It is fitting that we have cheerful, bright, loud holidays to finish out December. And even more suitable that they encourage us to be together with friends and family. The longest, darkest weeks of the year are upon us, with the longest night of winter equinox, being around December 21st. We need the holidays as a treatment for us to find balance and solace.
If anyone has ever lost a family member around any of the holidays, there is a bittersweetness every year around this time. For those of us who lost loved ones any time in this year, this is our first Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. without them, which gives an undertone of loneliness and grief throughout all of the holiday preparations, carols and festivities. We deeply feel the fleetingness of life at this time.
Physically, too, this can be a stressful time of year. Many of us don’t get as much sunlight or fresh air as we do in nicer weather. We easily fall away from our regular workout routines as well.
ANTIDOTE TO THE DARK DAYS OF DECEMBER
I believe it is no accident that we have the holidays in December. The long, dark, cold days of this month can contribute to sadness, loneliness and even depression. That is just part of being human in this culture. Please, do not hesitate to share or use the confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline which is always open: 1-800-273-8255.
We all have similar (if not the same) struggles. This time of year is the time to be gentle with others, even if you do not know them. Maybe especially be forgiving and kind because you do not know what they are going through.
USE YOUR SKILLS DURING THE HOLIDAYS
Instead of getting pulled into holiday hustle and bustle stress and letting it make you so hurried and distracted that you become callous and self-absorbed, instead, make the extra effort to use the Dojo Kun. Try to be good and respectful. Use restraint whenever your dealings with others give you a good chance to do so.
Be patient and gentle. We will get through this together. The sun will come out tomorrow, and the New Year is just around the corner.
By Jenifer Tull-Gauger