I had a flash of gratitude today while I was standing outside the Honey Baked Ham store amidst the crowd of focused shoppers. As I stood there, waiting for my friend to finish her shopping, I realized how fortunate I am and all I have to be thankful for in 2011. Let me just say, I've had years where it has felt like like I had all I could do to keeping my head above water. But this year, I got to the finishing line of being a licensed marriage and family therapist. That in and of its self has me grateful ten times over. Writing a list of what one is grateful for is definitely an inspiring activity and a reminder of what gifts you've received throughout the last 12 months. And, I recommend everyone do it as a centering activity. Even if you are going through one of your more challenging of years, find one thing that you feel grateful for. Anyway, this is not a posting about all that I have to be thankful for, though I could easily write many pages on this subject, I want to help you gear up for the days and nights ahead by finding a practice that has you centered. I want to suggest ways in which you can keep your wits about you, experience peace amongst the insanity, discover love in unlikely places, and most of all, trust in yourself when you might be swayed to doubt.
So, where do you find centering? Do you have a meditation practice? Do you have a creative outlet? Do you make tine to walk in nature? When was the last time you went outside and counted the many different species of birds you saw? When was the last time you allowed yourself space to draw or paint a mandala? Are there books you've been wanting to read? If you are reading this and wondering just how and when you are going to fit any of this into your busy schedule, have you thought about asking your family to give you the gift of time this year? Do you trust someone else to take over while you take a break? Or do you feel you are the only one to keep the household functioning? I invite you take care of yourself this holiday and ask for what you need. Dear Santa, may I please have 12 hours once a week, once a month, or (you fill in the blank) to myself this year?
How do you know when your are centered? I invite you to get creative and one way is to begin by writing a gratitude list. You can also get creative and make a gratitude collage with images cut from magazines that reflect all that you are grateful this year. You might also want to create a centering collage or mandala that reflects calm in your life. Fill it with images that relax you and provide a sense of peace for you. Hang it some place in your home or office so you will be reminded of its power. See my other posts for information on how to create mandalas.
No matter where you find centering, stay in the here and now...not in the past and not in the future, there you will only find anxiety. If you stay in the moment, may calm and centering be with you.