Celebrations are times and events that mark milestones, develop personal traditions & lighten our spiritual loads. This year especially is a good time for small celebrations. Despite the fact that Covid has narrowed our gatherings to small numbers; it doesn't mean that those gatherings can't be more frequent and just as festive.
Gatherings are certainly most important in person because touch and atmosphere are an integral part of the festivities. So is laughter and a sense of wellbeing and the tradition of gift giving. So perhaps this year we can put our creative hats on and establish some combination of in person and video gatherings that will fill all those buckets.
We could actually spread out our usual holiday gathering by having sequential smaller gatherings with one part of the family and a week later perhaps another part of the family. We can have lunch with those we are close to, that can't come to a larger gathering or that we may have a special gift to give. AND after all is said and done we can invite the whole crew to a video gathering to reminisce, share stories and plan other celebrations as the winter months go by.
We can have a video gathering if we have a special recipe or gift idea where we would normally get together and make it. We can make cookies, or other holiday favors and distribute them to families in need in our communities.
This year with many staying home and not traveling, it may be worth finding the community family that is right in your own neighborhood. Wanna do a cookie exchange? Everyone make the batch of cookies along with recipe copies to go with them. Set them out in containers (bags or other festive coverings) at the foot of your driveway at a designated day and time (this may be weather dependent). Everyone gets to walk the neighborhood with bags in hand, collecting cookies and passing each other on the street where they can share greetings as well as cookies.
Then there is the progressive dinner idea. Idea #1 if there is someone who likes to do all the cooking. Meal is made and portioned into individual plates and either delivered to family & friends or they pick them up. Then a specific time is set for dinner and everyone can sit around their zoom or facebook and eat together. Idea #2 is that different folks make different parts of the meal and then deliver them to one another. This is done a few days ahead with foods that can be refrigerated. Then a specific time is set for dinner and everyone can sit around their zoom or facebook page and eat together.
Or perhaps you'd prefer a holiday walk. Something festive to drink in your spill proof water bottle. Some festive attire, hats and sparkles. Some sweet treats to share and your walking shoes or boots) with flashing lights. Top it off with someone's phone playing holiday music and you are off together with distance between you and masks if you must. The sky's the limit on this one. If the weather is nice, you can stop to set up a picnic of finger foods or gaze upon a wondrous view. Love, kindness and togetherness can be found anywhere.
The ideas are limitless, just let your uniqueness as a family, your creativity and your desire to be together be your motivation.
Whatever celebrations you are enjoying this season, may the light of His countenance shine upon you. From all of us at Healing Leaves Center
This year of 2020 has certainly been a challenge for all of us. And now with the elections, the sense of division and antagonism is not only distracting, it is bringing out very unhealthy emotions. Though the world is not what we would like it to be, the way through this does not seem to be bashing those whose opinions differ, but in first recognizing and being thankful for the many benefits we do have and then exchanging views with the idea of finding middle ground and then building on that. Taking a critical look at problems is not a bad thing if we can start from thankfulness for lives and stop trying to control the substance and speed of change.
As this newsletter is all about health and wellness, I would like to focus on thankfulness in honor of this month's holiday and leave the hard issues for another day. There are plenty of places where you can find the pros and cons of our current circumstances as a nation.
We need balance. Let's start with us individually. Whether we're dealing with homeschooling children, a hard day at the office, serious health issues, or any other myriad of personal circumstances, we need to be sure to make time for moments of personal satisfaction and lack of stress. We all need to find personal space to look on the lighter side because a "merry heart doeth good like medicine". If we can't find space to laugh and be lighthearted in the midst of the challenges of life, we will always be looking with negativity that will make wellness and health hard to sustain.
Without joy, we can't digest our food, we can't sleep, we can't find rest. The science of stress shows that it raises cortisol in a sustained fashion which causes our bodies to run on adrenaline which should be reserved for an emergency fight or flight situation. If this continues unchecked it will cause all the above situations as well as a breakdown in body systems overtime. It is extremely important for those cortisol levels to ebb and flow on a daily basis so that energy and rest ebb and flow as well. This is a healthy life.
Joy is part of our DNA and creative makeup. If that is ignored for other more stressful thoughts, it will cause spiritual breakdown as well as physical malfunction. In the midst of change, the things that bring us joy can be a stabilizing factor. In difficult situations it can be the one consistent part of our lives.
"I suspect that the more we want to finish or achieve before we die, the more likely we are to die before we're finished!" Dr. Archibald D. Hart, The Hidden Link Between Adrenaline and Stress
One simple way to bring blood pressure and stress levels down is taking time out to do deep breathing exercises. You can do these anywhere. Preferably sitting in a relaxed position, inhale slowly and deeply for 4 counts and the breathe out slowly for 4. Repeat this 5 to 6 times. That's it. BUT when you're finished use this more relaxed state to rise slowly and move naturally into you next activity.
So what brings you joy? laughter? Walking in the woods, being creative, reading a book, talking with friends, listening to music…. Everyone is different, but whatever it is, make a habit of it. If you have to make plans for it in the middle of a crazy schedule, do it! Whatever it takes, find your happy place. We can remind ourselves of the good things in our lives by making a list. The things we take for granted, may be the things that we need to intentionally be thankful for. If there's one thing that the Covid crisis has shown me, it is that the simple things of life are some of the most wonderful. Right now in autumn, the colors of the leaves are inspiring and refreshing, even though it means the cold weather is on the way. When that happens, snuggling up in front of my woodstove with a good book and hot chocolate will be my new happy place.
Money getting short? Finding new ways to satisfy time at home instead of travel, frugal habits instead of buying unneeded things, creating necessary items out of stuff around the house. I remember a story that an aunt told me about living during the depression. They didn't have money for new shoes, so when the soles would get holes in them, they would take old tire tubes and cut innersoles to slip inside of them. When the weather was colder, they would make them out of sheepskin. She and her siblings were always competing to see who could come up with the next best thing. She always laughed at those memories as some of the best times in her life.
"Of all the beautiful truths pertaining to the soul, none is more gladdening or fruitful of divine promise and confidence than this - that man can be master of thought, the molder of character, and the maker and shaper of condition, environment, and destiny." James Allen, As A Man Thinketh
The holiday of thankfulness is coming but we don't have to wait until the end of November. Joy is something we need every day. Happy Thanksgiving, starting today!!
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