the crust and the atmosphere to all the soles, paws, claws, hoofs, wings and roots of every living creature.
Practice these simple six things this month, and you'll have the best holiday season of your life. Practice them for the rest of your life and you'll feel forever fulfilled and happy.
An internist in Houston for over thirty years, since her son, Erik's, suicide in 2009, Dr. Elisa Medhus retired her practice and has written a book about her continuing relationship with him, My Son and the Afterlife: Conversations from the Other Side (October 2013) and has created a blog, channelingerik.com, that has over 30,000 subscribers and over 250,000 hits per month. Erik has written his own channeled book My Life After Death: A Memoir from Heaven (September 2015). In it, he describes, in great detail, his own death, his afterlife and his "life" as a spirit.
Subscribe to their Facebook Page, Channeling Erik.