For a lot of you, the next few days are the most intense of the whole year. So here are some black belt energy techniques to stay peaceful even when shit gets crazy…
1. Use the bathroom. Use it like you’re pregnant. Seriously, any time you feel yourself getting jerked around, hot under the collar, or tempted to throw your eggnog at someone, simply excuse yourself, lock the door, and breathe. If that means you’re disappearing every ten minutes, so what? Maybe you’ll start a juicy new rumor.
2. Offer to take dogs, kids, hamsters, or houseplants on a walk. Offer to feed the parking meter. Offer to deliver the fruitcake yourself. Offer to run to the store for that special brand of cinnamon they only stock in Michigan. Do anything that will take you outside, even if it’s just for a few minutes. If you’re brave, simply say, “I’m going for some fresh air.” (I know that can be hard to do– it’s my personal theory that this is why people smoke. It’s not the nicotine, it’s the socially sanctioned excuse to stand outside alone for a few minutes!)
3. Imagine a membrane around yourself, made of anything that feels loving and utterly strong. It can be white light, or green leaves, or your favorite color, or fairy metal. Extra points if it makes you smile. If you’ve tried this before and it hasn’t helped, try experimenting with a tougher substance: imagine yourself at the center of an enormous redwood tree, or inside a ring of holy fire that doesn’t hurt anyone but is utterly impermeable and flickers beautifully on the manic faces gathered round it.
4. Send your attention and your breath to your heart. While you baste the turkey, refill wine glasses, or listen to the same anecdote for the 847th time, let a small part of your awareness stay on your heart. Send a small, steady trickle of affection to yourself, acknowledging the heartbeat of your body’s most loyal rhythm, thanking this sturdy engine that sustains you through all things. You can place your hand on your heart without attracting much attention, and it’s very grounding. If you find that your heart is racing, it’s time to excuse yourself for a few minutes.
5. Most importantly, declare dominion over your space. You don’t have to laugh at stupid jokes, kiss anyone, volunteer, listen to tales of woe, take advice on your parenting, hold anyone’s baby, sit on a lap, eat more, watch the news, talk about your reproductive choices, accept a drink, take phone calls, respond to idiotic comments, or really do anything else you don’t want to do. It is perfectly possible to be perfectly polite and perfectly clear. Think Oprah. Think Michelle Obama. Think Kate the princess. Think your favorite feline. You can blink, smile, and change the subject. You can walk away, pick up a book, or step outdoors. You can do any of those things with love and grace.
And when you set beautiful, bodacious, bad-ass boundaries, guess what happens? Your potent inner energies stay blissfully filled up so that you can pour them out where they really matter.
Here’s the deal. Whatever we fill ourselves up with, that’s what we’ll spill out into the world and onto the people around us. So the more you can fill yourself up with quiet moments, gentle pats on the shoulder, and lots of deep breaths, the nicer it will be for all of us.
P.S. And Merry EVERYthing, darlings!!!