Happy Holidays! Or…Holidaze? How to Be Present this Month- 10 Tips

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” — John Lennon

Swept up in the frenzy this month? Making lists and menus and plans? Shopping and shlepping and wrapping – Oh, my!

Stop. Why are you still reading this? I mean it. Just stop for a moment.

Breathe.

Be.

Ahhh. That’s better, isn’t it? Good.

As Eleanor Roosevelt so aptly put it:

“The past is history. The future, a mystery.

But the greatest gift of all is the present moment.

That’s why it’s called the present.”

In the present moment dwell peace, harmony, joy… all we desire. Some beings know and instinctively live this. Look at animals and little children. Is your dog still agonizing over last week, when you came home a half hour late? Does the baby worry about a college education – or about how quickly potty training is progressing? Ha!

Of course, we need to review the past in order to learn, to truly turn our wounds into wisdom (as I help people do with deep omnidimensional healing). And we need to set intentions for, visualize and practically plan for the future to manifest as well as to prepare. (That’s where Law of Attraction comes in.)

Yet so many people live their entire lives without ever really living. “What if?”ing and “If only”ing through their whole lives, living in the past or future, and usually through a negative lens. One psychological study actually found that 75% of people’s thoughts are a) negative and b) redundant, like a loop. Time to get off the cranky, creaky hamster wheel! No time like the present. Literally.

Renowned meditation teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Wherever You Go, There You Are, asks, “Are you a human being? Or a human doing?”

“Yes, yes, I know all this,” you’re thinking. “I try to be present, yet something always seems to pull me off track. What can I do?”

As my gift to you this month, allow me to present you with:

10 Ways to Cultivate Being Present

Tip #1. Slow down. Every time you think of it, train yourself to just slow down. Literally, move slower. Or just stop. Observe. Breathe. Use daily routines as reminders. For example:

When the phone rings, I stop and breathe .

When I close the front door, I say, “I am here. I am home.”

Every time I get in the car, I affirm, “I am here. I am now.”

Whenever my foot touches the Earth, I think “Right here, right now.”

2. Find the beauty in this moment. I teach my students and clients to ask themselves, over and over, throughout each day: “How can this moment be a moment of love?” You may wish to rephrase this as “How can this moment be a moment of beauty?” (or peace or healing) Look, listen, touch, sense the beauty and love within you and around you. What is beautiful, what is loving, what is healing, what is joyful in this moment? Be present with it. Say hello. Say “Thank you” in your heart.

I love to do this one in traffic or when waiting in a line. Instead of indulging in useless mind chatter or frustration, I may notice a bird flying outside, the beauty of a leaf waving in the wind, or the rain on the windshield, smile at the bank teller, send love to the Earth… Or give myself a hug.

3. Schedule “being” time. I like to call it ME TIME, BE TIME.

This may sound crazy in our culture, but we need regular time to just BE. No agenda. No list (internal or external!). No activity at all. This is different from recreation, socializing, exercise, massage, or any other activity, even those that are healing. I’m talking about being in the spaces between. Dwelling in silence and stillness. Rediscovering your own blissed, blessed being. Taking a weekly Sabbath is one lovely way to do this. Taking time daily to meditate. Even just sitting and doing nothing counts and is actually quite productive because you will be far more effective, focused, pleasant and creative when you do come back to do/engage mode.

“How beautiful it is to do nothing, and rest afterward.” – Spanish proverb

4. “Present moment, wonderful moment” -Buddhist monk and spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh shares this meditation breath in his book Being Peace. Breathe in “present moment.” Breathe out “wonderful (or beautiful) moment.” Or “moment of love.” Try different mantras like this. These really work.

5. First, Last. Imagine that any given moment in your life is either the very first or the very last time you will be able to experience that. How much richer! How much sweeter! How much more alive!

6. Tratakam (gazing)… An ancient yogic practice simply involves gazing at a candle. This practice calms the mind, and brings you into the present.If you gaze at the blue-indigo part of the flame, you will also open your third eye. You can also gaze at water, stars, clouds, a crystal or a flower.

7. Tree Meditation. Imagine you are a big, ancient tree. Send your roots down into the ground. Bring up all the nutrients you need from the Earth, drinking them deeply into your being. Release down what you no longer need, trusting that Mother Earth receives it as a fertilizing gift, and transforms that energy into something fresh and beautiful. Stretch your branches up to the sky. Feel the wind caress your leaves. Trees teach us stillness, patience, presence, and connection to the Earth plane. Hug a tree and listen.

8. Mountain Meditation. Sit cross-legged on a cushion. Center yourself. Now feel yourself as a giant mountain, timeless, wise, tall and strong. Picture a mountain in your mind and become one with the mountain. Ask the mountain, what medicine or message do you have for me? Listen.

9. Breathe. Sitting as in #8, place your hands gently on your abdomen. Gently relax your head so your neck is loose. Let go of any tension, and breathe deeply, slowly, fully, into your belly. Feel your abdomen expand. When you are full, be with the fullness for a moment. Now exhale, gracefully, until you are empty. Be in the emptiness. Notice what joy fills you in this emptiness! Adapted from The Art of Breathing by Frederick Leboyer. There is a whole branch of yoga called prana yoga that teaches dozens of deeply healing ways to breathe. Here are a few:: Follow your breath, simply observing it. Count the breath. Or listen to your own breath, “ajapna mantram.”

Drumroll, please………………brrrrrrrrrrrrummmmmmmmmmm…

And my all-time favorite, you-won’t -read-this-anywhere-else, simple, fast, works-great way to be more present is:

10. “Stop and Breathe” signs. Whenever you see a stop sign, imagine that it says “Stop and Breathe” instead of just “Stop.” Then do it. (Ignore the frazzled driver behind you and send him or her a blessing.) You will be amazed how long one conscious breath can be, and how refreshing.

My children are wonderful teachers as they remind (or should I say “demind”?) me of this consciousness-shifter when we are driving around together. I love it!

When we choose consciously to create the space for ourselves to be present, many wonderful blessings unfold. We reconnect with our own center and joy. We feel healthier. We treasure every moment. Many of us feel guilty taking this time, as if we have to always be doing, producing something externally measurable, or giving to others. You don’t have to accept those unhealthy tapes. Reprogram that. Stop being a giveaholic and doaholic! (Can I just make up words like that? Dr.Seuss did, so I guess I can do it, too, although his are sillier.)

Recognize that you deserve peace, joy and health. Period. Also, anything that heals you is inherently productive, to that beautiful little piece of the Universe/God that is you, and also to all the world, for we are all interconnected.

In fact, as we replenish our own inner springs, we have more to give others, and we can give from a full place. Dozens more great ways to love yourself more in my book The Radical Self-Love Workbook, available at:

http://www.loveandspirit.org/book1.html

Cultivating being present also enables us to be better listeners, parents, siblings, friends, and lovers. Perhaps you could invite some of your loved ones to stop and practice some of these techniques for being present together this holiday season. Allow life’s cup of blessings to fill you. Slow down and drink it in.

Happy Holidays and may your every day feel wholly holy!

Which of these tips did you find most helpful?

Which will you commit to doing and sharing with others?

How can you stay present and balanced this month?

Please share your thoughts in a comment below. Thanks!

Love,

Sage

10 thoughts on “Happy Holidays! Or…Holidaze? How to Be Present this Month- 10 Tips

  1. Catherine says:

    Hey Sage,

    I just read your email regarding your blog and I loved your play on words with holidaze and your reminder to be present. I have been doing just that this holiday season and I think it is because I am forgoing shopping this year. My sister and I are heading back East in a week for Christmas and rather than shop until I drop I am gifting experiences with the family such as taking everyone out for a nice meal, movies, starbucks. It is family time and fun, and that is what matters most. I suggested that I do this with others that I usually exchange gifts with and they were all for it.

    So, I find that I am much more relaxed about the Christmas season. After work, I head home, listen to holiday music while I try out some new recipes to warm me up in this cold weather. I am watching holiday movies, reflecting on the meaning of Christmas and attending concerts ,the holiday home tour and even the Governor’s tree lighting event. Simple things that are fun and that have me really enthused about Christmas.

    I haven’t enjoyed the holiday this much in years.

    I hope you and your loved ones have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    CC

  2. Running Deer-Hawk says:

    The Christmas season has always been my favorite time of year. It can be one of the most stressful. A few things that work at any time of year are follow your joy. What fills your spring?

    At Christmas, I love the magic. It is something I have never given up since childhood. There is so much joy in decorating the tree, listening to music, taking a walk at night to see the lights on people’s homes and snow activities with the kids if you have it nearby.

    There is something special about the smells of Fall and Winter. The leaves as they dry and break down. The ionized air after a storm. The beauty of freshly fallen snow. The season and the holiday are actually meant to be reflection times.

    If possible, do whatever shopping you want to do during the year. Not during the holiday rush after “Black Friday”, whatever that is. Try to simplify. Take the time to enjoy the things I mentioned above.

    Sponteneity is wonderful anytime, but it makes this magical season even more memorable for all involved. This year, we missed the local tree lighting by a half an hour because of a misprint in advertising. I told the kids we should go anyway. Even though the choir performance was over and hot chocolate was gone, we had a great game of tag in the field near the tree with other attendee, drove around looking at lights and got ourselves on a hayride with caroling neighbors as the fog blew through! We had our hot chocolate at home and made memories!

  3. Sage says:

    Thanks, Sage!
    Great reminders to slow down and breathe! I really like all of these and especially the more simple ones like the stop sign breath and the “present moment, wonderful moment” breathing meditation. I am going to also try the one with the candle and the blue part of the flame. My family all chose years ago to stop the gift exchange frenzy and we are a lot happier for it. I Like Catherine’s idea of sharing time together instead. I am going to make the effort to schedule some sharing time with friends this year.
    Thanks!

  4. Julie says:

    Love the ‘I am here… I am now’ and the gazing meditation. Also, going to do the candle thing. Love candle gazing and have been doing it for years but love the idea and will share that gazing into the blue part of the flame opens the third eye. Lovely thought!!!!

    • Sage says:

      So glad you enjoyed that, Julie! Yes, I teach a complete clairvoyance and intuition developing program called Higher Consciousness where we heal all our chakras and connect with our angels, Highest Self and the Divine. The blue-flame candle gazing is from that program, one of dozens of practices. Have a wonderful rest of the year and here’s to an incredible 2016! Are you getting my ezine yet? Lots of inspirational articles and even some free online events. Send me an email if you want to join! Sage@loveandspirit.org Bright blessings and thanks for stopping by to read this and for your sweet comment! Love, Sage

  5. Polly Sheehan says:

    Sage I felt a lot of positivity as I read your blog. I was drinking it in. My daughter ill for 3yrs I will never stop trying to send these positive vibes.her way. On my way to work each day I visualize a pure reflective light and say the following for me, then members of my family, then for everyone in the workplace and finally I say it for as far as it will go…..here goes….”I see a pure reflective light…ridding thee of bad luck and negative energy O Blessed Be!” I am one person and I think some of this positive energy is definitely reaching some people! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Sage!

    • Sage says:

      What a beautiful practice, Polly! You are a lovely person! Love, Light, forgiveness, working with the Highest Self, all of these can work miracles, with the help of God and our angels and our own positive intention for sure. I am here for you if you need any other support. Have a very blessed rest of the year, a magical season and happy new year! Love, Sage

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