Holidays often bring up complex emotions.
Sometimes they are warm, joyous memories of family and friends. Pure bliss. If this is you, I wish you as much of this as you can hold – those memories can be a beautifully sustaining memory on a more challenging day.
For others, holidays are more painful. The first holiday after a trauma or loss can be especially difficult. If you are being triggered be very kind to yourself. It is normal for anniversaries to trigger memories and feelings. Even if some of those are ancient they must still matter to you. You can experiment with this mindfulness approach to continue to process those emotions.
Start by identifying and using language to notice what is going on. You can use the statement “I notice that I am thinking about ……. “ For example I can be a little nostalgic for Christmas when my kids were little. While sometimes those feelings are pure joy, other times they are a little more painful. At those times I can use the formula to identify and isolate my thoughts … “I notice that when I hear Christmas Carols I am thinking about my boys when they were little”.
That can sometimes give enough distance to calm the emotions. If not, expand into the feelings that have been triggered but DO NOT add more words or stories to them … e.g. for me there is a nostalgic achey love around my heart space.
Breathe into it. Breathing into any tight or stressed part of the body will often help it to relax and let go. But note that can only happen when we don’t add more drama or pain to the situation. Think about the little one who falls over and runs screaming to his dad. After a big cry and some petting he is feeling better until looks at his knee and sees the blood and starts wailing again. His knee didn’t actually start to hurt more, what happened was that his thoughts about the pain of a bloody knee made it hurt more.
In Buddhism this is called the second arrow of suffering. The first arrow is the pain that we can’t avoid. It is part of life. The second arrow – the one we shoot ourself with, is optional. Falling down can’t be helped. Creating a story around the pain is.
Loss is part of life, if we are alive we will experience loss at some time, we cannot avoid it. It needs to be fully processed and sometimes that takes an extended amount of time. That is the first arrow. Adding to the story with ‘should of’s’ or ‘if only’ or building it into a bigger drama is the second arrow. Many of us are unconsciously addicted to this second arrow, mindfulness practices such as noticing and breathing will help to identify and release that addiction. Take the time to learn to breath and process the first arrow so the second one doesn’t get you!
******** This was written with the intention of helping you to live your best life, if you want to know more about how I can help you Create The Life You Want To Live please get in touch! *******
Copyright 2018 Gay Landeta, Create The Life You Want To Live. All rights reserved.