Let's start with a gentle invitation to first slow down.
Become aware of the breath. Notice it in the body. Bring your attention and focus into this moment. Connect with the body sensations. What do you notice? How are you today?
Can you bring some compassion to your experience whatever it is? Gently offer some tenderness and kindness to whatever thoughts or feelings you might be having right now.
Take a moment, just for you.
Over Christmas there will be many opportunities for happiness and joy for many people. However, there will also be distress, sadness, loneliness and despair for others. Please remember those who are suffering and reach out to them if you have an opportunity to do so.
Here are 12 gift ideas for a compassionate Christmas:
Give the gift of your time and attention to the people around you, particularly those you love. Listen with your heart with a willingness to be moved by what you hear.
Breathe and be present with the moments that arise. Treasure the good - they will not last. Let go of the bad - they are passing, you do not have to hold onto them. Ride the waves of life's ups and downs.
Be grateful for the good in your life. Write a gratitude journal with 3 things you are grateful for, include a relationship, something that happened today or yesterday and something near you e.g. a bird or a tree. This will focus your attention on the positive in your life.
Bring gratitude in your Christmas cards, share one reason why you are grateful for having each person in your life. Sending appreciation is like receiving a special gift from someone, the gift of acknowledgement.
Say Thank You to all those who help and support you, in whatever way is natural for you.
Say I Love You to those who matter, let them hear it now, don't wait! Follow it with a hug, a long slow squeeze boosting both you and the receiver's endorphins.
Be kind to yourself, don't 'should' yourself, or criticise yourself, offer some compassion to yourself. Journal one area in your life that you could offer kindness to yourself each day. Love and accept yourself as you are.
Do something nice for someone that would not expect it.
Be kind to others when you hear them berate themselves, listen and ask them to be kind to themselves - after all they really are perfect as they are.
Give the gift of forgiveness to someone this Christmas. Release whatever is causing you upset and wish them well from your heart. They too want to be happy and free from life's suffering.
Connect with what is most important to you, review your day each day in a journal and see if there is anything you would change. Be compassionate as you do this.
Spend time reflecting on this past year, recall the good, learn from the unpleasant with kindness and set an inspiring plan for what you would like to achieve in 2016.
Place your hand on your heart if you like and just breathe for a few moments offering yourself some kindness, compassion and love.
Wishing You a Peaceful, Loving, Healthy and Happy Christmas & a Wonderful 2016. Sue
PS. Next MBSR/MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction/Cognitive Therapy) course starting Monday January 25th 6:30-9:00pm for 8 weeks includes day retreat. The weekly course is in Claregalway check out this link for more information