Wisdom//

Do This One Thing to Have a Stress-Free Holiday

“A lot of the stress that people feel, they feel because they have put themselves at the center of their universe. When you remove yourself from the center of that place, a lot of the stress subsides. Putting God at the center of things and not yourself is clarifying, liberating and uplifting.” – Malcolm Gladwell

I was recently listening to the Thrive Global Podcast with Malcolm Gladwell in conversation with Arianna Huffington. When I heard the above statement from him, it felt like a lightning bolt. It really clarified in a few words why we all feel so stressed! It’s not an easy thing to remove oneself from our own universe, but as I listened to him explain it with such clarity and conviction, I got a glimpse of how liberating it would be to live life with God at the center of it.

When I think about stress and what overwhelms us all, holidays are one of the first things that come to mind. We experience added pressure around the holidays, feeling that there is not enough time, resources, or love — and have high expectations to also feel happy. We become focused on so many details, and get fully absorbed in our own lives trying to make it all happen bigger, better, and faster. It is ironic that at a time when we should focus on the spirit of the holidays and the spirit of giving, our perception of what’s required of us and how we should act becomes magnified, and we become even more consumed.

In our everyday lives, from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep, we are at the center of our universe. There is nothing wrong with that, but it is a way of living that comes with the consequences of great stress. The added stress is when we also have to take care of other people, and we feel that we now have to be all things to all people. That added pressure of perfection amplifies the stress!

How then are we to shift to becoming more God-centered? What if instead we were awakened to the fact that the greatest connection, the one that moves us from breath to breath every moment of our lives, the connection that beats our hearts 24/7, without us ever having to do anything about it, is the reality that we must reconnect with and bring our focus to, so that our daily lives can have a higher altitude and perspective? No matter what the circumstances or conditions of our lives are right now, if we want to experience less stress, it is essential that we refocus on the reality that there is a transformational energy that overpowers our own.

Whatever you might want to call it — God, the big blob in the Universe, or the Supreme Power, it’s this transcendent magical energy that created billions of galaxies, planets, stars, and grains of sand, it is this life force that created YOU with 37.2 trillion cells that make our bodies do everything they do. How extraordinary that this energy is giving us life right NOW! So, beyond our stress and overwhelm and worries and sense of lack, there is a higher intelligence that creates this cosmic existence while we are hustling and bustling and worrying if we bought the right gift for our loved ones.

So take a moment and focus on the present and let that gratitude of the miracle of life flow through you and bring you the deepest calm. All it requires from you is a willingness to let go of putting yourself in the center of things (which creates a sense of contraction), expand your mind to the optimum truth that you are more than your to do list, your I do not have enough list, your I need to do more list, your what if this doesn't work out list, your what if this falls through list, and your fear list. Tap into the unlimited expanded version of yourself that is available to you right now as you take your next breath.

As you celebrate this holiday season and complete all your deadlines, enjoy your shopping and your work. Spend time with your family with care, and see how things align in a different way. See if there is more space around you — space for more relaxation and more joy!

We’ve participated in all these holiday seasons, putting ourselves at the center of it all, forgetting to connect to our source. Try doing this one with God at the center of your life. Throughout the day, take a few conscious breaths, exhale your stress, fill yourself with oxygen through the power of your breath, and remind yourself of the miracle that is you!  See if your perspective changes, if your heart expands, and how assistance comes in, in every possible way. You might see that your resources are available in abundance and you can walk under a canopy of grace, gratitude, and a field of expanded time and space. Your heart will be full of gratefulness and reverence as you get to be the witness of the supreme connection to your source! 

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

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