Tips to live an Inspired Life During the Holidays
Parties, sweets and alcohol are abundant during the final months of the year. Goals left unattended are often shelved until New Year. Is this how nature intended it or is it man-made consumerism? Perhaps it is a bit of both. Harvest festivals are celebrated world wide as both religious and secular occasions to honor the year’s crop. Tending to one’s farm is arduous work. On this occasion people celebrate by sharing food, song, and dance. As humans migrated to the city, leaving the farms behind, traditions were kept alive. This speaks to our need for connection and community, especially before the long dark nights of the sparse winter lying ahead.
In the United States Thanksgiving signifies the beginning of Holiday Shopping. Long before meals are digested shoppers begin lining up to “save” on gifts, and purchase decorations galore. Mass consumption and crowded malls have never resonated with me. Without sounding like a naysayer I would like to offer a few suggestions on how to bring the ritual back into our holiday celebrations. I want to apologize upfront if my cooking tips insult the vegans out there. Although I am a carnivore, I always show the utmost respect for life as I prepare my meals.
1. Preparing your Feast
Start by having an intimate relationship with your food. Meat eaters may not want to go to the farm to watch their turkey’s slaughtered, but still can enjoy a tasty meal. Visit a local farmers market and meet those who work the fields to produce the food you eat.
2. Cook from Scratch
Friends love to come to my home for Thanksgiving Dinner. Preparation begins several days ahead, with the help of others. Generally I start by baking pumpkins, and making stock that will later become the “best gravy you’ve ever had.“ If this seems overwhelming, start by choosing a few things on this year’s menu to limber up your cooking limbs.
3. Celebrate with Friends
Ask yourself, “When is the last time I invited people into my home?” Make it fun. Ideas: A healthy cookie exchange. Everyone bakes a few dozen cookies to share. Have a contest to see who can bake the most interesting sweet treat without sugar. A Night of Song: A woman I know hosts a hootenanny on Whidbey Island at her home every summer. She prints up songbooks and everyone sits by the fire and sings. Are you adventurous? How about caroling around the neighborhood with a group of friends? Singing around the campfire can also be fun. Spice up your holiday time with games. This year I ‘m offering a party experience to inspire my guests using soul cards and rituals. People all around are looking to connect with others. Reach out to others. Schedule time with family and friends; do something creative and enjoy yourself.
4. Make Your Gifts
I have more scarfs than I could possibly wear in the desert. $10 gifts are perfect for the wallet, but end up in a drawer or in a box labeled “Re-gift.” This year paint, bake or craft a gift. Ferment vegetables or make jam. My mom has her paintings converted into greeting cards. People always appreciate gifts shared from the heart.
If you are more spiritual than religious, consider a Solstice Gathering. I will be offering a potluck fire ceremony on Saturday December 21 at 5pm. The food I bring is always handcrafted and delicious. I love to go to church; most any church or synagogue will do. When working with my coaching clients, I insist that they have a spiritual practice. Many have returned to their faith of origin, but others have found meaning elsewhere. Bring ritual back into the holidays.
4. Be of Service
Give of yourself to someone less fortunate. Giving in Service means that you expect nothing in return. Often the people on our gift-giving list are those who shop for us. It is a gift exchange. Make a few sacrifices. Call a homeless shelter, nursing home, or meals on wheels to learn where you are needed. Consider caroling around the neighborhood with friends and family. There are many valuable lessons to be learned from those less fortunate than us.
If you are lacking in motivation, don’t worry. What you feel is Nature’s natural cycle of introspection. As we move northward on our Medicine Wheel, it’s time for hibernation. In my upcoming book, “When the Wind Blows,” I speak about Zephyrus, the West Wind and Boreas, the North Wind, as a time to turn from one’s self to one’s community. Traditionally, during the harvest, farmers would move from place to place. Be flexible; it’s today for me and tomorrow for you. This year, as you move from your harvest consider how you would like to share you bounty. Finish the year strong by living an inspired life.
Align Your Awakening Compass™ in 2014 – Free Webinar Sunday, December 29 11am(pst)
Jump-start your New Years with a Free 1 ½ hour Webinar hosted by Renee Baribeau. –
Local Desert Residents.
Celebrate the Winter Solstice at Desert Healing Arts. December 21 from 3-7pm. Community Potluck, fire and drumming.
Start a new chapter in 2014. http://practicalshamantravel.com/event/solstice-spa-sampler/