It is terribly ironic that the holidays, which are meant to be a time for celebration, joy, family, loved ones, connection, harmony and contentment, bring sadness and depression to so many people. Why is this the case? Perhaps because those who suffer from the holiday blues are seeing their world through the eyes of the past, focusing on the disappointments, the losses, the rejections, the abandonments of the past and bringing them into the present, and feeling their devastating emotional impact as if they happened yesterday.
Perhaps because those who suffer from the holiday blues look at their current life situation and perceive it as empty and lonely, lacking in loving and nurturing relationships, lacking in meaningful and supportive family bonds, lacking in personal fulfillment, lacking in health and happiness. Perhaps because those who suffer from the holiday blues fear the future will deliver them more of the same. More loneliness. More alienation. More frustration. More regret. More pain and suffering. So what do we do about it?
Refuse the Blues
Best we not focus on the disappointments of the past. When thoughts of the past pop into our mind, we give them no power to terrorize us. We gently tell them to go away and haunt someone else. We don't want those thoughts anymore. We don't need them for our safety or protection. We don't wish to victimize ourselves anymore with painful memories.
Best we not focus on the potential disappointments of the future. When anxious, fearful thoughts about the future pop into our mind, we give them no power to terrorize us. We gently tell them to go away and haunt someone else. We don't want those thoughts anymore. We don't need to dwell on all the horrible "what ifs" that might someday happen. We don't need to fill our mind with anticipatory thoughts of failure, loneliness, pain and suffering possibly yet to come. We don't wish to victimize ourselves anymore with the belief that we will not be able to handle what our life's future has to offer.
Be Here Now. Be Love Now.
The above subhead are two titles from books by Ram Dass, who distilled his spiritual journeys into these two phrases of powerful wisdom. The best way to overcome the holiday blues or any blues for that matter is to BE HERE NOW: Be in the present. Appreciate that in this present moment is massive potential for happiness and contentment. In this present moment we can look at the beauty of nature all around us. In this present moment we can marvel at the miracle of life in all its myriad forms, animal, vegetable and mineral. In this present moment we can BE LOVE NOW: We can help a stranger, hug a friend, ease someone else's pain, share a laugh or a smile, see the love in everyone despite how they're behaving, forgive others for they know not what they do, accept the "oneness" of life despite the differences and diversity that sometimes can seem quite disorienting or frightening, appreciate the connection we have to the earth, to the wind and water, to all creatures big and small and above all else to each other.
Above All Else: Love Ye One Another
There is great joy to be had in this world, in our present moments despite not having the relationships, position and possessions we desire, by simply connecting with others. Making eye contact with others. Extending acceptance, tolerance, love and forgiveness to others. Do these things on a daily basis. What you give to others you can't keep from yourself. What you give to others will come back to you.
Follow Walter E. Jacobson, M.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/walterdoc