Just as there are many faith traditions around the world celebrating in December, there are many different perspectives on this time of year around the world. The turn of season from dark toward the light is only true for the northern hemisphere of the earth. At the equator, there is little to no fluctuation in the number of hours of day and night. In the southern hemisphere, December 21st is the longest day of the year not the shortest. Just so, we have options when it comes to how we respond to everything this season entails. It’s worth taking a little time to find our own personal perspective during this northern hemisphere holiday season.
The last 5 or 6 weeks of the year can be the most challenging time for those of us who struggle with weight. We feel more vulnerable than usual as we navigate large gatherings, big dinners, and holiday sweets. Not only are we juggling our time to do some extra shopping and decorating, but we’re juggling our emotions as well. More gatherings mean more personal encounters and more possibilities that someone will make that unthinking comment that sends us into a downward spiral. Even if it never happens, we’re usually holding our breath expecting the worst and so we minimize our potential for happiness.
One thing we can do is to recognize our capacity, or our limit, for the number of events we choose to attend. Just when we think we have our schedule set, we know who we’re celebrating with and how often we’ll be at a gathering, that last minute office party or friends gathering pops up. We can give ourselves permission to say no. We don’t have to attend every event we’re invited to. And we don’t owe anyone an explanation or excuse for not attending. Saying, “I’m sorry, I can’t make it,” is enough.
One of the strongest and most valuable skills in taking care of ourselves is knowing what our boundaries are. The invitation that is one-too-many might come from people we love and enjoy being with. But if it pushes us beyond our capacity to engage with ease and joy, it’s okay to say no.
Maybe the office potluck is mostly desserts and our co-workers equate sharing food with showing respect and love. They would be hurt if we refuse to indulge in the goodies they brought. It’s okay to make a plan ahead of time. We can bring something to balance out that meal. Then we can show up, take a little, thank our co-workers and show appreciation for their efforts. Or maybe the plan is to just indulge for that one meal and get back on our own food plan the rest of day.
Whatever we choose to do, attend all the parties or refuse some of them, eat all the food or limit the amount we eat, it’s important that we make conscious choices. We want to nurture our inner light by being deliberate about our choices. We can recognize that we have the power to decide how we walk through this season. We are never at the mercy of the season, but always have the power to choose how brightly we shine.
Light symbolizes our life force and our own awakening. We find the deeper meaning to our life by tending to the light that burns inside ourselves. By caring for that light and keeping the flame strong, we see ourselves more clearly and we live a more authentic life, one filled with ever increasing joy and ever-expanding love.
As we celebrate this December, let’s put our light at the center of all our activities. Let’s choose the people, places, and events that light us up. Let’s honor ourselves enough to choose self-care. Let’s ask ourselves how much we are available for and how much alone time we might need to nurture that light within.
May you shine brightly this December and may your light bring joy to the world.