Updated: Oct 25, 2019
The holidays are here! I say that with an exclamation point because this season can intensify the many emotions we experience throughout the year, including joy, grief, gratitude, loneliness, peace, stress. It’s the human condition on steroids, fueled by pressure (or maybe inspiration) to experience merriment, hope and generosity.
More than any other time of year, I think, there’s an emphasis on the collective, and bringing people together. It’s a time we idealize connection and compassion, which can create opportunity to expand our circle of goodwill.
“A human being is part of the whole, called by us 'Universe'; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest-- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.
This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
Nobody is able to achieve this completely but striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.”
-Albert Einstein, 1950
Consider cultivating kindness and empathy. What you practice grows stronger, and mindfulness is a tool that can bring more kindness to our communities and to ourselves. One approach is loving-kindness meditation, which focuses on developing feelings of goodwill and kindness for yourself and others. Carve out some time for quiet and self-care, and try this 20-minute loving-kindness practice from leading researcher, Kristin Neff, Pd.D.
May you know peace and kindness this holiday season and beyond.